This is the tale of how I came to meet a man so ill-starred that the very Fates giggle when he steps out of doors – tis the finding of Luckless Larry.
“Holá, my name is Jésus, and you are arrived in time for the festival!” Gaargh, the man’s jolly temperament was a vexment I was ill prepared for. Meself and three of me strongest, yet least entertaining seamen had dragged a treasure chest of mysterious content and punishing weight through ten leagues of sweaty, line-dancing-filled jungle and we were in powerful need of drink and intimate massage.
I was about to make me displeasure known by way of punching but me effort was spared by a man who fell from above, squashing Jésus to a moanin’ pancake. The tumbled lad was under me feet so I booted him till he mastered his own. He was profuse in his apologies – he’d been disturbed mid-tup and tipped through the pane by the disgruntled cuckold. Fearful of further retribution he begged for our aid. Some of the jungle mire must have distorted his view of us for tis a small point of pride that even charity muggers give us a wide berth. But I knew well the sharpness of a cuckold’s horns so me pity-gland was full and I allowed him to take my place in the carriage of our chest.
On we went, meself greatly relieved of the burden. The lad’s name was Lawrence Shamespittle. A handsome lad, he’d no particular trade save wooin’ which he pursued with an enthusiasm that belied his success. For twas his ill fortune to always suffer the return of a lady’s husband at indelicate moments which had left him terribly frustrated in the britches. All of this and much more embarrassing detail he panted out to me from his corner of our trunk. I’d relate to ye further squeamly tales of masculine virtue derailed and declined, but me twin swords of rum and disinterest have mown ‘em from me memory.
The man we sought – known as Tooth-Eyed Gill – dwelled in a cabin far from the maddening crowd of carnivalling halfwits. To discover the chest’s contents we’d have to pass through the mass of lollygagging landlubbers. The path we hewed with our cargo was lined with curses, limping and corpses.
Such gashing progress led us at last to the doorway behind which Tooth-Eyed Gill would make us rich men. It had an evil reek which I attributed to the array of gutted sea-fauna adorning the shack. The breeze produced an array of toots and farts reminiscent of the for’ard hold at night; twas oddly reassuring.
Gill himself greeted us at gunpoint. Tis his way and we took no offence, loudly and very clearly reminding him of our affairs. He was not easily convinced and insisted on shooting poor Lawrence in the shoulder. His cry of pain and the bleeding convinced Gill we were real. Gaargh, had I not mentioned his paranoid delusions? Me apologies. A smuggler and hawker o’ misappropriated items, his skills were in great demand but his hair-trigger tendencies had made him even more enemies than he imagined he had.
Friends once more, he ushered us within and let off a few shots in the direction we’d come, one of which raised a justifyin’ scream. The trunk was laid down, as was Lawrence; bandages applied to the latter and a key to the former.
A warm golden glow lit the hovel. Our faces basked in its precious goodness. But before we could conclude our trade burly and roughened men burst through the rotting walls and laid down a volley of fire. Cannon-Fodder Colin was down and Expendable Alex had expended his last breath. Lawrence took the shot meant for me (bless his misfortune) as I sheltered behind him.
Tooth-Eyed Gill was in his element. His terrifying dentrified eyes snapping with rage he fired, tossed and snatched up fresh pistols from secret spots as he crab-walked about the room. He felled a pair of the interlopers but we were still outnumbered.
I locked eyes with Gill and realised we should leave before he lost all sense of friend and foe. He flung up a floorboard and tossed a flame into the shallow pit filled with a snaking nest of fuses. I dived for the door as our assailants pressed their advantage. Lawrence staggered beside me. Sadly me last crewman Beige Keith was trapped by gunfire. Still, tis no matter – I’ve not a thing to relate about him.
The cabin exploded as me face ground into the ground. Planking, arms, decorative octopi and a fine rain of sand and teeth pattered and thumped about us. Gaargh, as the smoke cleared I saw that the rancid hut was but a scorched pit, comically strewn with the bodies of our enemies.
Lawrence lay beside me, stunned by a flying fist to the face. I let him sleep and stumbled towards the blackened hole. Clearly the madman Gill had booby-trapped his hovel in case of such assault, but of the man himself there was no sign save a warning shot that missed me but thumped into Lawrence’s leg, cruelly waking the lad.
Of the treasure chest we’d drawn through the jungle and whose contents we’d so keenly anticipated there was naught, naught but a deep regret in me soul. I balanced its loss with relief for me life and the trading of three cumbersome crew for one luckless lead-soaker. Gaargh, I’ve had worse days.