Gaargh, there’s a mean-looking fish-legged fellow at me door, using a trident as a door bell. Tis likely to progress in an ill manner for all concerned, namely meself. I’ve been evading these sea men for these past weeks but they’ve finally caught up with me. ‘Tween times they’ve plagued me with oceanic assaults and scores o’ noisome sea beasts.
The last maritime misfortune I’d suffered by the fins of them merfolk was the sad loss of Grim Pitch, the cabin lad. The manner of his death called to me mind the ancient curse we’d once found and largely ignored as we plundered an undersea cave: “Dare ye to dip ye mitt in a mermaid’s purse, And Neptune’s foamy fist’ll bring down on ye a terrible curse.” Twas not redolent with clarity about the nature of the curse though some annoyance on the sea’s part was plain. But since I’d begun me wooin’ of mermaids I’d felt a teeming worry about King Clam’s paternal temper. For the merfolk are a proud and warlike people and take such sea-shufflin’ shenanigans most seriously.
Ye may not directly perceive the link to the death of me third-favourite cabin boy, but tis me belief that all bad things congregate by the window when ye feel a mite blue, and those nearby may find ’emselves splashed with the calamitous cast-off. I fear that poor hapless, stupid and unlucky Grim Pitch was the accidental victim of me merwenching lifestyle. I’d never taken the boy with me when I sought out me saucy sea life – tis only metaphorically that I suggest he were caught between me and me mermaid matin’. Twould be an inappropriate venture for a lad o’ his indeterminate age.
Grim’s me lad for patchin’ of the sails, for his grip’s fine and his head for heights second to none. After taking issue with a flock o’ Gobshite Gulls our sailcloth was the worse for wear and needful o’ Grim’s magic slathering. The lad’s tar was freshly drawn and ready for use when a freak swarm of Tiger-Faced Penguins took the ship by storm. The ferocious harbingers o’ nasty pecks and shin-kicking barrelled up out of the water and smashed through or over our railings. They set to their notorious war-warbles and grumpily pecked at me crew with their cruel pointy beaks. Huge and striped like the tigers that also bear their names they lack some of the felines’ artistry and cunning. But they make up for it with their weight of numbers and slappy fin-wings. They’re beasts that call for up close punchin’ in the feather-patch.
Alas, in the excitement no one thought to safeguard the bubblin’ pitch. The added weight of the penguins had the Good Ship Lollipop pitching and yawing like a fat man struggling out of a bath tub. As poor Grim fought with one of the vicious bird-fish creatures the bucket flipped over and engulfed them both in boiling gunk. The wailing and fowl squalling were piteous and irritating in equal measure, though the latter did motivate me to boot another Tiger-Faced Penguin right in the air-sacs and hurry to Grim’s aid.
Twas like watching an exotic love-dance under a black silk sheet, though involving a great deal more pain and but a man and a penguin. There was little we could do but knock ’em overboard in the hope of cooling the stinky burn fluid. The explosion o’ vapour as they hit the sea saw off most of the Tiggy-guins. The steam took the eyes of Watchful Harry and perfectly prepared a pair of penguins for our postmeridian picnic. Poor Grim and his Siamese twin penguin sank without a trace.
Gaargh! I was enraged for I takes the care of me crew as of at least middling importance and we really had needed that bucket of pitch. I bellowed me defiance at the skies, and then realisin’ me error, re-directed me complaints to the sea and that miserable King Clam whom I were certain lay behind our recent spate o’ watery worries. I suppose I could have recanted me invective but I was fond of the King’s daughter and her scaly thighs and pouted petulantly at the though of nevermore tickling her teasing tail.
Now, o’ course, as the sound of the mermen beating down me door alternates with the sound of ’em falling over and hauling themselves back up again I’ve cause to regret me angry words. Maybe I’ll just climb out of this window and see if I can give these flippery slap-footed lads the slip.