How be ye, ye fine merfolk? Tis me fondest hope that ye be a-baskin’ on a rock in the middle of the ocean, awaiting a charmin’ pirate to whisk ye off ye tail and show ye a fine piratical time.
Well, tis all grand for meself, Ignatius. Yarr, it’s been some time since I last pestered ye in a friendsome and solicitous way. This year there’ve been many excitin’ developments which I be keen to share with ye, if ye can stand it.
Ye First Matter
Ye captain’s got a bold new website (aarrr, tis a proper one) at which ye’ll find more adventures than ever before and a vastly improved manner o’ seekin’ ’em.
I’ll be addin’ all manner o’ goodies over the next few months (alongside ye current groupings of tales, YouTube clips and delightful Pigheart artwork) such as character tales and biographies for all them as are fond o’ Barry/Sharon, No Hands Mick, Hamish McMuffin and the like.
Ye Second Matter
Due to popular demand (from at least one or two of ye lubbersome folk), me tales are being recorded as audiobooks in such as manner that ye can download ’em at will, for a frippery o’ pennies (I promise ye’ll never have to pay more than the price of a mug o’ beer).
There be three so far – ye ever-popular tale o’ mermaid bewitchin’ romance – The Mermaid Adventure, The Lost At Sea Adventure and The String Along Adventure – ye can download ’em all from here: http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/CaptainPigheart. They’re also washing up on iTunes, Amazon and all that sort o’ thing.
Tis a most excitin’ development and is keeping the Captain most amused. I’ll be recordin’ tales and uploadin’ ’em as often as the day turns night (yarr, that’s not a contractual obligation).
In the meantime, please be checking out ye site and sounds, and if ye could share this with ye friends and enemies I’d much beholden to ye.
I alighted at Kings Cross, exhausted by my enforced convalescence in the country. The presence of Doriana my cousin’s young daughter, charged with nursing me in her mother’s absence, had kept me abed for weeks. Still, a change is almost as good as a rest. London’s toxic atmosphere was a tonic to my replenished organs, infusing my blood with its murky oils.
I’d planned to take a carriage to the nearest brothel in accordance with my own traditions. To know a city’s whores is to know the city. But the sight of an hobgoblin tickled me onto a diversion. He was skulking past mountains of luggage on the platform’s edge. The fellow seemed normal but for his legs, which were so truncated as to bely the speed at which he scuttled past the last of the disembarking passengers. I have a fascination with the freakish and he fit neatly into my Case of Intriguement. His unwholesome facial hair attempting to escape his chin and cheek by clinging to the woolen scarf and hood which enshrouded his lumpy skull. Startling eyes attempted to climb out of his face, subtly aglaze; perhaps more promising than my intended diversion.
I followed him obliquely, taking time to read the Times and the pornographic graffiti as he scurried through the station. Pausing beside a peeling Cadbury’s advertisement he seemed rather like the pixieish child depicted there, though grotesquely mangled. Then he bared his frightful teeth and ducked through a chained doorway. Allowing him some headway, I slipped through the forbidden exit behind him.
There followed a dark corridor (ever the route to bliss), dripping darkly about my boots. Stubs of candles guttered hazily in the gloom. My quarry had slipped out of sight. I sensed that this subterranean realm could hold a treasure greater than the Cave of Methylated Spirits or the Fungal Palace of Leeds. The tunnel seemed endless and its dampness became entwined with a smell I assumed to be from fish oil candles. Promising…
Abruptly my passage was blocked by the emergence of two shadowy figures and their rather obvious clubs. I scarcely had time to comment on the pairing of a burly thug and mincing goon before I was beaten into a violent slumber.
A greasy orange firelight pushed at my eyelids and the ill-educated chanting of Londoners thrust their way into my ears. Reluctantly I split my lids to find my view occluded by an over-tufted moon waxing out of its breeches; my gaze was fixed until it shuffled away. I was bound to a pillar in a cellar thronging with the refuse of the capitals misbegetting population. Da Vinci would have been horrified by these digressions from his golden proportions. Bestial would be too kind and I suspected I was witness to the birth of a new species. Or possibly several. I can scare enumerate the variations of hue, limb and facial architecture.
Oh, I’d also been stripped save for my decency-maintaining cravat, and smeared with the fishy waste their culture was based upon. Whilst I am used to disporting my talents at a dinner party, I rarely find myself with quite such attention upon me as was weighed upon me in that dank cavern.
Indeed, as they waved their stumps and webley appendages I recognised in their manner the frothy spasms of spiritualism, here hijacked by the gutter-tongued cockneys. The hobgoblin I’d followed from the railway beat his way to my side and in a passable imitation of English brought order, or at least a grunting silence to the gathering.
They brought forth a chalice of some frothy liquid, intending to force it down me. I’d a powerful thirst by this point and cheerfully tossed it back, to the sub-trolls audible awe. The fluid foamed in my mouth tickling my teeth with its narcotic buzz. Now here was something new – not a poison as I’d feared it might be. Witnessing the horde also guzzling away – more a liberating liqueur.
Suddenly freed from my bonds I gave in to the intoxicants urging and scampered, hooting like an elegant baboon. The crowd capered with me, at the hobgoblin’s signal. Feeling a little delirious I clambered onto a rude dais and began a mighty oration. Its exact subject eludes me now, but my invective and imperation were loud and clear. Quite what decisions I’d made I shall never know, but I led that horde of manimals out of their troglodytic meeting place, proudly bearing one of their trouty braziers, into the midst of the English public.
The Times informs me that we razed much of the British Museum and tainted the rest with our disdain for anatomical perfection. I apparently lead my convoy of ugly into a freny of vileness when we gatecrashed a gathering of the gentry. It’s possible they took us for clowns or a theatrical troupe seized with success or despair at our latest show. By all accounts it was a fine afternoon. We occupied a shopping arcade, performed unelective surgery in Harley Street and stole all the clotted fudge we could find.
The police responded according to their nature by clubbing wildly at the fray, harming beast and man equally until both parties fled. I myself awoke under a railway arch, the cloven feet of a dwarven girl clasped to my chin. What an exciting return to the City, but I figured I ought to quit London just as swiftly despite the rebellious thrills I’d tasted. Ah, Doriana’s freckled cheeks beckoned once more.
Gaargh, the view from the crab’s ichorous peeper-pockets was narrow, but directed me eyes onto the Queen’s bosomous bounty. I was content. But me contentment was disturbed by the hammerin’ at ye door. I attempted to better obscure meself behind the kelpen curtain and a hideous vase. Twas tricky, for me own limbs were ill-stuffed into the recently vacated crab shell; I scuttled as if recently scuttled.
The cause of me cuckoldish caution burst into the chamber in a rush of bubbles, thrashing his scaly tail behind him. Twas King Clam of the merfolk, fresh returned from his extermination of the Snorks (a peaceful but rightly despised cock-headed sea people), and was understandably ill-tempered to be find his bed-chamber locked, his bride within.
She, the queen, lounged negligently in a negligee; the negligible garment drifting alluringly in the current like the diaphanous tips of her fins. Not five minutes before she’d been demonstratin’ the ticklishness of her lady scales. I’d borrowed the crustaceous carapace from one of her personal guards, whose innards now quivered in the vase before me.
Delightful though me time in Queen Acacia Finest Tuna’s embrace had been, the return of her genocidal spouse spurred on me roaming spirit. Twas time for me to once more taste that sweet air to which me lungs’re accustomed. After tumbling out of Kemberton Shatz’ misshapen grasp I were taken deep into the cold darkness of the ocean. From beneath me I thought I heard the alluring ruckus of Murray Eel’s Planktones playing ‘Under the Sea’ and then… nothin’.
I woke, drifting on a bed of sea anemones with a pair of sea horses jammed up me nose. A mite alarmed I tugged ‘em out and immediately choked, for me lungs were full o’ water. With hasty reluctance I forced the spiny squirming beasts back in. Twas then, through the gills o’ the mer-nags that I caught a scent in me nostrils, one I’d not tasted for many long moons. A scent that put wind in me sails. A scent that made me drop anchor. Arr, that’s not quite what I meant.
The clam-shell doors opened before me. Twas my beloved merwench, the one I’d spent a moonlit night with on the rocks, while Mick serenaded us with his wails of pain. She’d aged not a day. Arrr, she took me in her fins as if it were only yesterday. I protested vehemently about me current state o’ matrimony in the softest whisper I could muster. Me conscience now clear I delved into her Piscean charms. As we later lay in a thin film of her natural oils I thought I must be the happiest man alive at the bottom of the ocean, me arms wrapped about this fine fish of a woman, croonin’ in that way she’s fond of.
She said to me, “Ignatius, ye noble soul, I’ve a surprise for ye,” (for they talks as do we pirates, tis part of the charm). From under the bed she drew a mermaid’s purse, which revealed its contents with a tiny wail. Me heart swelled at the sight of the wee minnowlad. “Be he?” I asked, “He be,” she replied, “But ye…” I started, “I be” she said. “Aaarr, but he be…” said I, “Aaarr,” she agreed; “Gaargh,” I concurred. He was the spittlin’ image of his mother, down to the fetching freckles on his tail, and had his father’s beard. Sad I was to leave him and his mother, but ye troubles of merfolk on dry land’re well enough documented by the Danes and Disney.
While the mer-queen distracted her mer-king with a cool swishing of her sinuous tail, with her eyes she undressed me once again. When the urgency of ocular undressing hastened, I realised it were a hint to be fleeing. I side-stepped from the room. Twas a smooth crabwise exit, exceptin’ ye the flailing of me spasmic crablish appendages. I’d almost escaped when the claw me arm wouldn’t fit in slapped the King across his dorsal fin. For effect I twiddled the crab’s mandibles in a cheeky manner.
Then twas the running for me. I don’t know if ye’ve tried to walk in another’s shoes, but try running in a hexapoidal crust with ye own limbs in gristled gauntlets, underwater. Tis a curiously clumsy drowned ballet, punctuated with coralline snags and stumbling. My spasmodic gambol were easily outmatched by the swishing of a tail. I was out of me element. I set meself into a spin and made more ground that way, battering the King’s merguards with my chitinous clubs.
I spotted a corral of fishy steeds and lumbered desperately for them. With a quick prayer for luck I slashed one of them free and punched it in the swimbladder. Twas more effective than I’d hoped: with a terrifying accelerative lurch we hurtled upwards in a deflatory spiral. So powerful were the launch that it tore the crab carapace from me, save for the claw with which I desperately gripped the unfortunate deflating fish.
The merfolk’s vicious tridents sliced past me as I struck the surface and fountained up in an explosion of fish and spume. I found meself tumbling down to land hard on a wooden deck. Loomin’ over me was the overly-gingered face of Grim Pitch (an ill swap for me merlass), who turned to Kemberton Shatz and muttered, “see, he be fine” before wrenching the seahorses from me nostrils. Me only possible retort were to vomit gallons of brine over the pair of them.
We set sail with haste, fearing predation from the sharp-toothed shark riding merfolk of war. In the distance I glimpsed the sparkle of sunset gleaming off the scales of me love as she dove once more into the depths. Gaargh. I’ve still the scent of her gills on me fingers.
All content copyright Captain Pigheart 2022
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