The air was filled with the scents o’ smoke, sweat and unnatural couplings. It was me first day of rehabilitative labour.
They shipped us all out together from the Bastard’s Fate in an experimental programme of reparation, whereby we’d do some tinkerin’ or other and with luck escape ye gibbet. Twas all a touch vague and yet if it kept the rope from me throat I was sure I could endure it. There’s no need to go into the exact nature of me crimes, suffice to say that they featured the daughter of a duke and a terrible misunderstanding of what “polishin’ me stump” means.
We’d been given a number o’ options from which we could choose to best reparate our harms upon ye community. Gaargh, me numerous disabilities counted out ye pleasant soundin’ jewellery untanglin’ for me hook’d only aggravate the twists and the prospect o’ gold’d likely lead to further trouble. I’d no desire to gather the bodies o’ plague victims or suffer the urine stench o’ a pity shop full of knick-knacks and used nether-wear.
I was left with ye bracin’ outdoor work; I’d not minded the prospect of some fresh air and a chance to toughen meself after a few months in Admiral Kneehorn’s Bastard’s Fate stronghold. However, I’d failed to anticipate the sheer thuggery of me fellows. I likes to see meself as a gentleman pirate, though tis mainly me garb and money that belonged to gentlemen. But me companions were a bestial mob intent only on beatin’ each other senseless and carvin’ their names in their arms. Scarce capable of speech, their signatures were mere variations on an “x” and a stab.
Gaargh, anyhow they bundled us out of the cart onto the worksite, from where we picked ourselves up and seized the most likely tools for shankin’ one another. I’d some sympathy for poor Johnny with his trowel and Alan who found only the gardening gloves, but tis a brutish environment for the timid and dull. After the first few inevitable deaths ye guards finally instructed us in our tasks. We’d be humping mud from one end of the valley to t’other, which sounded poor enough, but with the added ignominy of running a gauntlet of socially conscious parents who’d turned out to ensure some more apt punishment were meted out for whatever misdeeds we’d done deeded.
Gaargh, I’d thought the other prisoners vile enough, but the shrieking outrage of what turned out to be the local parent teacher association was too much to bear. With their pointy shoes and upset at havin’ a workgroup of such scum as we near their village, they harried us up and down the valley with a shower of rocks and spittle.
We slept on the ground that night beneath the disease infested blankets donated by that same gang of local do-gooders. How I longed for me freedom. I was kept awake for most of the night by the sounds of rough and unwelcome fornication in the bushes. Me fellows were victims of their own urges and had never learned the restraints of decent society. I vowed to never let an illiterate man aboard me ship again. I staved off unwanted attention with sharp jabs of me mud-spear, an unusual and unhelpful tool intended for the pricking of mud prior to its removal. This was a bafflin’ place.
By the second afternoon of futile mud prodding I felt I’d partaken sufficiently of ye punitive time-wasting to be sure o’ privacy in me future lady-delving affairs. Twas time to engineer an exit. I took advantage of the considerable girth and hirth (tis a similar measure o’ height) of a pair o’ moron thieves who’d managed to carve their names in each other’s faces in a gesture of criminal fraternity. Thus concealed in their misshapen shadows I tailed ‘em adroitly until they were set upon by a gang of these vigilante parents. Seizing me chance I adopted the manner and pitch of a young child – forcing the perspective against them giant lugs to seem shorter than I be. Ye art classes are often of such use.
So guised I threw meself on the mercy of those mothers and fathers so keen to assault the lags. They seemed positively thrilled to be involved in the legal process, especially the punchy part of punishment. Their thrashin’ desires grew when I whispered of how the convicts kidnapped me and proceeded with unnatural fiddlin’ while I doled ‘em out their charity juice.
I was kindly escorted to a nearby orphanage where I received tea, too much porridge and admiration for me youthful beardy blush. Me missing parts only confirmed for the gulls the truth of me account with those beastly criminals, the horrors o’ whom I recounted nightly to en-fear ye other children.
There I preyed on their charity for some weeks till I could maintain me falsetto lisp no more. With an orphan under each arm and a knapsack of goodies I fled by midnight for me ship and crew. I’d learned me lesson well, and would surely not get caught again.