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Journal of No. 118


February 11th, 2003

Yarrrrr.... where be the photy-graphs from the game? @ 01:50 pm

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Arrr... Here be the tale of Captain Tom "Bloody Hands" Cash, terror of all the seas known to Man and a few more besides.
First, I had to pick a crew out of the scurvy dogs that infested Port Royal. Vengeance Muldoon was first to sign on as first mate, but after a while his peachy complexion and lack of seamanship convinced me to hire on some more seasoned crew. Pretty Boy Long seemed a likely and stalwart fellow, and my eyes deceived me not, for he was one of the most ferocious men to buckle a swash I've ever seen. I tried for a time to locate a gunner, but that's when me luck run out on me. Although 'The Mouth' seemed interested, it turned out that there was bad blood between him and Pretty Boy... And there would be plenty more blood shed between the two of them as the day grew longer.
Absent a gunner, I picked up a one-eyed wizard by the name of Mambo Jack. Mambo was as good at gunnery as I am at bakery. And the last man that called me a pastry chef now lies full fathom five beneath the waves. Nevertheless, Mambo Jack was a dab hand at holding cannonballs and right smart with his heathenish witchcraft. I owe my life to Mambo Jack; he saved me when things were at their darkest.
So with a crew that was partially green and partially useless, the Lancet set out for some honest work, much as it galled me at the time. The tightfisted merchants of the isles (particularly that daughter o' Satan on St. Kitts) made it difficult to make enough to keep my crew properly drunk and wenched. Life on the Lancet was made brighter by the addition of Polly as additional crew. His navigational skills were far better than my quartermaster's and even, though it shames me to say it, my own.
Through some shrewd dealing by Vengeance (though his dealing was sometimes a bit too shrewd for my tastes -- I've no doubt his pocket was lined with a bit of clink that didn't properly belong o' him) we had made enough to pay off the debt on our ship. From now on, everything we made was pure profit.
Unfortunately, paying off the debt left us without enough wherewithal to purchase more trade goods. The crew was a mite worried, but my blood was on the boil for some piracy. But it wasn't to be. Not just yet, at least. All the ships seemed to have gathered at Port Royal, and their crews were behaving like a bunch of nances at the Pirate Games. Also, I had got wind of a treasure, so I thought it better to follow that smell of gold.
Here's how it happened. My crew was having a bit of jolly lark on Monkey Island. We were all liquored up pretty well, and I had paid for monkey wenches for everyone. There was some trouble with Polly. At first the madam wanted to pass off a monkey dressed as a parrot, but a mangy mock-parrot was not good enough for our Polly, so she managed to dig up an old parrot-she somewheres. Elderly that bird may have been, but crafty in the arts of love, or so I’m told. I believe the madam was much impressed with the virility of our crew as we sang our lusty impromptu love shanties to our monkey wenches. And then we remembered that we had heard summat to the effect that the governor of Barbados could speak with the monkeys, and that they might know a thing or two. So we took one of the monkeys with us and went to Barbados.
Once there, the governor allowed as he had spoken with the monkeys in his youth, but had mostly forgotten their outlandish tongue. Evidently, his youth had been spent among the canefields of St. Kitts, so we took him there in the hopes of jogging his memory.
There, a bit of his youth came back to him and he remembered what the monkeys were always wont to say... "the capuchin wears rollerskates" or something of that sort.
This, it appeared was a certain password that would be needed to get at the secret of Monkey Island, but the merchantess of St. Kitts (Damn her eyes!) said that we ought to speak to Margie, a slattern of ill-repute in Port Royal. She might have a certain coin that would be of interest to the guards on Monkey Island.
So we went next to Port Royal, the governor of Barbados accompanying us. For the right price, the madam introduced us to Margie, and her conversation was indeed well worth the expense. But before she would give us the coin, we must needs perform the monkey dance for her. Now, we had all danced a lively close-hauled jig with the Monkey wenches, but it seems this was not what she had in mind. I yelled for the governor and had him speak to our monkey in the hopes of learning the steps to this monkey hornpipe, but it was to no avail. Fortunately, the lure of wealth made the crew willing and able to caper a spry monkey jig for Margie's benefit, though I wonder a bit at the liberties taken by Vengeance Muldoon upon my own piratical posterior during the dance. But nothing succeeds like success. We got the coin, and an admonition to return to Monkey Island and seek out Captain Bite Yer Ankles.
This we set out to do, knowing that at last the goal of our quest was finally in sight. Our course set for Monkey Island, we spoke of the dreams that would come true when at last we had the treasure in our hands. And just then, out of a welkin as clear and blue as any pirate could ask, lightning struck the boat, immobilizing it and striking me down with a fearful palsy. The Pirate Games were over, and the participants had decided that Lancet probably carried treasure worth the taking. Little did they know how wrong they were. As I fell to the deck, I tossed the magic coin to Polly, who safeguarded it. Pretty Boy stood his ground for a time, but when he saw the sheer numbers of the scum arrayed against him, he dove over the side, and I for one cannot blame him.
For my part, I mumbled to Mambo Jack with my paralyzed lips that he should throw me into the sea so that I might drown rather than be carved up by these worthless sea-dogs. Mambo Jack did indeed pull me into the sea, but then he called up the blasphemous powers that are at his beck and call, causing a wave to carry us both ashore.
Some time spent ashore restored the use of my limbs from the lightning stroke. But it seemed my life was not worth a widow’s mite. Lancet was lost, my crew scattered, the magic coin somewhere with Polly, and me with but a few pieces of eight to me name.
But what I did have was a rage hot enough to boil the seven seas. The lightning bolt was not the first curse to strike me that day, but I vowed that it would be the last. Most of my crew finally joined me on the shore of Barbados, and then there arrived that odd Frenchy captain, my bitter enemy and no doubt the secret author of most of my recent ill-luck. I noticed that his crew were not standing near him, and I ordered Pretty Boy to go strike him a mortal blow in revenge for the loss of our ship. Pretty Boy leaped to it smartly, and without much ado had soon sliced off the blaggard’s right hand. The scoundrel went off to boo-hoo sulkily on a log, while I plotted my further schemes.
I talked to his crew, which was (I think) Black Bull Branigan, Jacques Flambe and Moraga Adams. Soon they came around to my way of thinking. If they wanted to join up with me, then I could offer them a share of the secret of Monkey Island. They seemed eager to partake of profits that my crew had worked so long and hard for. I could feel the stares and sneers of my own crew at the unfairness of this, but I quieted Vengeance with a cuff to the head and none of the others felt like belaboring the point.
So then I asked my price. A pirate can only have one captain, and these newcomers had one captain too many. That meant that Dieu-le-veut must die, and they must help me kill him. There was some quibbling at first, but in the end, my newly filled out crew held my back as I did that French bastard in myself. That was the first man I killed that day, but God knows it was not the last. My blood was up, and there were other scores to settle. Pretty Boy took care of the Mouth in short order, but Lobber Yale was nowhere in sight, so Vengeance's vengeance had to wait a while.
Off we went to Monkey Isle, and its secret was none other than Captain Bite Yer Ankles. He offered my crew a hefty sum to take him with us to some other place. He found an honored perch in my hat, apart from the many times he whimsically dove off into the sea or onto land.
After that, I find it hard to remember rightly all that happened, since the scuppers were awash with blood from then on. The deafening cannonfire or a stray bullet may have dazzled my wits a bit, for I seem to recall Vengeance Mulddon flying hither and tither with Polly. Nevertheless, I led a charmed life and no harm came to us as the crew cut a way through every obstacle in our path.
I spotted Lobber Yale in Port Royal, and set a course so that Vengeance could finally take his vengeance. But when we arrived, we were told that he had gone behind a palm tree to answer nature's call. No doubt any man would piss himself if he heard that Bloody Hands' crew was looking for him. We found him at last, and rather than kill him, Vengeance saw to it that the Voodoo Queen turned him into a Zuvembie or summat like that. A fate worse than death, I've been told.
Some of the new crew were clamoring after Rat Bastard McGrew's blood. I was still full of bloodlust, and was nothing loth to knock off this pretender to the title of Dread Pirate. We found him on Monkey Island, and when he got on his knees, pleading for his life, I was assured that he was hardly a man, much less a match for me. In the end, we forced him to lead us to his treasure on Port Royal. But when he dug his way down into the soil and found nothing, we knew it had all been just a ruse to extend his miserable life. He may not have dug up his treasure, but he did dig his own grave. We left his carcase in the pit, but would that we had made more sure there wasn't a trickle of life in it, for I know for a fact that he still befouls the land of the living, curse his barnacled hide.
Then the rumors of Spanish galleons captured my attention. We put out to sea, and soon were chasing a fine prize. It seemed to all aboard that we must have holed the ship a dozen times, and Jacque Flambe was beside himself with a rage that I shared. I knew too well that the Dagoes had holed the new, new, new Lancet [there had been several changes of ship] and we were disabled. Fortunately, Pretty Boy was able to fix the ship enough for us to catch up and put the Spaniard out of commission for good.
Burning with rage at the prize that had nearly gotten away, I bellowed "Take No Prisoners!" and led the men in leaping to the decks of our foe. But in the end, I was made a liar, for we found a very special prisoner: a Spanish princess. Sure that she was a more valuable prisoner intact, I gave orders that she not be touched. But as Pretty Boy took his time in making the galleon seaworthy, I couldn't stand it any longer and futtered the princess for all she was worth, so to speak. By the time the rest of the crew had taken their turns, Pretty Boy had the ship in some semblance of order. After Pretty Boy Long's turn, we took our prize to Barbados, where the dishevelled and bowlegged princess brought in a modest sum.
At this time, my arms were weary with wielding cutlass and pistol and my clothes were sodden with the gore and blood of my defeated foes. The sun grew lower, and my purse had grown fatter. I decided to retire for a time, and passed on the mantle of captain to Pretty Boy, who had served me long and well.
I hear tell that for a short time the seas still rang with warfare and the stench of plague, but my part in these matters came to an end.

Tom “Bloody Hands” Cash
 
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Journal of No. 118