Goldfur McRoo: Terror of The Subterranean Tunnels

Goldfur - MontyGoldfur McRoo skipped fearsomely down his tunnel. He had a spring in his scamper because he had just been named the most fearsome of all subterranean pirates by a committee of forest dwellers. He was so happy that he wasn’t really paying attention to where he was going and before he knew it he was in a tunnel he didn’t recognise at all. It was very cold and made his fur stand up on end to keep him warm. It also smelled like no one had been here for a very long time.

 It was a little bit scary, but since Goldfur McRoo was a very fearsome pirate he just puffed up his lovely golden fur and with a good deal of noise he confidently explored further. Around the next corner was a huge icicle hanging from the ceiling all the way down to the ground. Goldfur edged around it and peered into the gloom behind it. As his big wide eyes adjusted to the dark he suddenly let out a cry and bounced backwards into the icicle. Its sudden coldness on his ears made him cry out again and leap forwards where he was once again startled by the thing that had startled him to begin with.

 This went on for a little while, until Goldfur’s ears got used to the chilliness and he rested against icicle to catch his breath. He was rather tired from all the surprised squeaking and was all squeaked out. Now that he was a bit calmer he could have a look again at what had frightened him.

 In the tunnel ahead was a huge pair of tusks pointing right at him, and in between them a great hairy trunk pointing at the roof. It was certainly an alarming sight, and much bigger than the little marsupial pirate, even with all of his fur puffed up. However, even with all his brave battlecries and the bouncing back and forth it had neither run away (which is what normally happens when Goldfur McRoo was fierce at things), nor had it charged at him (which is what happens the rest of the time when Goldfur McRoo was not fierce enough).

 Feeling brave, Goldfur got even closer and discovered that the whole beastie was encased thickly in ice. No wonder it hadn’t run away! The big beastie wasn’t as scary as Goldfur had first thought – even though it was very big indeed, it was also rather furry and to Goldfur’s eye, it looked quite lonely as well as cold. Just looking at the big fellow was making him feel cold. He determined to warm the beastie up and make friends.

 First he tried cuddling at the tusked thing, but that just made his fur cold. Then he tried wrapping a blanket round it, but that just got stuck to the beastie’s leg. He realised that what was needed was an heroic act of digging and decided to excavate the whole burrow, right up to the surface and let the sun warm his (hopefully) new friend up properly. This was not a little operation.

 It took many days to dig away the earth above the frozen creature, but at last Goldfur was done. The icy head and mighty shoulders of the thing stuck up out of the ground for the sun’s rays to do their stuff. With such a big piratical digging project, all of Goldfur’s crewmates and friends had come to see what was going on.

 Pomfrey the Owl was sitting in a tree watching the melting when the big beast’s ears first started to twitch. With loud hoots he woke up Goldfur, who was very tired from all the digging and had fallen asleep in a little pothole he’d dug for himself. The ice was melting faster and faster, and the big hairy creature was soon surrounded by a pond of cold water.

 Goldfur made a raft out of his friend, Alas the Terrapin and rowed over to the furry island. He climbed up the still chilly trunk and gave the big beast a big pirate kiss right between its eyes. There was a pause in which Goldfur prepared to either hug or run away.

 With a huge groan the trunk lifted into the air and blew out a fountain of water, nearly knocking Pomfrey off his perch. Goldfur clung to the trunk as if it were a mast in the middle of a storm. The eyes opened on either side and looked at the golden pirate clinging to its nose.

 “Hello there,” it boomed.

“Ahoy!” cried Goldfur McRoo, “I, Goldfur McRoo, terror of the subterranean tunnels have defrosted you!”

“Oh thank you, I’ve been terribly cold,” said the beast underneath Goldfur’s feet, “I’m Monty by the way. Monty the Mammoth.”

 Goldfur helped Monty out of the deep hole and they became great friends.

The Dromedary Adventure

Dromedary AdventureSun, endless sun blazin’ into me one lonely eyehole with her merciless light. Twas the third week we’d spent in the desert and even the hull had creaked into a salty dryness for want o’ water. Unless some moisture (except that we sweated from our personal places) were forthcoming we’d all be unhealthily dead. Violent storms had tossed The Grim Bastard from a violent foamin’ ocean o’ bastard-fish into this yellowed hell.

Whence we’d come had been a haven o’ peace compared to this hideous waste filled with murderous wild camel folk. Exactly why they attacked us was a mystery for the frothin’ spit fountains they used as mouths were incapable o’ conveyin’ any meaning other than hatred. Yellow tufted humps lay across our deck with crude straws stabbed deep into their fatty hearts. Zabaglione-like lard dribbled from the mouth o’ Billy No Mates as he sucked the last of the camel’s load from the furry beast bag. Twas a paradoxical state we found ourselves in: we were unable to escape the desert, for their ferocious assaults kept us aboard the ship, but we’d have died of thirst without ’em, for we depended on the oddly-elbowed brutes to give us the semi-liquid strength to survive their next wave.

Billy No Mates let loose with the cry we’d learned to dread: “Camels ho!” Dodging the misuse o’ the word ‘ho’ (of which Billy was inordinately fond), we skipped aside from the rank laces of drool that preceded the sharpened hooves on the ends of legs so heavily jointed they bent with serpentine ease. Even so, the beasts are huge and exude a vile stench to turn the belly of even a hardened seaman. A storm of shimmering steel and tumbling sand-cows surrounded me as I leaped up and looped the noose about the camel’s neck. Herr Gunther Garment, our unorthodox surgeon had laud us a cunning plan, if only we could capture enough of the misshapen mammals.

Half a baker’s dozen of the beasts remained bound on deck when the tide of their fellows receded, leaving streaks of blood and swearing in their wake. Inwardly I held me doubts and fear of the Good Doktor’s methods in a hushing secret, for I’d no wish to have the creatures’ monstrous rubbery lips stitched to me cheeks, Just because this sounds like the ramblings of a madman in no way diminishes its likelihood. The lunatic bonesaw strolled towards the disabled dromedaries, knives whirling between his fingers and a bucket of ship’s pitch gripped in his teeth. Leisure was forced upon us by the heat, although the throaty squeals of the be-surgerised camels and the Teutonic chuckles denied us the bliss of heat exhaustion.

Me eye strove to remain closed, lest it peep onto ghastliness, but me sinking heart knew it was time to wake – perhaps it felt the chill of the evening air. No one’d told me of the night sky in the desert; tis much like that of the ocean but lacking the creak of timbers and splashing of waves. Oh, but that sweet saline sound was replaced by the confused whimpers of abused sand-mammals. Perhaps we would escape the cruel confines of our desolate desert dungeon, for the camels still resembled themselves, in their perambulatory parts though Gunther had excavated the beasts’ infamous humps to leave a sailcloth-lined seat within. Quite why we could not have simply fitted saddles entirely eluded the capricious genius of Herr Doktor Garment.

Resigned to a rather grim ride, we survivin’ few sank into the beastly carriage-humps and lurched across the sand dunes. We made our way coastwards in safety, for the wild camels avoided their scarred and seated kin. Our only impairment was the curious mating urge which the hollowing put upon our steeds. Gaargh, twas horrid. Oh, and of course the desert marauders and the giant scorpions also diminished the joys o’ travel.

The Reluctantly Hospitable Adventure

Bantams Spank“Turn ye face away, I’ve no wish to endure the dim-witted gaze of ye mooncalf features.” Under me fierce scowls the thick-cheeked passenger sulkily turned his face back to the sea. Very soon he’d be filling the belly of one of the excitable sea beasts which presently cavorted in the bloody lumps that used to be his companions. Wesley was his name, Wesley of Oingham, a lord of minor repute with acres of land – a  worthless commodity to the ocean and its folk. Within an hour of boarding he was exhibiting all the traits of one born with silver forks up his arse by chundering copiously about the decks and demanding the feathers of a baby swan to swab his sticky chin. Ye will likely sympathise with me immediate instinct to set the fellow a-fire. “Zero tolerance for boorish landlubbers”: that’s me newest motto and we’d be executing the notion, and the lord, at ten bells.

Ye see, after a difficult few months while we lingered in the economic doldrums (for piracy and even honest tax fraud may be challenged when no one’s got gold for thieving), No Hands Mick had proposed that we draw in ye tourist shillings by offering passage on The Grim Bastard, or rather on The Bantam’s Spank as we’d renamed her so as to appeal to the soft-witted and gentrified land algae. By the second Thursday of offerin’ a boating service we’d ferried endless elderly matrons across the river and filled our books with those keen for seaborne adventure and the thrill of seeing a fishy in its proper place.

Coddling’s not the way to deal with pirates, for they takes every inch ye offer and are then reluctant to cling to the mast in a storm. However, we found that the lard-swaddled lord and lady had different expectations of their “cruise”. The shit-seats at the stern disturbed ’em and they were noisily resentful about bunking with the mates in the Stenchhole. Don’t get me wrong, tis a vile and villainous deck on which I’d not set me foot without first dousing it (the deck, not me foot) with alcohol and fire, but this Wesley lad was furious and bellowed fit to affright an amorous walrus. Even his lady-wife expressed alarmed by the shade of scarlet his cheeks achieved. For the sake of peace from his wobble-chinned rage we emptied out the little cupboard by the powder room, kicked a bed into it and rammed the pair into their executive suite. Gimpy, the powder monkey was a mite put out but since he could fit neatly into a drawer beneath the galley’s clam drainer, everyone was equally unhappy.

Half a week later in the middle of a fine dessert of neck custard and knee biscuit, in spite of our sightings of a dead dolphin, a killer squid and just two minor sea battles, the ham-faced lord slammed down his fist in protest. In doing so he propelled a knife across the table and into the remaining eye of poor Gimpy (t’other was lost to a fuse error) who stood by the table, bearing a lamp so as to light our meal. Justly, for cutlery belongs to the table not the face, Gimpy ran off screaming. Knives in the eyes will do that to a young lad. We were plunged into darkness and surprise. Uncommon laughter spilled out of Lord Wesley’s mouth and he slapped his breeches with glee. Less than a second later he was flat on his back with Mick’s cutting hand pressed to his throbbing throat. No Hands Mick’s a touch protective of the young ones: he mourns them all, crab-eaten, gull-snatched, accidentally made into yoghurt – they all have his prayers.

Now I must confess myself torn: I likes a spot of slapstick and the be-flung blade had the hallmarks of the circus. And yet but our passengers had been naught but grief since they’d boarded, and they had just blinded me powder lad. Of course he might have some use yet as bait, or decoy. Me mind was made up when planking and caulk fell upon us from all directions and a vast boom rocked The Bantam’s Spank. Poor Gimpy had fled to his old comforting nook but in his blindness had bumbled into the powder room with his lantern a-dangle.

Quelling the Lord’s moans with me fist and a light touch of peg to rib, I stomped off to assess the damage. Twas not good. We debated our options, in accordance with honest piratical practice. Realising that we’d already taken Lord Wesley’s payment was a moment o’ brilliant revelation for me. So in short order we tossed his servants overboard and perched him on the diving board and jammed his wife in the jacuzzi for later ransom (we’d made a number of alterations for cruise comfort). That’ll teach him for being rude about me ship. Oh and the eyeball thing. And the explosion. Bloody passengers.

Piratical Noise for Ye Lugholes

Picture by Dani Peppiatt

Picture by Dani Peppiatt

Ahoy shipmates! It’s taken me many moons and much indolence but here’s one of the tales I read for Pirate Coves way back in September.

Tis The Mermaid’s Tale. There’s a fair bit o’ background noise, but that’s The Golden Fleece for ye:

Listen on line

Ye may also enjoy The Polar Adventure, freshly recorded with a modicum o’ quality for ye ear’s delight:

Listen on line

Should ye fancy it ye can also just go to me Reverbnation page and click madly upon all the buttons:

The Sacrilegious Adventure

The Sacrilegious Adventure“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.

The Welcome Rescue Adventure

Gaargh, I was woken by the taste of salt water on me parched lips. Twas followed by the familiar pressure of a pair of puckered lips. Aye, now this is the way to survive a ship wreck!

I took a moment to savour the sweetly soft taste of me rescuer. I ignored the faintly fishy tang and rubber texture till she nipped me lip. Ahar, a cheeky wench. I squinted me eye open to the sun’s glare.

Gaargh, twas not the sweet-cheeked wench I expected but the rude explorings of an octopus’ tentacle. Twas a shock to find it gripping both me face and private place, but its unbidden embrace had brought me to land.

Despite me natural misgivings I’d unquestionably have drowned elsewise – well, I’ll not deny her affections. And later, I’ll break me fast on her tasty beak.