Gaargh, I awoke from a night o’ disturbin’ dreams. We’d been swiggin’ vodka for a change, since takin’ it off Danish merchants just after dawn. Me final memory o’ that night were haulin’ Billy aboard after ‘e leapt from the bow to catch a shootin’ star. Yarr, all night the sky’d been full o’ light streakin’ down as if aimin’ for the giant crabs crawlin’ across ye sea-bed. ‘Twere pretty, like a rainbow on fire, though technically it boded ill for us all.
Yarr, ‘twere worse awake than a-snooze, for me wakin’ were pierced a piteous wailin’, “I be blind, me eyes be not workin’.” A-fearful for me own senses I opened me eyes – to blackness! Me heart raced till I realised I’d moved me eye patch to keep out ye pesky sun – thank God, I were still only half blind. ‘Twere just Manky Eye Joe, ‘is peepers robbed by a surprisin’ly agile flying fish whilst mannin’ ye crow’s nest. Joe’s memory’d been nicked too, makin’ his blindness a daily surprise for us all.
The sounds o’ bangin’ on me hull drew me hangover away from Joe. The encirclin’ seas were dotted with steamin’ lumps o’ furry rock, bobbin’ malignantly on ye waves. I’d not seen their like before an’ summoned Kanagawa, for ‘is oriental eyes be witness to the marvels o’ the East. ‘Is speciality be fish, though he’s a smatterin’ o’ whelk-lore to boot. Yarr, ‘is best suggestion were some kind o’ coconut in need of a trim; so we hooked one aboard for further investigoratin’.
On deck ‘twere as if some Biblical whale’d finally retched up the rancid head o’ Jonah. Yaarr, with me strong botanicorological instincts I knew it for plant-life, though from where I knew not. ‘Tis a love of plants what keeps the pansies alive in me cabin, an’ ye scurvy at bay. I planned to pot it an’ flog ye rare blooms to the King o’ Tarsus. I’d already some namin’ in mind t’establish me immortality ‘orchidae-oceanicus-ignatius’ or ‘floricus-pighearticus’; Latin be rollin’ off me tongue like a native.
Gaaargh, mid-pottin’ the sea cabbage grew feisty, swiftly unravellin’ kelpy tentacles. It gave a vigorous spankin’ to poor Manky Eye Joe, drawin’ blood with its salty roughness. Its frenzy grew, an’ before I could tamp ‘er down, the photosynthesisin’ freak dashed up the mast. We’d not time to warn ye lookout. He wisely chose the relative safety of ye deck. Yarr, that be not the softest o’ landin’s. Once ‘is legs were splinted we pondered ye sea spud further.
The pernicious plant spread its leaves at the ship’s summit. The cheeky sod were wormin’ its roots down me mast an’ through me hull. We cut short that intent, to much thrashin’ and leakin’ o’ sap. At first we thought our ploy successful, but the ornery orchid soon found a new source o’ water, plungin’ its roots into poor Joe’s noggin an’ liftin’ ‘im into the air. We hung on ‘is ankles and tugged back, ignorin’ the scratchy sea vines hamperin’ our efforts. Yaharr! We uprooted it and it crashed down on deck, on top o’ Joe.
Gaargh, me sea-orchid’d flowered already. ‘Er broad fleshy petals had the unhealthy hue o’ a dead shaven mammal (‘tis one lighter than ‘bruised cuttlefish’), an’ run through with a violet criss-crossin’ o’ veins what wrapped around its poutin’ stamen, curiously aflicker with a dozen tiny tongues.
No sooner’d we regained our footin’ than the bloomin’ thing were off again – Joe’d unravelled ‘imself and run aft blindly (‘tis not like he has a choice), with the lethal leaves flappin’ in hot pursuit. Joe got cornered when ‘e ran into a wall. We ringed it in turn, cutlasses drawn for prunin’. It rattled menacingly and pounced at us.
Gaaargh! We made two further laps of ye Lollipop afore it went for Joe once more. I pinned a stalk with me peg an’ hacked it with me blade. The savage sprout were undaunted and seized Joe by ‘is ankles. It tenderised the lad by bangin’ ‘im on the deck then stuffed ‘im headfirst ‘twixt its petals. The plant bit Joe’s head clean off and sucked ‘is body dry. Gaargh, ‘twere not the flower for makin’ amends to a loved one.
Despite me hopes o’ rivallin’ ye tulip trade, it seemed unwise to cultivate ‘em given their demandin’ diet. I set Kanagawa the task o’ distractin’ the bloodthirsty blossom while we gathered herbicidal tools. Me Japanese mate soothed the plant by ‘is foldin’ o’ intricate paper figures what rustled in a leafy manner. ‘E were on ‘is thirtieth petal fold o’ ye origamic sea-urchin when we sprang into action.
The Dane’s we’d “met” yesterday’d been so thoughtful as to leave us their weapons, women an’ assorted vittles. In particular, a gleamin’ double-headed axe with which I cleaved the vicious vegetable in two. Both halves fought back, oozin’ sap an’ stickiness. We doused it with pitch an’ a pinch o’ gunpowder, and garnished it with a point-blank pistol blast.
The explosion took ye eyebrows from us all. The orchid crackled and popped, twitchin’ feebly in ye flames. Billy noted the smell were like that o’ fried tomatoes, and though the taste were marred by the aftertaste o’ tar it were fine with our liberated bacon.
‘Twere then we heard the bumpin’ of the other plant pods ‘gainst the Lollipop an’ the rasp o’ fronds coilin’ over the railin’s, ‘tis a sound to make a grown man hide below-decks. We reached land safe again, but gaargh, me fingers be green with the blood o’ them sky flowers; I can scarce look me pansies in ye eye.