“No your honour, we’ve quite sworn off all that piracy malarkey.” Of course, that was a lie. Perhaps if they offered something other than hanging for our pastimes I’d be inclined to toss ‘em some form of truth-telling. Quiddities such as this frequently beset me when I was forced to endure the rigidity of the legal profession. Reassuringly though, a few tots of rum soothes such concerns from me breast. Since such sweet succour is rare and frowned upon in the courtroom I put more effort into my honest face.
The judge scowled at me with a rather hurtful scepticism: “Unless you and your crew give up your wicked ways I shall be forced to confiscate your vessel, goods and also your lives.”
The babble of Vespers had been venting out into the dawn when we’d cruised out of the fog and blown one side of the monastery to the rocky afterlife. What once was stone was now a hole. Exhibited in the heart of the monk house was our prize – their famed golden bust of John the Baptist’s noggin. Ye might consider its nickery a sacrilegious act, but we mainly considered the gold. Zachary (the judgmental fellow who presently regarded our iron-clad feet so sternly) considered it criminal.
A few foolish monks required slapping with the flats of our blades before we could make off with the brightly beaming bodiless Baptist’s bonce and bear it aboard the ‘Bastard. Once we’d done so a sense of calm and wellbeing fell over the ship; a large lump o’ gold’s apt to do that to pirates. Bringing the statue up to melting temperature also brought forth a terrific moaning and wailing which chilled the hearts and stilled the hands of even my fiercest mates.
Contained within that auric masque, ye see, was a still-living face – twas Dunking Johnny No Neck himself, screaming with lungs he’d lost in life. Damn me if, in a sudden fit of fear (or piety – I’ll come back to that notion) I didn’t hoof the howling thing into the ocean. Everyone looked a mite shocked. Fine control of me peg leg for punting’s a tricky matter and I’d managed to impress us all. Gold lay in gobs and nuggets on the deck, so it was hard to deny that we’d had the head in our hands when the soldiers boarded us.
Having a slick and silvery tongue’s an invaluable tool in me pirate bag of tricks (like a teaspoon, tis versatile). We were inevitably hauled before the bench, where I passionately asserted the deep and profound faith which lights me heart and takes the edge off our frequent darkest hours. Just because it looked like we’d thieved it for the gold hardly matched the monks’ terrible sin in sealing up the sacred gent’s skull for centuries – we had in fact liberated the saint’s holy head and returned it to its spiritual home.
Knowing the minds of criminals is likely an important aspect of judgeish training, and Zachary was possessed of all these skills and more. He was somewhat taken aback by me claims and sought to summarise them: “Let me make sure I understand: you destroyed a monastery to rescue the still-living decapitated head of John the Baptist and then ‘released’ it into the bosom of the ocean?”
I fear he was not convinced; my boys and I were to be hanged at dawn.
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