This story was originally posted on March 23, 2017. I like the idea of pirates who steal odd things like they do in this story. Maybe someday I’ll write a story where pirates take the words right out of your mouth. That could be funny, too.
took off his coat and settled in his seat. It was time for his oldest
daughter’s school play. He glanced at the program. There she was,
on the back of the program, listed under stage
felt a little silly coming to watch a play full of teenagers when he
wasn’t related to any of the actual performers. However, he felt
like he was supporting the theater department by showing up, or
something like that.
through the first act, he wished he’d stayed home. It was dark, and
he couldn’t hear half the lines, and he kept falling asleep. Why
had he come again?
then, all the lights came on at once. The audience members looked at
each other, blinking. The teenagers on stage froze in place, looking
confused. And then four men in pirate costumes ran onstage.
are now stealing your show,” the one dressed as a captain said. He
tugged on the end of his goatee with an evil chuckle. “You may get
it back, but it will never be the same.” He laughed louder. The
pirates behind him started to juggle and hula hoop, but they were
rather terrible at both.
straightened in his chair. This wasn’t on the program. The pirates
looked too old to be teenagers. Were they teachers from the school?
He didn’t recognize them.
pirates were now attempting to jump rope and solve rubix cubes.
Perhaps they’d do better to try one thing at a time. Brian
snorted and clapped as a pirate managed to tangle two others in the
laughter and applause grew louder. They quieted as the pirates sang
an odd song about grog and bowed. The audience cheered. The lights
went out. When they went back on, the pirates were gone.
Brian said to his daughter as he drove her home that night, “who
were the pirates? They were hilarious. It was the best five
minutes of the show.”
wasn’t part of the show, Dad,” Jenny said. “No one knows who
really weird,” Brian said.
weeks later, it was the opening night for the last movie in the
trilogy about the dinosaurs that saved the world from alien
invasions. All the showings were sold out for three days. It was
going to be the movie of the year.
had camped out overnight to get tickets for the first showing.
Everyone he knew was jealous. Brian brought a notebook to record his
impressions for discussions with his friends when they finally saw
it. He pinched his arm when he entered the theater.
sat down for the previews and waited expectantly. Then the studio
logo came onscreen. The audience cheered. Then there was a scratchy
sort of noise and the pirates appeared, larger than life. “We
have stolen the show,” the captain said. “To get it back, you
must follow the map. Good bye!” He laughed.
map of the theater replaced the image of the pirates. Brian copied
the map into his notebook. His wife Sally and their children followed
him. Most of the audience members were already searching the theater.
Brian’s map, a group joined them as they followed the trail. They
followed the map to a storeroom at the back of the theater. The
theater manager had come along with the group, and he let them into
the room. The film was in a sealed box of serving containers for
movie popcorn. When he opened the box he nearly cried in
relief. “We can watch the show now,” he said. Everyone cheered.
days later, it was Sally’s birthday. Brian tried to convince her
that the movie was an awesome birthday celebration, but she wanted a
nice dinner out and had already made reservations. The restaurant was
so fancy they had to dress up.
had more than one menu and lots of silverware and a piano player in
the corner playing classical music. Brian wanted to run away. “We
can still go for pizza,” he whispered. His wife rolled her eyes.
were halfway through eating their cold soup when the piano music came
to a halt with a smash of keys. Everyone looked over. Two pirates
were busy tying up the piano player. A third was tying his shoes
laces together. The captain looked on, tugging at his goatee and
chortling. He turned, hands on his hips, and looked at the diners.
come to steal your show,” he said.
ruined my son’s track meet,” a man yelled.
knocked that poor mime into the park fountain,” someone else
you really need to interrupt the debate competition? Or the spelling
bee?” another diner asked.
man glared, face red. “You were the ones who spoiled my press
audience was still laughing when my daughter won the beauty pageant.
I hate you,” a woman said. She slammed her fist on the table. Her
soup sloshed dangerously.
see that our reputation precedes us,” the captain said. “And so,
for our devoted fans…”
hate you,” the woman repeated.
have a special treat.” The captain continued. “A sword dance,
with musical accompaniment.”
of the pirates played chopsticks. The captain clapped along, and the
other two pirates waved their swords around and stomped back and
forth. A security guard approached them. The lights went off. When
they turned back on the pirates were gone.
hate them,” the woman repeated.
was great,” Brian whispered. “I’m glad we came. Even if the
soup was cold.”
rolled her eyes. “At least someone is happy.”
security guards untied the piano player. Several people were
gathering their things and leaving. In the end, Brian and his wife
stayed and got a discount on their meal and a free dessert.
had a long meeting scheduled at work on Monday. He knew it was going
to drag on and on, and no one would say anything new. He
wondered if the pirates took requests.