Captain Pigheart’s String Along Adventure

I does like to stroll upon ye seaside a-scannin’ for precious flotsam. Me glass eye literally popped out when a Punch and Judy show blighted me view. A red mist came over me remaining eye and I lunged for ye puppet fondler. Aaarrr, the next I knew Mick were draggin’ me away, me hook bloodied and the air full o’ children’s bawlin’.

I suppose I ought to explain me beach rampage. It all began as we were about to embark for our treasure isle and there to bury our loot. When I were approached by a gentleman o’ Italian inclination I were naturally suspicious. He introduced himself as Olivio di Pederasti, a puppeteer o’some repute, recently fallen from grace followin’ a brave new performance of ‘Ye Lustful Monk’ at a primary school. He sought refuge from the law and offered entertainment as payment. He were a bit odd, but his amusin’ accent would be a welcome distraction from Twister and chunderin’ contests.

Olivio were a boon for the lads. By night he performed tales of derrin’-do and romance with such realism that I’d catch them peekin’ up the ladies’ skirts. Lamentably, I caught Billy molestin’ Judy behind the mast. Aaarrr, I never saw that hand puppet again.

Di Pederasti also revealed a rare knowledge o’ anatomy and woodworkin’ vital to his trade. He crafted a new nose to slot into Monty McBuboe’s weepin’ face hole, and prosthetic paws for No Hands Mick. The man’s wizardry knew no bounds and the parts he fitted moved as if they had life themselves. Even Monty’s new nose had life of sorts: his every white lie caused ‘is nose to extend and after just one intriguin’ meal he were bein’ used as a novelty fishin’ rod.

I were offered a new leg meself, but I dotes upon Idle (the ship’s cougar) who be fond o’ sharpenin’ her claws upon me peg. I’d no objection to the woodenation of me crew mind, despite them fillin’ up ye accident book with splinter mishaps.

I’d not realised how many o’ me crew were horribly maimed till the advent o’ marionette medicine transformed ‘em into models o’ productivity. Gaaargh, it were as if their new limbs had minds o’ their own, tyin’ knots with their toes and sharpenin’ knives in their sleep.

The night before our arrival at ye plunder-laden beach Olivio treated us all to a piratical piece he’d devised. The lads wore their usual rapt expressions, eyein’ up ye puppets even when ye tale grew ugly, tellin’ of a prosthetically backward captain hiding the treasure from his renovated crew. It were a tad disquietin’ when ye puppet crew mutinied, admittedly bloodlessly (them bein’ puppets), but ye captain’s death scene were far from wooden. I went to me hammock ill at ease, arrr rum be a blessin’.

After a fitful night of bein’ heavily trod by Idle, I were roused by Monty with a mug o’ coffee. I enquired after the freshness o’ the cream he’d added and were poked in the eye by his conscientious snout. He left me to me body-swabbin’. Smartened up somewhat, I went out to give me lads the treasure buryin’ pep talk I’d prepared.

The cannon pointed at me face were a bad sign. And then recognised the finely carved pine fists clutchin’ ye fuse. Gaaargh, betrayed by me right-hand man No Hands Mick! His shame were evident, for he could hardly speak without slappin’ his own treacherous cheek. And yet his rollin’ eyes were at odds with ye artillery. There’d never been strings attached to his loyalty before, or his sleeves for that matter… At last I grasped his meanin’ and looked up.

Olivio di Pederasti were aloft in ye crows’ nest, a tangle of ropes and poles dependin’ from his hands and feet like a spider for whom it has all gone terribly wrong. At a tug of his foot a brace of me mates lurched forth. Though their faces cried “no”, they could not resist – the Italian puppeteer’d commandeered me riggin’ and made marionettes of me men. I were incensed, and clapped in irons.

Olivio chuckled maniacally as the crew laid out our loot on deck. Gaargh, he’d played us with ease and now looked to be thievin’ me gold. The devil’s nooses were looped about me wrists and ankles so ‘e could jiggle me about in an unwillin’ hornpipe. Gaargh, ‘twere an humiliation I could scarce bear alone so I were not entirely dismayed when the mad Italian formed me and the crew into a kick-line chorus. Every mutter o’ dissent on our part caused ye puppet master to yank harder.

He were likely to have danced us to exhaustion were it not for me feline friend who’d been forgotten as she dozed in me cabin. The swishin’ of the ropes had prickled her interest sufficiently for her to bound into ye chorus, swattin’ playfully at her new toys. Di Pederasti played along, bouncin’ me above her head. Now, Idle’s always been fond of takin’ the hand as well as the treat… She seized me peg leg in her teeth and gave it a ferocious worryin’. Half ye crew flew upwards as Olivio were jerked from his perch. He fell amidst his puppet strings where Idle batted him into a fine cats-cradle.

Ye ropes now slackened I sought to take me revenge, thinkin’ I were now free of him. I be often wrong. Gaargh, he wirelessly took charge o’ the appendages he’d crafted for me mates. Mick’s hands clapped about me throat, and Monty kicked me in the shins. Monty’s extendable proboscis inspired a convoluted plan of escape. “Arrr,” I growled, “ye Spotted Dick were truly a masterpiece, did ye make the suet yerself?” His magical trunk of truth quivered with untold falsehood and he bashfully mumbled, “No cap’n, ahem, it were a, er packet mix. I’d never spice ye pud with me necrotised nethers”. His fervent denial caused his nose to shoot forth a branch o’ honesty matched only by the spear o’ virtue that tore through his britches and doubly skewered Olivio to ye mast. Gaargh, twere not just his nose he’d had refurbished.

I detached Mick’s digital enhancements, for with the manipulative marionette master thus morbidly impaled they no longer squeezed of their own accord. We’d untangled ye crew and made the Lollipop seaworthy, when a cry o’ “ship to shore” rang out, followed by me lookout tumblin’ to the deck. Perhaps it were the safety rope I’d loosened… Yarr, the ropes that bind be our saviours too. We’d no time to ponder the moral o’ the situation and the sawing o’ Monty’s astonishin’ appendages’d have to wait, for di Pederasti’d not acted alone – his accomplices were on the attack.