Water poured into me boot while me peg leg grew damp, attracting amorous barnacles. I fear their improbable penile protrusions which dumbfound the scale o’ their horny shells. And yet I was forced to face me fear: the water rose still, drownin’ any mates below knee-height. Twas only one of us, old Skanky Truecalf who succumbed. He was an inevitable casualty of that fateful game of Snakes and Ladders, but given his role in our present misery he was no great loss.
Gaargh, it had been a week o’ bastardy. Monday saw the recurrence of that bleedin’ giant squid. Ye’d think that hacking off its tentacle’s’d dissuade the monster from tugging at me foremast. But no, tis merely a goading stick. It’s a piteous sight watching the stumpy cephalopod slip and slide, his lopped off puckerings futilely seeking purchase on the rails. We used our tin o’ sperm whale lady oil to lure a leviathan from the deeps and get the bugger munched once and for all. Tis a risky stratagem and naturally it cost us the life of young Fistbuttle who was smeared in the special whale sauce and dangled beneath the ship. Yarr, tis the way of the ocean.
Second (merely in time for these ghastly occurences defy me attempts to rank ’em in hideousness) was the attack o’ the bat-witches. Aye, I can tell ye’ve heard of them, though I doubts ye have been subject to their leather-winged depravity. The crew o’ the Grim Bastard have not had ye fortuity. They fell upon us from the rigging where they’d roosted since we’d blundered into the pitchy black fogs o’ Denmark on Tuesday. Twas bad enough in the fogs, but ye witches, squid and further horrors make it just a damp mist. In moments they’d shrouded three o’ me most virginal crew in the folds of their lascivious wings and hoisted ’em aloft. We could hear our mates’ mingled cries o’ passion and terror as the devil-wenches had their wicked way with them on the wing. We put balls in a pair of ‘em only to find we’d bored our boys as well as the beasts.
Mayhap we should have tried a less penetrative assault, but at least we’d spared ‘em some of the horror. Fire proved effective on the flying rat ladies and we torched ’em out, suffering their furry ash to fall across the deck. Now, fire’s fine and all but its fondness for me sails makes it a back-stabbing ally. The flamin’ sails fell enveloping the rest of the squealing witches in fire. Twas a kind of justice.
After that we drifted. Our sails were blackened tatters and our spirits much the same. Thankfully we’d quite a store of rum with which we planned to while away the hours until we ground into land. Gaargh, we’d reckoned not with Skanky Truecalf’s pets. Our last landfall was the hidden island o’ Misbegottenmas. Tis an unlovely place, and filled with colourful folk, by which I means scoundrels and killers. Amongst them was a man with a curious and unhealthy fondness for unusual animals, in particular the Barbadan Sugar Otter. Truecalf found his treatment of the odd squirly tykes objectionable and promptly abducted them. They seemed nice enough, at least they’d no teeth for snappin’ so I’d granted him to leave to bring the scabby beasties on board. Me ambivalence turned to punchy displeasure when I learned that they were not sea-faring otters; indeed they were creatures of sugary liquor – Truecalf had cracked open the rum casks to give ’em swimming space in their fluid o’ choice. Aye, they were happy: drunkenly splashing about, covering me rum with a thick layer of sugary moultings.
Sail-less, rum free and on a ship filled with bored pirates. Grand. Twas shortly after the rum-ruination that the lads began to play Snakes and Ladders. Tis a complex sport reduced somewhat by having many ladders but no snakes. Gaargh, the ingenuity of a pirate mind – tie one o’ smaller anchors to a spinning rope. It’s slap was judged sufficient sting to supplant the serpent’s venom. Twas all jolly till Skanky Truecalf blundered into the midst o’ the game, clutching an otter to his face like the beard of a Wildman, hungrily sucking the rum from its matted coat. He reeled back and forth like a madman.
A vile infection, bred twixt the Barbadan Sugar Otter’s rummy sores and the scurvy that lurks in the absence of lemons within us all had gripped the man’s mind. Abruptly he spun and emptied his guts on the deck, splashin’ the bare feet of Hamish McMuffin, the present wielder of the whirly snake-anchor. In surprise, or spite (with Hamish it’s hard to tell) he let fly and the anchor knocked Skanky to the deck with a wet snap. Twas apparently the prompt for the bewildered plague-bearing otter to leap into the faces of the pirates who circled him with cautious toes. Twas rampant amongst us. Our paranoid delusions spawned fleshy nightmares and we ran about shouting, tugging at our beards and punching one another in the nether sacks.
It must have been the erratic pistol firing and hooting of my crazed mates that attracted the angels of the night. From aft we saw their ship ride up, their sails black and be-decked with skulls. We greeted ’em in our frenzy with lusty shouts and the hurling of bottles. Me haze parted enough to recognise a demonic Captain Aaarsbeard at the helm. He no doubt meant to board us and relieve us of our booty; gaargh, I was torn between the desire to blast him and hug him but I hoarsely choked out a warning to me fellows. The lads leaped to their duties and despite the disease’s mind fog they prepped the cannons in an approximation o’ good practice.
Twas the second misfire that caused Aaarsbeard to back off. The first had launched the minnowesque Robbie The Bag Lad into the air with a cloud of gunsmoke – he landed in good foaming fettle and launched a spittling attacked Aaarsbeard’s crew. This were a clue that all was not well on the Grim Bastard. The second misfire shattered our gunwhales and we started takin’ on water at a rate of buckets. Aaarsbeard turned tail, already fighting with lead the plague Robbie had borne onto his ship. We was goin’ down regardless.
And that’s where I find meself at the end of this week o’ catastrophe: fendin’ off frisky barnacles with me cutlass while me ship lolls drunkenly in the sea, sloshing me mates with her cruel briny spit. And yet, in the distance… Mayhap tis land, for surely no beast could be so large and spiny. Perhaps next week’ll bring more joy to me pirate heart.