Captain Pigheart’s Birthday Party

Yarr, ‘twas the maiden voyage of me new ship, ‘The Grim Bastard’. I were right proud of ‘er, she bein’ an upright sea-farin’ wench wi’ extra cannon and sail fer when we hunts down that treacherous filth-spattered barnacle-suckin’ knave whose name be spat upon even by the Isle of Letch’s most elderly nuns, and they coughs up a good ‘un.

We were half-crossed th’ Atlantic, transportin’ legitimate cargo from the heart o’ India. Ye see we be not always brutishly piratical. When there’s greater profit to be had in commerce, why, we just switches flags on ‘em. Now that works a treat if ye’re wantin’ to sucker the navy, p’raps Admiral Kneehorn – he always falls for a white flag.

Gaargh, as ‘twas we’d bartered with the savages, an entire rubber crop in return for not puttin’ fire to their village. ‘Twas a most favourable deal, and we’d the foresight to take out some insurance lest the heathens be thinkin’ it be not such a fine deal. We kept ‘em in the hold on water and biscuits. Clearly ‘twas better food than their native fare, for they were often sickenin’.

One mornin’ I awoke late, which I ascribes havin’ somewhat hammered ye rum whilst discoursin’ at length with Stone Cold Steve in ‘is Crow’s Nest. Havin’ demonstrated a perilous fondness for the bottle, we’d chained ‘im to the mast. Our plan were to cure ‘im with sobriety. ‘Twas not a mutual agreement mind, but I does need a clear pair o’ eyes on ship.

I came onto deck to a chorus of ‘For He’s A Dastardly Rascal’ from me beloved crew – from the buntin’ I realised it were me birthday once more. Arr, it fair brought a tear t’ me eye. Billy No Mates an’ No Hands Mick’d planned a day o’ drinkin’, feastin’ and diverse entertainments. We began wi’ a few tots o’ rum to see us through till noon, an’ brought the heathens on deck to join ye festivities. Their high spirits at the sight o’ the sun after so many weeks brought joy to our hearts and their caperin’ were a marvel, considerin’ the manacles ‘bout their ankles. ‘Twas only later, after the third barrel that our minds turned to darker pleasures.

I were provided with birthday treasures by the lads. Billy gave me a varnished squid containin’ some liqueur tastin’ o’ rancid seaweed. ‘Tis no wonder he has no friends, had we been on land I’d ‘ave sent ‘im home wi’ no cake. ‘Twas all rubbish, but since there be no gift shop aboard ‘tis the thought that counts.

An’ then I were startled somewhat by a loud thunk and the familiar rasp of a body dragged ‘cross the caulking, but ‘twas only Barry the Man-Girl haulin’ a wrapped thing from ‘is cabin. Mentally I prepared meself for smilin’ politely, like when ‘e procured for me the services of his night-time self, Sharon. I leaves that t’ the crew, though Mick were grateful for the voucher. I need not’ve worried – the lads’d been industrious, carvin’ me a rubber woman to while away the long hours in me hammock.

It shames me to say it, but I were delighted. ‘Twas wondrous, right down to the toes (four on one foot, seven on t’other), an’ she were a snug fit in me arms. An’ pliable, like a body left too long in salt water. She were a fine consort for a civilised pirate like meself – there were even a holder for me mug and pipe. I named ‘er India an’ proceeded to try ‘er out, to the audible horror of the heathens.

I’m no fan o’ screamin’ savages and proposed a party game. In no time at all we ‘ad ‘em bobbin’ ‘mongst the waves, temptin’ ye sharks with their flailin’ limbs. My, how we chuckled.

There were a sudden cheer as one o’ the savages vanished underwater. But when the others swiftly disappeared too, the chains left a-danglin’, we knew not what to think. Lookin’ back now, it seems likely that we brought it all upon ourselves, with all the birthday excitement.

With the fishin’ finished we quaffed away, and then Stone Cold Steve were heard to bellow unintelligibly from the Crow’s Nest. We merely drank some more an’ mocked ‘is teetotal lunacy. Next we knew there were a monstrous tentacle lashin’ the deck, its suckers all puckered up for some fatal kiss. An’ that were only the first – afore we could hack it wi’ our cutlass and dagger there were seven more assailin’ the Grim Bastard an’ her noble crew.

The monster octopus took hold of the vessel and hauled its body half-out the water. Its horrible beak snapped hungrily as it tossed seamen from the ship and squashed me lads in its slimy coils. tugged me men free from their refuges. Gaargh, those of us still aboard an’ not unconscious with drink were tucked down to avoid them terrible suckers – I saw a man have ‘is face sucked clean off.

Its hideous bulbous noggin hung off the bow with a saucery eye ‘pon ye brave captain. Mick’n me were back to back, me slashin’ at a tentacle while he beat ‘is stumps upon it. ‘Twas not an effective stratagem. The thing’d wrapped half its arms round the main mast, inchin’ closer to poor tethered Steve an’ pullin’ us over and all. ‘Twas then I felt the first drop of rain an’ heard thunder rumble towards us.

As the sky darkened, signifyin’ doom for us all, the octobrute waggled the mast back an’ forth, jerkin’ Steve lasso-like at the length of ‘is chain. Then ‘twas miraculous: the clouds farted and struck ‘im with a vast bolt of lightnin’. The power of the heavens passed through ‘im, the mast, and into that psychotic cephalopod.

The lightnin’ lit up the big bugger like a Chinese lantern an’ it collapsed in a stinkin’, steamin’ heap on the deck, pissin’ ink over me ship. Poor Steve were crispy too o’course, it seems he’d finally dried out. I kept expectin’ to be shocked meself, but the lightnin’ were done an’ the storm withdrew.

Standin’ on our rubbery cargo’d saved us all from the storm’s spark, well, them as ‘ad not been eaten, crushed or otherwise passed on. Sadly the rubber’d melted and with it our fortune.

There seemed but two courses of action before us: either return to India an’ re-negotiate via the medium o’ cannon fire, or chop and preserve the manky mollusc for the expandin’ New World tapas market. Before makin’ a decision we ‘ad a few more drinks an’ took turns on me now slightly deformed India. Gaargh, ‘twas a fine birthday.

Now me lad, are ye ready to blow out ye candles? Be not forgettin’ to make a wish.

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