Captain Pigheart’s Theological Adventure

Gaaargh, after months of plundering an’ the holing of many hulls, we was looking forwards to the King of Tarsus’ hospitality. In appreciation of the great man’s patronage we’d prepared a chest of lacquered limpets to brighten his cave o’ fancy tat.

The King’s a capricous fellow at the best o’ times, but the town had an oddness to it as we sailed in. The fishing boats that normally plagued the harbour were gone, and the Tarsian flag’d been crudely daubed with a violent pink squid.

The lads were in dire need o’ bathin’ and duty-free shopping, so we docked anyways. We’d scarcely shaken the salt from our beards when we were accosted by a swarm o’ pink-clad clergy folk. They boarded the Lollipop and officiously rooted through me cabins. Rage grew within me, and I expressed meself through the medium o’ a crossbow bolt. The rosy little friar tumbled off the pier with a satisfying splash, but it slowed the slew of ‘em not a jot.

Yarr, they confiscatered me booty and dragged it from me ship – we could not contest it, for me hasty shot’d caused them to direct their arsenal upon us. To break the awkward ice, I enquired after the particular nature of their faith, for their robes were more lurid than Barry’s snog-a-hog skirt. The mad-eyed monks dropped to their knees, waggled their arms and made ‘ooblie-oo’ noises. I were unsure how to respond so I smiled politely. Their bureaucratic brothers gave me a receipt for me tithes and a fistful o’ hysterical pamphlets before flouncin’ off.

Twere highly irregular; I feared there were either a new King in town or our normal crazed one had dived off the stern of his sanity. The King‘s enthusiasms are both a blessing and a curse for his subjects. Well I remember his order that we all wear live jellyfish for their prophylactic effect… twas an unhappy but pregnancy-free week.

Our anchors were locked and me cannons impounded, all on ye King’s orders. Gaargh, I felt more impotent than the operatic eunuch gibbon who tidies me cabin. I’m distrustful o’ priests with pistols, so I dispatched the young simian to investigorate the state of the Kingdom. Off he scampered, chittering in his gibbous tongue, arms a-flail.

There were little for the rest of us to do but drink rum an’ play deck games. The lads’d lost interest in curlin’, and had found favour in the ancient game of Hopscotch, or Hop over ye Scot from which it derives. We took turns to hurdle the inebriate mass o’ Hamish McMuffin, a man prone to ire and deep-fried squid rings. Barry had tripped over the slumberin’ Scotsman and were being battered about the deck when me freakish cabin-lad returned.

Gaaargh, I’d neglected to send a crewman with the gift o’ speech, so we endured an hour o’ monkey-mime to learn that an evil Greek (be there any other kind?) named Testicles the Canker had tainted the King’s mind and taken over the Kingdom with ‘is Church of the Gibbering Cuttlefish. The leaflets showed much leaping on furniture and evangelising of an inventively ludicrous nature. We’d actually encountered one such band of loons swimmin’ with cuttlefish in hopes of saving them from killer whales… they’d not been blessed with success on that occasion.

Testicles’ first edict were the executing of all budgies guilty of gnawing upon the holy husks ‘twixt the bars of their cages. He then embarked on a campaign to educate ye fishermen in the preservation of the sacred cuttlefish. Ye Tarsian fisherfolk be none too bright and after pickling their catch, dungeon-bound. Gaaargh, I be a fan o’ neither zeal, nor learnin’, plus the lads were most aggrieved at bein’ unwhored, so we made our plans with care.

A great storm cast its shadow upon Tarsus that night. We raided Barry’s wardrobe for dresses and body-stocKings of general pinkitude and sneaked ashore. As we slew the dock-guardin’ dullards I noted that the lads had acquired somewhat more ladies’ garb than was strictly necessary for disguise, though the glitter were awful sparkly in the lightning flashes.

From ye palace could be heard a vigorous hooning between the thunderous rumbles. We crept forth in alternate pace with the clouds’ discharging. The vision that forced its way into me eye as I peered into ye window’ll stay with me till I die: ‘twere an undulating mass of pinkish people, frottin’ tentacularly in foamy excitement. Yarr, the sight were queasifying – like a room full of amorous octopi. Even his majesty were thrashing limply with the rest of ye deranged devotees. Gaaargh.

We leapt into the flock of fools, unnoticed at first. I think it were the stabbin’ and stocKings what gave us away in the end. The monks soon ceased to turn the other cheek an’ their faith faltered in the face o’ steel borne by such crudely caparisoned corsairs – as Barry bemoaned: we’d not taken the time to accessorise properly. Me gibbon’d brought a jar o’ pickled squids and were adding to the hysterics by flingin’ them into the crowd.

Yarrr, one slimy squid slapped the King out of his religious reverie; enlightenment be a grand thing to shine in a man’s eyes. The King seized his favourite sword and set to a fine swashbuckling duel with the Hellenic heretic Testicles. Barry discovered that ye could tell the real monks from the press-ganged locals as the latter were mainly trying to escape from the cuttley-tryst we’d disrupted. Them we spared (if we’d not already slain ‘em) an’ mopped up the last of the molluscy monks.

The evil Greek fought on, face flushed in the manner of his favoured cuttlefish. With a dramatic spurt the King castrated him to polite applause, since we’d no desire to unhinge him further. It seemed the King were in the pink once more, for he ordered the monks stripped and their fine silks hung in the courtesans’ quarters whence he bade us all retire.

Around midnight, when the storm’d passed, I heard Testicles a-wailing for his, um, testicles, and were soon joined by the sympathetic tones of me gibbon. ‘Twere quite a castrati lullaby, for I fell sound asleep. Of course the next morning I awoke to find meself securely knotted to the mast of me ship. But that be another tale and never did dim the memory of me night in a King’s harem – gaaargh!

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