Tag: pirates

The Golden-Haired Pirate

Greta Goldenlocks was a fearsome and mighty pirate. No pirate or soldier alive could defeat her in battle. She could defeat ten men as large as grizzly bears with one hand tied behind her back and the wind blowing her hair into her face. She could surround and defeat an armada of ships with three rowboats and a crossbow.

And as for treasure, Greta had a nose for it. No one could hide their valuables from Greta’s sticky fingers. If it was golden false teeth, they’d be gone and in her loot bag while you were in the middle of eating dinner with them. You wouldn’t notice they were gone until you tried to eat the mashed potatoes.

One day, after getting up early to explore the surrounding seas, Greta sailed up to a castle. She rowed to shore and jumped from the rowboat, eager to explore. She approached warily, but no guards or lookouts stood outside the gates.

The front door was unlocked. It was a little unnerving. Greta thought of all the ghost stories she heard on quiet nights. Yet, she never once saw a ghost, after all.

She couldn’t walk away from this. A castle? With the front door unlocked? She wouldn’t be a pirate if she didn’t walk right inside. So, she did.

The front hall was empty. Following her nose for treasure, she turned into the first room. It was a banquet hall with a lavish feast served but untouched. Greta sampled the dishes.

No poison.

After sampling the last serving, she finished the meal. Why leave good food to go to waste? She considered finding the kitchens later and bringing some extra provisions to her crew.

But first, she needed to look for treasure. She went into the next room. It was a throne room, and the chairs looked like solid gold.

However, Greta was an expert treasure hunter, unwilling to be fooled by imitations. She checked first one chair, then another. She hacked the last chair apart with her sword. It wasn’t gold, just painted wood.

Disgusted, she moved along. She found a bed chamber. The expensive linens would fetch a pretty penny if sold to the right buyers. Yet, linens would be a poor treasure to take back to her crew from the castle. Even if she added the provisions.

Surely there must be something better. Letting her mind go blank, Greta tuned in to possible treasure. But all her senses told her that the treasure in this castle was the beds.

She looked under the beds. She scratched the paint of the headboards to see if they were made of gold. She checked under the mattresses. She checked the seams of the bedding.

Maybe they were enchanted beds? Greta didn’t really believe in magic, but she was willing to keep an open mind. She crawled into each of the beds, with her boots on, to see if anything felt different.

Nothing did. Maybe she needed to fall asleep first. And so, in the last bed, she fell fast asleep. The bed was marvelously comfortable, and she slept well. Unfortunately, she didn’t sleep long.

Greta started awake with the feeling of someone watching her. Opening her eyes, she was shocked to see three large bears. Actual bears. Yet they wore clothes and stood on their hind legs like people.

Was that what the enchanted beds did? Did they turn people into bears? Or was it the food that changed them?

In alarm, Greta looked down at her hands. They were still normal hands. She cautiously put her hands up to check her face. No fur.

She remembered her treasure-seeking instincts telling her the beds were important. It must be the beds. Luckily, she hadn’t slept there long. She needed to get out of here before anything happened.

The bears were still staring at her in shock. Greta jumped from the bed, and in two steps she was out the window. She landed gracefully on the lawn and waved at the bears watching her from the window.

Her crew sailed away from the enchanted castle as quickly as possible. The ship’s doctor said her voice sounded a bit hoarse, but it was probably just a cold. He told her it just wasn’t possible for people to turn into bears. But Greta and the crew knew better. She’d had a narrow escape.

Greta is still just as good in battle. She can still find any treasure no matter where it’s hidden. But she might wait a moment or two before taking it now. She checks to see if the owner looks cursed. Greta Goldenlocks is a wise and mighty pirate.

Flashback Friday: The Pirates

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.

Brian 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 crew.

He 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.

Halfway 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?

And 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.

“We 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.

Brian 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.

The 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 jump rope.

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.

“Jenny,” 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.”

“That wasn’t part of the show, Dad,” Jenny said. “No one knows who they are.”

“That’s really weird,” Brian said.

Two 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.

Brian 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.

Everyone 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.

A 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.

Seeing 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.

Three 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.

It 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.

They 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.

“We’ve come to steal your show,” he said.

“You ruined my son’s track meet,” a man yelled.

“You knocked that poor mime into the park fountain,” someone else yelled.

“Did you really need to interrupt the debate competition? Or the spelling bee?” another diner asked.

A man glared, face red. “You were the ones who spoiled my press conference!”

“The 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.

“I see that our reputation precedes us,” the captain said. “And so, for our devoted fans…”

“I hate you,” the woman repeated.

“… we have a special treat.” The captain continued. “A sword dance, with musical accompaniment.”

One 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.

“I hate them,” the woman repeated.

“This was great,” Brian whispered. “I’m glad we came. Even if the soup was cold.”

Sally rolled her eyes. “At least someone is happy.”

The 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.

Brian 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.

The Misfit Pirate

Bob, the terrifying pirate captain, had four sons. He was proud to introduce them to all the frightened sea vessels he happened to cross paths with. “Prepare to be boarded by Bob the Terrible and his crew. And have ye met my fine sons Grog, Hunter, Alex, and Saber?”

Grog was on his way to being a fine second-in-command. He could load and aim a cannon while blind-folded and still hit a seagull flying leagues away. Hunter was a daring swordsman who could fight off twenty men and walk away without a scratch. Saber was still young, but he could sight an approaching ship on the horizon without a spyglass, and then steer to meet it unaided, even through the middle of a howling storm.

But Alex just didn’t seem to fit in with the other pirates. He tried. He was an excellent jewelry appraiser and could talk for hours on carats, cut, and clarity. He was a fine navigator, with a good knowledge of longitude, latitude, and degrees.

Yet if there was a fierce battle to be enjoyed, somehow Alex was somewhere else. When they were telling stories of adventure on the high seas, he looked bored. And after he’d appraised the treasure, he had no more interest in it, and never looked at it again.

“Did ye drop the lad on his head one day?” Bob asked his wife.

She hit him on the head with a spare wooden leg. “How could you say something like that? Alex just has different interests, like you did.” Then she sent him to peel potatoes while Saber took over steering the ship for a while.

Sitting in the galley peeling potatoes gave Bob a chance to think about the past. Bob’s parents were accountants. They loved to add up columns of numbers and fill out spreadsheets. They took their children on trips to the library and chess tournaments. While his brother Steve loved chess and numbers and books, Bob did not.

“Why can’t we go to the beach?” Bob asked one day. “I don’t want to be an accountant. I want to be a pirate.”

His mom laughed. “Lots of little boys and girls say they want to be pirates when they grow up. But then they find something they like better.”

“But I really do want to be a pirate,” Bob protested.

“Of course you do, dear,” she said. “But robbery and mayhem is a terrible career path. Why don’t you look into engineering? It pays well and is legal, too.”

Bob snorted as he finished peeling the last potato. Piracy paid just fine. But maybe it wasn’t for everyone. If Alex didn’t want to be a pirate, then Bob wasn’t going to insist on it. That wasn’t the pirate way.

And so, after dinner, Bob joined Alex on deck. Alex was looking out across the water, frowning. Bob patted him on the shoulder. “Son, do ye want to be a pirate or not? Because accountants are okay too, even if they’re terribly boring.”

Alex looked up. “Being a pirate is nice.”

“But do ye love it? It’s not a career for the half-hearted.”

Alex sighed and looked out at the waves again. “I don’t love it. I don’t like it when there’s fights or things get loud. I think treasure is boring. And sometimes, when the weather is bad, I get seasick.” He looked back up at Bob and whispered, “Are you mad at me?”

“Of course not.” Bob smiled and ruffled his hand through Alex’s hair. “Ye can’t help being who you are.”

“So now what?” Alex asked.

“We’ll write to your uncle Steve and see if he can recommend a good school for you.” Bob smiled as Alex hugged him.

Alex let go with a frown. “But if I go to school, I won’t see you and Mom and Grog and Hunter and Saber any more.”

Bob laughed. “Of course you will. Pirates never give up their treasures, and you and your brothers are my real treasures. You’ll see us. We have to find someone to appraise the rest of the treasure, after all.”

Alex smiled. “Someone else might cheat you and ignore obvious inclusions that affect the clarity of the gems.”

Bob nodded. “Yeah, that. So we’ll jump out from the shadows when you least expect it.”

Alex leaned against the railing. “I’d hate to get out of practice. Jump away.”

“That’s the plan. I guess someone in the family had to be respectable.”

Alex looked up. “Thanks, Dad. I love you.”

“I love you too.”