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The Sir Nigel Papers

Being the extended correspondence between Cap'n Slappy and Captain Sir Nigel de Pomfrit Coeur de Noir, The Scourge of the Seas ... and divers scoundrels and wenches who've joined the fray, including the inimitable Cracked Carrie

(Lookin' fer the latest installement? Click here...)

It all began with this, dated July 12, Year of Our Lord 2003:

Dear Sir,

Having just perused your site I would like to express my displeasure at your perpetuation of such an outdated, stereotypical image of the pirate community. You may not be aware that there are those of us who still choose to earn our living through the ancient and noble profession of buckaneering, (as we prefer to call it) and I strongly object to the clichéd image you seek to portray.

I am a bucaneer but I do not blurt out 'Aaaaar' at every opportunity, (Actually the correct spelling is AHHHHaaaargh!; the gutteral rgh is all important and the stress is on the first syllable) but then, of course, in your arrogant disregard of the feelings of an oppressed minority, you wouldn't be interested in such grammatical niceties. I do not wear a frilly shirt, or an eye patch nor do I have a wooden leg or a hook for a hand. And my parrot - Cap'n Redbeard - sits calmly on his own perch just like anyone else's. The modern pirate often wears a tie to work (albeit a looted or pillaged one naturally)and will be just as at home in sensible brogues as a pair of knee-length buckskin fighting sea- boots.

I come from a long line of buckaneers - my father was a buckaneer, so was his father afore him and his father afore him, and so on, right back to old Black-Hearted, One-Eared Jake - the Terror of old Cadiz. And he wasn't half as bad as they said he was, by the way.

The problems facing the modern buccaneering community are many fold. Namely:

Many buccaneers now have to scratch a living by dressing up in the outdated trappings of piratism; eye patches and joke parrots - and undergo the humiliation of ferrying tourists between islands to search for 'buried treasure'. The very lubbers they would have once put to the sword or flayed before the mast without a second thought.

'Talk Like a Pirate Day,' indeed. For some of us it's a year-round struggle to makes ends meet, to evade capture and to stop people sniggering when you say "Avast behind me beauties and pull on me spinnaker!"; which is a perfectly genuine and quite vital nautical term.

So Beware! all ye ... .sorry, all you who dare to poke fun at a disadvantaged section of the community. You will face your day of reckoning. I still have Grandaddy's old plank, you know. And I'm prepared to use it.

Yours,

- Captain Sir Nigel de Pomfrit Coeur de Noir; Houghlihan of old Cadiz.
The Saucy Trollop Tavern
Portsmouth England

Arrrr (and aye, I DO mean "Arrrr" <growl understood)

Somebody woke up on the wrong side of the mizzenmast today, didn't he? Wait a second, "Sir" Nigel de Pomfrit Coeur de Noir?" Ye wouldn't be any relation to Rolf de Pomfrit Coeur de Noir, would ye? Arrr, now I remember ye. Last time I saw ye, lad, ye were a little wisp of a boy. Are ye still mad that I stole yer father's ship and made him cry? Look, it was business! Yer father knew that!

And if ye really WERE a "buckaneer" ye would settle on a spelling of "buccaneer" and be done with it!

But let's not be cross. While I agree with yer major points in principle, yer strict "do it my way" attitude I find "off-putting" as yer grandpappy would say. The whole point of being a pirate, lad, is doing it YER OWN WAY! Be FREE of the past. Be FREE of the rules! Be flexible with the truth!

So, give us a hug and let's be friends!

Oh, and give Three-Tooth Meg at the Saucy Trollop a good bum-grope fer me!

- Cap'n Slappy


Sir,

In reply to our earlier correspondence,

Firstly me old mucker,

I have no connection with that scurvy rapscallion Rolf who dares to call himself a de Pomfrit Couer de Noir O'Houlighan. Everyone knows he was conceived on the wrong side of the hammock to a randy old goat of a worthless second cousin on me mother's side. Now he swans around the Caribbean in a shiny motor cruiser calling himself Pinkbeard the Terrifying. Hah, I've seen more terrifying things in me own breeches.

Secondly, I'll spell Buckaneer however I damn well please, damn your eyes. Don't ye know that's how they spelt it back in the 16th Century? Isn't it inscribed on old Black-Hearted Jake's own gravestone? And I quote:

Here Lies the Terror of old Cadiz;

Black-Hearted, One-Eared, Cut-throat Jake Wastrel, Gadabout, BUCKANEER, (my capitals) and Rake He could get pretty irate Even for a Pirate But he was a pretty good bloke Who liked to have his little joke If you offered him a beer He'd say: No thanks, I've got one ear. He took all of life's hard knocks But died ignominiously of the pox.

He will be sorely missed

A true de Pomfrit Couer de Noir O 'Houlighan I think you'll agree.

By the way, due to giving Three Tooth Meg a hearty grope for you I have now been unceremoniously ejected from the Saucy Trollope Tavern, thanks very much. I have now taken rooms at the Slovenly Slattern - a far less salubrious watering hole. (And after our little altercation, Meg is now down to just the one tooth by the way). Also I believe she prefers just plain Meg these days in any case. Just Plain Meg; never was a name more profoundly deserved.

p.s. Once our little difference are sorted out I agree we should be friends. I am presuming, of course, that when you say "Give us a hug" you mean a hearty, back slapping, manly sort of hug - like a couple of Viking blood brothers a-rollicking and a-roistering over a flagon of mead. If so, that's OK. But anything else would be decidedly unpiratical, even these days. If you get my drift. What I'm trying to say is: "Ye wouldn't be off sailing on the Good Ship Dorothy would ye?" as the French say. No offence intended of course. But it pays to be sure - men have tasted the crack of my whip for less.

Anyway Cap'n, they're hauling up the Jolly Roger on me old barnacle bucket across the bay so I've just got time to give Daisy the Dockside Doxy a damn good swaggling too and I'll be off with the next tide. My bumboat awaits.

HOI HUP AND AWAY!

Yours,

- Captain Sir Nigel de Pomfrit Coeur de Noir O'Houghlihan.
The Strumpet Suite
The Slovenly Slattern

Ahoy Sir Nigel, Me Newest, Bestest Ol' Chum!

First things first, I was relieved to hear that ye weren't Ol' Goat Buggerin' Rolf's lad. I thought yer writing style to be far superior to Rolf's. But then, I've known chimpanzees who wrote better than, "Ol' Pinkbeard the Terrifying." The only thing "Terrifying" about Rolf is his LIFE ... as a "cautionary tale." Now, THAT be terrifying. Let that be a lesson to ye, lad, give drinks with umbrellas in 'em a wide berth.

Now, on to yer spelling ... Good on ye, lad! Way to stick to yer guns! Ye've done or made up the research. Either way, it's absolutely brilliant and I salute ye! I think we should set our "old school vs. new school" pirate style conflict aside. If not for ourselves, we should consider the effect it has on the wee ones. Ye know, the "smaller" pirates. They look at us with their bright, hopeful eyes and hope that we can settle our differences and focus our rage, not on each other, but on our nameless rabble of potential victims.

Speaking of victims ... Sorry about Meg. When ye told me ye were staying at Saucy Trollope, I couldn't resist. When I first met her, we called her "Smiley." Then, I saw what happened when one of the lads gave her a grope. Now, thar be a wench who's not afraid to use her WHOLE FACE in a head butt. Ye have to respect that! But all the "face butting" has turned Sweet Meg into a bit of a Butt Face and the loss of teeth hasn't improved the picture. Still, she's got a great ass fer grabbin' and after a few pints of rum, she's a pretty good sport.

So give us a hug! And when I say, "give us a hug," I don't mean one of those soft, caressing, "gosh, what hair conditioner do you use, it smells divine," "let's play hide the goat" kinds of hugs, but a, "My god! Those manly men are going to kill each other with this ferocious display of aggression! Call the constable! There's an assault in the offing and someone is likely to put out an eye!" kind of hug.

Or, we could just shake hands and slap Plain Meg on the rump and be done with it.

- Cap'n Slappy


Dear old Cap'n Slappy,

I need your assistance. Last night, a terrible, terrible fight broke out aboard me ship, The Yew Anchor - and four of me crew now lay stone dead: Dastardy Dan Dagget (Sprits'l slack jammer's mate), Jack 'Jack' O'Tipperary (Mizzen top jack foremast hand lad), Wild-eyed Peg Leg McGrew (bottle washer's assistant and PR) and Norman Simpkins (not quite sure what he was doing here to be honest, he never seemed quite'one of us')

It all started after the grog ration had been passed around on the lower decks. The conversation turned to women, loose women; and also the other sort too. But mainly loose ones. Soon an argument broke out, delicate sensibilities were offended, voices were raised and finally, daggers and dirks were drawn. I tried to add my two penn'orth to the argument but this only seemed to fan the flames.

Being a wise old sea dog of many years drinking I would appreciate yer opinion so we can settle this argument once and for all before any further disembowelments occur. I don't want to be tipping any more of me crew over the side, worthless, pox-ridden, malodorous slack-a-muffins though they may be.

The questions is this: What is the difference between a Strumpet and a Trollop?

I say, a Strumpet will happily let you ******* her ******s without a second thought whilst a Trollop would ***** your ********s if you so much as ********ed her ********s. You gotta watch them Trollops.

There's others who, shall we say, "beg to differ." I've tried flogging the mutinous dogs to within an inch of their lives to emphasise my point but there's still a-rumblings and a-stirrings atween the decks.

It's all the more tragic because earlier in the day we'd reached a broad consensus on the age old Hussy/Slattern argument.

I tried soothing the crew with the wise words of me old uncle "Soft Hands" O'Houlighan:

"Remember" he used to say "There's them as'd never do nought to no-one that'd be hornswoggled if ye were to go flouncing around with yer doozy out on the bulwarks but ye can always hoist up your own petard. And no mistake."

This left them thoughtful but restive.

Desperately awaiting your wise words

Yours,

- Captain Sir Nigel etc etc.
The Yew Anchor, In the sea,
Somehere off the Azores,
I think. Not really been concentrating.

Ahoy Sir Nigel (etc., etc)!

Good to hear from ye, lad! I was saddened to hear about Dastardly Dan. He sailed with me two years ago and while he was a smelly bugger, he did the work of two men when he was properly flogged and berated. He never did, however, understand the whole Strumpet/Trollop debate, the more fool he.

Stick to your thesis on the subject! Ye know of what ye speak. Still, I might add that another difference between Strumpets and Trollops would be about three quid. It's a little-known fact, though, that the cost of a Strumpet drops dramatically if ye have had a bath in the last year.

But this is, and always will be a debate that defies the flogging and disemboweling remedy that has proven so effective in other debates over the years. To settle this once and for all, ye may have to hold a "wench-in." What ye'll need is to have some Strumpets and Trollops simply take up residence but resist the pirates' overtures until they can tell one from the other. This will take considerable self-control on the Trollops part, but if ye have some Hussy overseers, things should go smoothly.

And thanks for quoting ol' Soft Hands. He had a way with the ladies and a way with words that has left its mark on wenching, piracy as well as the philosophy department at Harvard. Brilliant!

Now, lad. Focus on the navigation and get the men off women and back on botany!

Yours,

- Cap'n Slappy


Cap'n Slappy,

Bad news I'm afraid; since me last communication me ungrateful rabble of a scurvy crew have mutinied! They marooned me on the sunny isle of Tenerife with only a barrel of rum, a goat, yesterdays paper and a few faithful followers who have remained loyal to their old captain. "Yew Anchor!" I cried, shaking me fist in heartfelt despair as the ship departed but reply came there none.

My crew list now consists of only the very dregs of the barrel-scrapings of the scrofulous, worthless and misbegotten:

Nary a one them any use to man nor beast.

Would you be knowing of any ships which may be passing the Canary Isles? I can pay well; don't I have the Queen of Spain's own diamond encrusted thong sewn into me waistcoat? Mind you, life's not all bad here, aside from me worthless scum sucking, slop bucket of a crew the beach seems to be inhabited by scantly clad maidens of easy virtue. With me rum ration, a bit of chat and few tales of derring-do on the high seas I could be soon be rogering me nights away in endless bliss. It's not as if I'd have much competition; the rest of me crew of no-good ne-er do wells are already cutting cards for the goat's favours. But first a good scrub down I think; I remember your advice - just like me old ship, I needs a good careening to get the barnacles off me bottom.

I'll keep you posted. That's if I can keep me poor old bleached bones from bein' picked clean by the buzzards. But that probably won't happen. I've already drawn up a shortlist of those to be eaten if times get tough.

- Captain Sir Nigel,
ex-captain of The Yew

Anchor, A beach, Tenerife.

footnote: *Dennis the Rapscallion - a disgraced privateer whose galleon was wrested from him in the English Channel by a boatful of girl guides out to earn a badge. Ever after earning him the nickname; Dennis The Rapscallion Whose Galleon Was Wrested From Him By A Boatful Of Girl Guides - The Big Jesse. He died in agony in 1721 after slipping on a yam.

p.s. here's a list a humorous nautical words that always gets the girlies giggling. Feel free to litter your conversation with 'em, - never fails fer me:

Bulwarks Spanker Ramrod Yam

Ahoy Me Ol' Pal, Sir Nigel!

Glad to hear from ye, even under the circumstances which may not, as yet, be dire, but certainly limit yer flexibility. As I read, I my first thought was, "save the goat!" Then, upon yer description of "Dubious John" I thought, Eat the goat, Save Dubious John! Then, when ye wrote about the "maidens" I exclaimed, "Use the Goat as a Decoy, Eat Dubious John and enjoy the hospitality of the locals!" But ye were already thar! That's what gives me such confidence in ye, lad!

Ol' Chumbucket will be by in his back-up ship, "The Montezuma's Revenge." Hopefully it will have "aired out" some by the time they reach ye. He'll be wantin' Fancy Frank Filigree to make him some doilies for the chumbuckets to add that genteel flavor to The Montezuma's Revenge, but it seems a small price to pay to rescue you and the lads from the loneliness of life on a tropical island surrounded by a bevy of local "delights."

If I run across The Yew Anchor, I will give them such a thrashing with me fists and forehead. Mind you, we will do our best not to damage her, but you know how these things go. We don't take the care of property damage prevention that the Girl Guides do. However, we're not as ruthless with our prisoners as they tend to be.

At any rate, hunker down, establish an international liaison with the flower of local womanhood and keep an eye to the horizon for The Montezuma's Revenge!

- Cap'n Slappy


Great news Cap'n,

Using all the skulduggery and underhandedness at me disposal I've found meself another ship! Me and me crew was out a-frolicking in the waves (I know it's unpiratical to frolic, especially in water, but we've been trying to cope with our predicament by thinking of it as more of a beach holiday than a marooning.) Anyway, along comes this dainty little galleon - the Scourge of the Seas, captained by a lady buccaneer by the name of Saucy Sheila the Tasty Temptress. She spots me manly torso a-sporting in the briny, gives me a wink and invites me aboard for 'flagon or two.' Out of politeness she also asks the crew too, even though we was all larking about as nature intended (all except Dubious 'John' who said he was too shy).

Well, to cut a long story short, at a signal from me we overpowered the crew - they was terrified of us when we went at 'em with tackle akimbo - and took over the ship. I take back all I said about 'em, they fought likes dogs. Battle over, I heaved that Saucy Sheila hussy over the side meself, the little tease wasn't nearly as saucy as she claimed to be in any case. I suspect she made that name up herself. I've a good mind to report her to the Pirate Trade Descriptions Board, if there is one.

I regret to report one death - 'Undesirable' Corky Hawkins (One-handed Deckhand and chronic onanist). He survived the battle but expired of unnatural causes during the night. Discretion prevents me from telling you what he was up to in his hammock when his heart finally gave out. Let's just say that our old friend 'Seaman Staines' was involved. Poor old Undesirable, I think he missed his natural home - the Yew Anchor. He was a good pirate - he always used to tell us that his mother told him he came from a long line of pirates. But I think she meant the crew of the 'Squealing Hog' who used to queue outside her door Saturday nights. We committed him to Davy Jones locker but even the sharks were turning their noses up. I mean you would wouldn't you? even if you was a mean and hungry shark.

p.s. if the Montezuma's Revenge is still on course for Tenerife ye voyage won't be completely wasted. There's a-plenty going on at the beach to keep you and your crew entertained (we took the goat with us but the local lovelies should do just as well).

Yours,

- Brave Cap'n Sir Nigel de Pomfrit Coeur de Noir O'Houghlihan,
The Scourge of the Seas,
The Atlantic Ocean,
17"08'N, 36"29'W.

Ahoy Brave, Brave Sir Nigel!

Well done, me lad! This so-called "Saucy Shiela" is no other than, Frightful Frida Fellabender from Fort Lauderdale, Florida! Or, as her few survivors have come to know her, "Venus d'Mantrap." Ye were lucky to escape that meeting with your "tackle" in tact. As a matter of fact, I am dispatching letters of your "tackle akimbo" maneuver to the Council of the Seven (major pirate captains) both singing your praise and making them aware of the effectiveness of this particular military strategy on Frightful Frida. My ships clerk, Wistful William, is taking great care to provide illustrations of the attack for those members of The Council of Seven who are reading-impaired. Willie is a sensitive fancy lad with an active imagination and a propensity at embellishment so if anyone asks you "Did you really tie them up with ... you know ... ?" I suggest ye just smile knowingly and invite the next question.

Yes, lad, ye were very fortunate to survive the skirmish, the actual crew of "The Scourge of the Seas" were found floating tackle-free on the corpse of a dead whale. Every man jack of them--dead as Bronson Pinchot's acting career.

Good news/Bad news on the fate of the Yew Anchor. First, the good news. Yer mutinous crew was found only days after marooning you and the lads. They were quickly dispatched and their testicles have been dried and sold in a Bolivian Market as "Clicky-Clunks" which, to the best of my understanding is some sort of children's toy or snack.

Now the bad news. The Yew Anchor is feared lost at sea. When Barnacle Bob Brashbottom, the Badgery Bastard of Barcelona dispatched the crew, he ordered his first mate, Rolly Rothslinger, better known as "Wrong Way Rolly," to take command and bring her safely home to port. After giving such a decisive order, Ol' Barnacle Bob took a nap for three days, when he woke up, he went up on deck for some fresh air and who should be swabbing the decks but Wrong Way Rolly. He said, "Rolly! Why aren't you on The Yew Anchor?" To which Rolly replied, "This IS The Yew Anchor." When Bill walked him over to the side of the ship and pointed out that the name on the ship was "Mad Sally's Thingy," Rolly slapped his forehead and said that he had wondered for three days who Bill had left to crew his own ship home. But this is the sort of thing you can expect from Ol' Barnacle Bill and his crew. Good fighters, bad logisticians.

So, The Yew Anchor is adrift somewhere in the Atlantic. Too bad it's not a horse, then ye could just whistle and she'd come runnin'.

Sad news about "Undesirable" Corky Hawkins. The loss is felt as if he were me own boy, which, is only a .07% possibility. He was a bad seaman and a bit of a git, but he always meant well. I can only imagine that he is stroking toward that hammock in the sky.

And don't ye worry about Ol' Chumbucket and the crew of The Montezuma's Revenge. They will just consider this an exploratory mission and give our Clerk Willie some more stories to illustrate.

Well done, lad! Set the Scourge of the Seas toward the horizon and keep me posted as to yer further adventures! Willie waits in anticipation!

- Cap'n Slappy


Ahoy Cap'n,

I'm seeking your advice. Now that I'm settled into me new ship and I've had some time for reflection I've been a-thinking about changing me name - I'm a little concerned that I don't sound villainous enough for the bloodthirsty cut throat that I am. After being on the wrong end of a mutiny I think I need a name that sounds like I'd slit their gizzards soon as look at 'em. (And I would you know). I believe they calls it re-branding. This should put a stop to any further uppityness by me crew. I was glad to hear all them scurvy dogs on the Yew Anchor came to a bad end by the way, although I've been a sitting very unpiratically with me legs crossed ever since I heard the news.

Me family tree is as gnarled, twisted and impenetrable as Old Wheezy Morgan's underbreeches and I've got a lot o' names to me name. But first off, in the interests of economy and political expediency and because nobody likes the Frenchies, I'm dropping the de Pomfrit part - the French side of the family was all a bunch of gutless, garlic-sniffing snail-suckers in any case. The Coeur de Noirs wasn't Frenchies at all - that was only an affectation on their part - they was as mongrel as you and me. But they was a cut above the O'Houlighans who was from the lower orders and no better than they should be. I believe they had only just dropped down from the trees when me great, great, great Aunt Daisy married one of 'em. (She wasn't an ancestor by the way, just a really great aunt - one o' the best).

I oughta hang on to the 'Sir' part - after all wasn't me dashing, handsome, brave forebear Cap'n Errol 'The Ladykiller' Blackheart knighted by Good Queen Bess herself? By the way, he wasn't called 'The Ladykiller' cos he ran 'em through with his broadsword (unless you're speakin' metaphorically of course, which I'm not.) Although if I was, his sword was reputed to be very broad and impressive indeed so the story goes. And he lopped off the heads of many a Frenchman with it too (now I'm back to not speakin' metaphorically, I hope you can follow this). They do say that his reputation for swordsmanship (take it any way you will) went before him and he was so handsome that the ladies would either swoon or drop 'em at the very sight of him. Either way Cap'n Errol always got his oats, him not bein' too picky whether they was awake or not. Queen Bess excepted of course - although it wasn't for want of trying on his part.

So, I've been running a few ideas up me flagpole and I would welcome your esteemed opinion on the matter.

I quite fancy 'The Crimson Scourge' but it sounds like something you'd catch in a Portsmouth Poxhouse.

What do you think?

Yours,

- Cap'n tbc
The Scourge of the Seas,
The Atlantic Ocean,

Ahoy Sir Nigel (a fine name for friends and friendship's sake)

I have been musing over this missive and have attempted to ascertain an appropriate alias through aliteration. I asked myself, what "N" word could convey Sir Nigel's deadly nature and act as surrogate for his many surnames? Then, it struck me, like a belaying pin from Blind Bob's aerobic juggling act.

<piratical fanfare

Sir Nigel Nightshade! Always present, deadly potent and well nigh impossible to destroy! (Ask any gardener!) And it leaves the ladies with this humorous pun, "Sir Nigel Nightshag!"

But while the Cap'n Slappy site is having technical difficulties, here's what we'll do. Let's have a contest! You will be the judge. I am soliciting Names for Sir Nigel! Just send your name suggestions and why you think it would be a good name and I will compile what I think are some of the best and post them on this site. From there, Sir Nigel can pick his own pirate name.

Arrr! I love a good contest!

Just click the Cap'n Slappy icon on our "contact us" page and write, "Names for Sir Nigel" in the subject line.

Remember, Cap'n Slappy maintains a strict editorial control, so if ye send any "stupid" names, the least that will happen is that it will go in me trash bin.

Keeps those e-mails comin' and we will push our server to get us back on line a soon as possible.

- Cap'n Slappy


Which prompted the following exchange:

Dear Cap'n,

Sir Nigel ran away. Bravely ran away, away. When evil reared it's ugly head, he simply turned his tail and fled. Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Nigel ...

I think he should be called Naughty Nigel the Nimble Knight of Nantucket or "Nimbles" for short.

- Saucy Wench

Ahoy my Little Saucy d'Wench,

Sometimes those seemingly swishified names like "Nimbles" can be made Pirate Chic on a strapping lad like our Nigel. I am sure that he would take issue with your Pythonesque allusion but the "Nimble Knight" raises more questions than it answers ... How DO you "know" Sir Nigel, exactly???

- Cap'n Slappy


Dear Cap'n Slappy,

I know "Sir" Nigel from a naughty night of niggling. 'Nuff said.

Naughty, naughty Nigel!

- Wenchy

Dear Wenchy,

'Nuff said, indeed. Unless you have some etchings you'd like to share .

- Cap'n Slappy


Enter Cap'n Maximilian and "friends" ...

Ahoy! Permission to Come Aboard!

Cap’n Slappy, you know full well that the sea is a giver o’ many a wond’rous thing, by thunder. Mesself an’ me “Brethren of the Coast” comrades became recipients o’ one o’ these gifts a mere fortnight ago.

We had been mere buccaneers, lying in wait on the coast with long boats waitin’ fer some poor bloke to come sailin’ in too close, and then, by Lord we’d take the lot. Imagine our surprise an’ wonderment when ‘round the point of our humble island, comes a full three masted galleon , a shimmerin’ in the moonlight.

“To arms, you scum”, I shouted to my inebriated brethren who were enjoyin’ too much the company of the herd of goats we had just captured. Well, me hearty, we lit the torches, and come up upon her, an’ blow me down, there was not a soul livin’ upon her decks.

I called for a light o’er the side so’s I could make out the name of this fine vessel. By thunder, it be the old “Yew Anchor” missing since old Barnacle Bob lost her at sea after that unfortunate mutiny! With Brave Captain Sir Nigel’s Jolly Roger still run up, no less! By God, what fortune! Well, we packed our belongings and set sail forthwith.

Now, the crew havin’ elected me Captain, I’m ready to scour the seas in search of booty. We are few but brave; my first mate, Passy Fist, my Boson, Jacque LePlank, our moral leader, and Chaplain, Captain Salty Pete, our cabin boy Samuel Morgan, and our master gunner, Andrew D. Jonas.

I most humbly ask the permission of Brave Sir Nigel to rechristen the “Yew Anchor” as the “Maynard’s Comeuppance” (Lieutenant Maynard being the scalawag what killed Blackbeard), and in respect fer his brilliant career o' piracy on board her decks, we ask also to keep his glorious colors fluttering o’er our mast.

We mean no disrespect takin’ the old “Yew”, on the contrary! We are desperate fer a ship, and any smalltime buccaneer knows there was none finer to set sail than the “Yew”. We formally submit our request to the Council, Sir Nigel, and you Cap’n, to set sail. I look fo’ward to a career o’ me own, and if I ever come upon the “Montezuma’s Revenge” or Sir Nigel’s “Scourge Of the Seas”, the long nines will be fired in salute, and I don’t mean the cannon. Arr! Death to mutineers, says I!

Most Humbly, I Thankee,

- Captain Maximilian Danforth De LaFarce

Ahoy Captain Max!

I am posting this on your behalf and that of the council. We will await Sir Nigel's thoughts on the matter, though what you state sounds as though it safely falls into the "salvage" rules of seafaring.

Sir Nigel, what say ye?

- Cap'n Slappy
(on behalf of the Council of Seven)


"Cap'n" Slappy,

I take pen in hand to warn you of your impending doom. You, sir, and your riotous, murderous, rapist band of miscreants have a date with the hangman, and I, by God, shall see it come to pass.

Since the hospitalization of Admiral Wobblebottom, myself and some comrades have split command of the Fleet. Your days of seafaring in search of valuable booty and wenches, and drinking rum and grog shall cease henceforth. His Majesty's fleet lies in wait, and is scouring every inch of ocean in search of ships like Montezuma's Revenge and the likes of you, Captain Chumbucket, Sir Nigel, that joke of a buccaneer Captain De LaFarce, and the rest of you rapscallions. You all shall swing from the highest yard in the fleet, which belongs to my flagship, Warrant.

The cannon are loaded, and you, sir, are their primary target. I shall, by the graces, see an ocean that does not bear the scourge of piracy.

- Commodore Sir Oliver Whitmore Jansen II
Of His Majesty's Frigate "Warrant"

Ahoy! Sir Oily of His Majesty's Tub, "War Rant"

Now this be a sight gag so stay with me:

Picture me fumbling with a fake tie and getting all weepy faced and then hear me say, "Oh, Olly! Whatever are we going to do?"

And imagine Ol' Chumbucket's surprise when you made him a "Cap'n!" He was wondering if he would get an extra helping of squid with that!

Your name DOES ring a bell, though. Are you the same "Oliver Witmore Jansen II" who soiled himself during the Battle of Bacon Beach (which was not so much a battle as an accidental cannon discharge that killed an unfortunate pig that had wandered onto a stretch of beach near St. Kitts)? Yes, I think that's right! The other lads at the Naval Academy and I started calling your "Midshitman Brownbritches."

Good to hear from you, lad! How have those sphincter exercises been going?

As for this "date with the hangman," it has been so long since Ol' Cap'n Slappy has been on ANY kind of date, I am at a loss as to what to wear. Well, the least I can do is polish me hook.

When you're done giving Ol' Wobblebottom a nose enema, come and find me. But make sure you bring an extra pair of clean trousers.

Yours,

- Cap'n Slappy
The Festering Boil, Tortugas


Cap'n,

Ye may have no fear of Commodore Jansen II, Cap'n. Hmph! The only second he be is the second bastard child I left in Port Royal with a certian lady plying her avocation, as it were. Aye, Cap'n, you must remember ol' Sally Leechbottom! Anyhoo, he must seem to have trouble with me no payin' his ruddy child support and ran off and got hisself a commission. Seems His Majesty's Navy'll let any bastardly salt in now. You did remember him from the old Bacon Beach incident, by thunder! Have no fear, Cap'n, I'm making it a special errand of mine to send this whelp to the bottom. The Maynard's Comeuppance is sailing from Charels Town tomorrow, and we'll come home with our ship or on it. Wait, blast it, that's not how it goes. Arr ... . Avast!

Most Humbly, I thankee,

- Captain Maximilian Danforth De LaFarce

Ahoy Cap'n Max!

Ye were bred to be a Spartan, ye old Salt! But since he be blood, be sure to send the "Commode Door" to Davy Jones' Locker nice and gentle! I did notice that the boy had yer nose, but unfortunately, he also had his mother's child-bearing hips.

As fer ol' Sally Leechbottom and her hips-o-pleny, I do remember her. The lads and I used to call her "The Pirate's Dream" as she was always eager, inexpensive and perpetually three months "with child ... .someone else's child." She was a good lass and had a great sense of humor. And I was told that she still has her tooth! Now that shows me some real determination ... on the part of the tooth.

Slap the lads on their backs for me! Happy Hunting!

- Cap'n Slappy


Ahoy me old chum,

Aha, so ye thought I was dead did ye? No? Well anyway, me and me crew has been taking a well earned pirate break. We was holidaying at Club Pirate on the uncharted island hideaway of Piratia, in the Piratagos isles, which are 'somewhere in the Caribbean', as you well know. Consequently, I was temporarily incommunicado, as they say in the Antipodes.

We had a fine old time, thanks for asking. I passed me days swinging in a beach hammock, sipping the local coconut and rum-based beverage and reading a fascinating book called 'How to make Lovely Doilies and Decorate Nice Cakes.' Ahharr - only jokin' - it was actually called 'How to slit people from gizzard to navel without so much as a twinge of conscience - then laugh about it afterwards' by Captain Jake 'No friends' Dunwoody.

Oh and I came across another interesting book: 'Me and My Steinway - How to get about when one of yer legs is solid mahogany' by Piano-leg Blakey. I'll lend it you if you like, I believe you only has the one. I know old Piano-leg is notoriously touchy about his legs - "Don't call me 'one-legged' he insists, "I has TWO - but only one of 'em is real." He was as happy as a lark when he found that old piano leg and jigged about about as nimble as a ship's cat (once he remembered to take the friggin' wheel off it).

Listen - about me name, I know I said I'd leave the choice of me new name in your capable pirate hands, or should I say hand, but I've decided to make an executive captain's decision and call meself Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart. There. It contains all the necessary elements - I'm the Captain of a ship, a knight of the realm and me heart is as black as a lump of coal down the bottom of the deepest mineshaft at midnight on the 21st of December. What has been put there by a blind man also. In the middle of a power cut.

See you anon,

- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart
The Scourge of the Seas,
somewhere in the Caribbean

Ahoy Sir Nigel Blackheart! (Well-chosen, Lad!)

Arrr. I love Piratia in late summer. Is Blind Bess Badong-ka-botty still serving up her "Split Hairy Balls on the Beach?" Sure, it's a fancy-lad drink, but it will knock out a race horse and teach a flounder to speak Chinese! Ye probably missed the Victorian Ladies Volleyballfest in July, but trust me, it be a slug-fest o' loveliness and thar be little in the way of "Ladies" (Victorian, Edwardian or Other) or "Real Volleyball" but it certainly is a "fest" in every sense of the word. Lots of bouncing, and I likes the bouncing.

By the by, I enjoyed your summer reading list. I know that ol' bastard, Jake Dunwoody, and while there are myriad reasons the man has no friends, my complaint is with his book. Oh, his slitting technique is very professional, top drawer to be sure, but his laugh afterward is so forced it sounds like he spent time taking laughing lessons on Drury Lane. There is no internal malice or joy in his laugh. No honest glee. But he can take a beating, and ye have to respect the man for that, however unlikable he may be.

I look forward to reading "Me and My Steinway" by Piano-leg Blakey. Have you read, "The Chairbum of the Boards" by Jules "I've got a chair for a bottom" Ringlets? He was a pirate who met with misfortune while bending over in front of his cannon. While his arse was completely blown off, he still had working legs, so he had a stool attached to his posterior, which makes walking a bit tiring, but he can always have a sit-down when he needs it.

Well, Sir Nigel, I've got a full day of flogging and pillaging ahead of me. Give me regards to the lads and if ye see Blind Bess, give her a grope fer me.

- Cap'n Slappy


Dear Capn' Slappy,

Well, it's a funny old world Cap'n and no mistake - remember I told you about Dubious 'John' me curiously curvaceous ship's cook? Well it turns he isn't a bloke after all! - he's really a .... wait for it ..... A WOMAN! and not a bad lookin' one either once 'e puts a nice frock on. It all came to light when 'e fell overboard and what with me being short of crew, I reluctantly dives in to haul 'im out. Back in me cabin, whilst pouring a half pint o' medicinal brandy down his throat, I noticed that his clothing had become disturbingly transparent and was clinging most provocatively to the contours of...... well I'll spare your blushes and draw a discreet veil over the rest of that episode if you don't mind. Lets just say me grateful shipmate's core temperature is now back to what it should be and Not-so-dubious Joanne is has been installed as Captain's 'first mate'. So that's brightened up me day a bit. I've asked Fancy Frank Filigree to make her something nice, I knew a ship's lace maker would come in handy one day.

A word to the wise - it might be worth your while to have a quick check of your own crew to see if there's any ladies a-hiding amongst 'em - they can be pretty cunning, those ladies. Wheedling 'em out might save you some red faces later on - what I means is, if any of yer crew are the sort that likes to go prancing around comparing bum boils or who's got the most pungent case of the clap - that sort of thing. I'll leave it up to you how you goes about this task - you might have to be a bit more subtle than just giving the order 'Tackle Out!' - perhaps a dip in the briny might flush 'em out or tell 'em you're practising the new 'tackle akimbo' manoeuvre. But be careful not to overdo it - you don't want to get a reputation as 'That Sort of Ship'.

On the subject of ladies, whilst stopping off in Jamaica I happened to kidnap the Governor's daughter. I don't suppose you knows the going rate for Governor's daughters these days? its been a while since I ransomed one. Poxy Pete has since told me that the bottom had dropped out of the Governor's daughter market so it looks like I might be stuck with her. She's a bit of a skinny, plain old thing unfortunately - Poxy Pete said he thought she looked a bit like Olivia de Havilland but that's just wishful thinkin' on his part. She'd only look like Olivia de Havilland if you was to put her in a longboat and tow her half a league astern at twilight and was lookin' through the wrong end of a telescope after having first drained half a barrel of rum. And it was getting on to be quite foggy at that point, also. Nope, long gone are the days when Governor's daughters looked like Olivia de Havilland - but I think she might take to the pirate life if the old Governor won't pay up. Unless you wants to take her off me hands? - see if the market picks up later? I'll give you a good price.

p.s. Regarding your pal with the wooden posterior, I know fella called Fatty Dobson who can work wonders with a bit of canvas and leather - he did a lovely job constructing a lifesize sheep for the crew to practice their gymnastics on. I sure he'd make old Jules "I've got a chair for a bottom" Ringlets a soft new behind. Only trouble is I suppose, below decks, would the combination of an inevitable new nickname and some supple, malleable, calfskin upholstery change his life for the better? By the way, what happened to all the great pirate nicknames eh? Fatty Dobson indeed.

Excuse me now - I has to go and purge the old scuppers.

- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart
The Scourge of the Seas,
still somewhere in the Caribbean

Ahoy Again, Sir Nigel!

Not a bit surprised to hear that ol' Dubious John/Joanne. In me early days of pirate life, we had a lad named Hansel who made half me crew think they'd gone all fancy on themselves. One day, I found young Hansel dancing nekkid on the poopdeck in the moonlight. A small group of the lads had gathered and our Hansel seemed to be unaware of his growing audience. Then, with a flourish, he turned and as he turned he turned into a "she." The lads were so relieved they let out more of a sigh than a cheer. Then, they went right back to Kevin the sheep.

I, on the other hand, married the beautiful tall blonde - Gretel was her name - and we had many exciting adventures together until the fateful day I made notice of her Adam's apple. All of a sudden the pieces fell into place; the many times she groped a barmaid's arse and called her "Liebchen," her obsession with sports of all kinds, her fondness for apple strudel but her inability to bake it, her towering air of superiority and unmitigated arrogance. Truly, there was no other conclusion to come to but that she was, in fact, or at least had been ... German. Well, I was having none of it, I tell you and I dropped her off on an island of marooned trans-sexuals called Nopen Island. Which is better known to those in the specialty amusement park industry as "No Penis Land." Oddly enough, she kissed me and thanked me as she walked down the gang plank to meet her new isle mates.

Since then, every crew member gets the "Mad Sally" treatment. Before signing on, each man must submit to Mad Sally smelling his neck. She has a way of sniffing out a pretender and can tell as she breathes in the natural musk of a person's neck which gender they might be. Ye should see her work, Sir Nigel, first, she wipes her face with a dead cat to "clear the smeller" as she puts it, then, she does this sort of stomping jig, in front of her subject. Once this ritual is complete, she moves in close and begins to delicately "breathe in" the neck of the would-be pirate. Then, suddenly, she grips the groin of the unsuspecting soul and gives it a good hard squeeze. Then she yells, "Franks and Beans! Franks and Beans! Whistle or loose it, Nimrod!" Then, a team of men pry her loose from the poor lad and off he goes to the ship and back she goes to, wherever it is she goes when she is not crushing genitalia with her bare hands.

When she does find a woman trying to sneak on board, she simply turns away and says, "No Franks and Beans for Ol' Sally. Poor Sally, won't somebody buy her a whiskey?" Then, she hits herself in the head seven times with the dead cat while singing, "Oops, Me Dingle Dangle Didn't Do the Deed!"

Otherwise, thanks for the offer of the Governor's Daughter, but I got out of that racquet while the getting was still good. I knew that the market was going south when I saw a Governor's Daughter in Louisiana with a sign around her neck that read, "Will Be Kidnapped and Ransomed for Food." Ol' Chumbucket said they were selling Governor's Daughters by the six pack down at Barnacle Bob's Day and Night Bodega. Truly, these are hard economic times. Still, we have our looting, pillaging and the odd treasure map, so I'm not one to complain.

Thanks for the offer of Fatty Dobson's services. I think I have a lamp he made out of tanned pirate hunter skins. Very nice work. Unfortunately, six months after finishing his book, Jules "I've got a chair for a bottom" Ringlets succumbed to carnivorous termites. What "mad cow" is to the cattle industry, termites that go carnivorous are to wooden prosthetic users - like myself. Still, this can all be avoided if one keeps a daily hygiene regimen that includes several coats of varnish.

Well, lad, I best be about me business. I have got to visit the carver and get in me new masthead order for The Festering Boil. Thanks to yer letter, I'm having him carve the likeness of Olivia de Havilland giving "the finger" to the horizon. What do ye think? (And frankly, Olivia de Havilland didn't even look like Olivia de Havilland.)

- Cap'n Slappy


Cap'n,

Sorry to hear that old Jules "I've got a chair for a bottom" Ringlets has kicked the bucket. I'm sure he was a sad loss to yer crew. Although .... given his deeply unlikely and impractical choice of prosthetical posteriory attachments, I has to confess I had me doubts as to whether he was even a real person at all or just a made up figment of yer wicked, deranged imagination. I suspect you was just pulling me plonker and he was no more genuine than Willie-Boy "My brain is a large Rhode Island Chicken" Doolittle or Yehudi "Look, I've got a 24 pounder carronade for a p*n*s" Fotheringay. Of course, if he did exist then please accept my apologies and pass on my profound commiserations and the name of a good termite exterminator to his poor widow.

I'm also a little bamboozled by your assertion that Olivia de Havilland doesn't look like Olivia de Havilland. Surely if Olivia de Havilland doesn't look like Olivia de Havilland, then who does? Not Knock-kneed Wheezy Morgan that's for sure, nor the ship's goat. And if nobody looks like her, not even her, how are ye going to carve her likeness on your topmast? Eh? You must be thinking of that other one - the one with the long hair.

I'll be a-heading Nor'-Nor'west now, if anyone asks.

Yours, not a man to be trifled with,

- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart
The Scourge of the Seas,
heading NNW now.

Ahoy Sir Nigel,

Now see here, lad! Willie-Boy "My brain is a large Rhode Island Chicken" Doolittle or Yehudi "Look, I've got a 24 pounder carronade for a p*n*s" Fotheringay are as real as me good friends, the always entertaining Clive "Thar be a Punch and Judy Puppet Show in me belly instead of me Intestines" Nyquist and Chuckie "Yes, my chin is a ticker-tape of useful information" Instructionbooklet. These were Titans, lad. And when the last of their kind - Jules - left, the good Lord broke the rather flexible mold and we are the poorer for it.

But if ye need more proof, here be a little haiku that Jule's lovely wife, Suki "I've got a spittoon for a left breast" Yamahashi-Ringlets, wrote on the occasion of his burial at sea.

I see you sit there
"Get me a tankard of ale!"
Get it yerself, Gimp.

I tell ye, Sir Nigel, thar whar not a dry eye to be found aboard The Festering Boil at that moment. As the lads moved past Jules' body, seated on the port side and weighted with two cannonballs, they gave Suki a hug and a tobacco-juice-spit in her left breast - every man-jack of 'em! If that's not respect, Lad, I don't know what be!

As for good Olivia de Havilland likeness, me own personal carver, Blind Billy Meier, is using his interpretive skills to create a likeness of Olivia de Havilland that will look even MORE like Olivia de Havilland than Olivia de Havilland on her best, most accurate Olivia de Havilland-looking day. He is spending a week with the world famous Olivia de Havilland look-alike, Maggie McCorkle, and says he should have the project done by December.

So, thar ye be, my young friend. Answers to yer question, as advertised! Continue on yer NNW course and may ye find a few characters as colorful as all the dead ones I have known.

- Cap'n Slappy


Enter Cracked Carrie ...

Ahoy there, Cap'n Slappy!

Seein' as you give such good advice and all, I be havin' a question for ye...

A bunch o' us office wenches be gettin' tired of pushing paper at a non-profit (aye, a NON-PROFIT, shiver me timbers) and decided to declare ourselves FOR-PROFIT and go a-piratin'. (We tried for a letter of marque, but our blasted ED wasn't having any unless we wrote a grant for it, so I s'pose it must be mutiny. Sad, it is, for she were a right fine ED, apart from her scruples.) We've got the guts, we've got the blousy shirts ... one of us even got a hat. Aye, we're a fine lot, chesty, lusty, and foul-mouthed to boot!

Only problem is, it's dead hard to commandeer a ship in a land-locked valley. So, here's me question - how can we go about puttin' masts atop our building? We figure we'll caulk her with Wite-Out, grease the bottom of the foundation with Palm-Olive from the kitchen so she'll slide easy over the ground, and set sail for the Pacific. Oh, we'll have to tack against the wind to do it, bein' inland and all, but once we've got masts, I'd call our problem solved. Ye've got to admit, it's a right fearless plan. What do you say to it?

Thank ye, Cap'n, yer the star we steer by!

- Cracked Carrie, Terror o' the...er...well, 'o the Valley. For now.

Ahoy Me Proud Beauties!

Ye sound like the kinds of lasses I'd take to sea and no two ways about it! "Chesty?" "Lusty?" "Foul-mouthed to boot?" Sweet Neptune's Britches, Wench! Ye make me miss me sainted departed Granny McCafferty! But let me save that line of thought fer me analyst.

Let's take a calm look at yer goals;

Problem: Ye haven't a boat. Solution: Turn yer building into a boat.

Problem: It's a building and it's clearly anchored to the land...in a valley...with a woman who wants to write grants. All of the Palm-Olive in the world wouldn't provide enough glide distribution to facilitate wholesale relocation. Hell, Love, there isn't enough Weasel Grease to do it, either. Solution: Make your ED write a grant for a boat. Tell her it will "Improve Productivity" and "Address Longstanding Safety Concerns Thus Mitigating Rising Liability Costs" (Don't worry that it doesn't make sense ... if it is a Federal Grant it is best that it doesn't make any sense whatsoever)

Problem: But ye really want the Building/Boat Plan to work! Solution: Steal the blueprints for the building and have a bona fide ship builder build you a ship to those specifications. When your ED asks why the building is "tossing and sloshing" tell her, "It's an earthquake. How's that grant for new blousy shirts coming?"

Problem: Thar be so many of you and only the one Cap'n Slappy. Solution: Take turns. Work in teams of two or three. Work in rotating shifts. Problem: Cap'n Slappy says, "Oh, lasses, it's not necessary. I do it for the love of helping others. Solution: Ignore Cap'n Slappy when he talks like that and have the ED woman write a grant to make sure that Cap'n Slappy lives in style for the rest of his natural (and unnatural) days.

But seriously, no "thanks" is necessary. Cap'n Slappy does it for the love of helping others.- Cap'n Slappy


Great News, Cap'n!

When, I tell ye the gory details of the savage battle fought, ye won't believe yer ears! About a fortnight ago, we recieved word through the usual channels (Scurvy Mae's House o' Pleasure) that me bastard kin Commodore Sir Oliver Whitmore Jansen's tub "Warrant" was floatin' offa the shore of Portobello. Well we hoist on high the mizzenmast and colors, and run out the sweeps to make time, and in three day's time we make it from Tortuga across the Spanish Main. We come up on her at dark, the moon undercover of clouds, and when surprise is right in me grasp, Billy "Leaky Nose" Houghinton lets out a mighty sneeze! Arrr!!! The "Warrant" broadsides me ship, and we break off, with holes in our side the size of Jamaica! I had to watch, held in the arms o' me first mate Passy Fist, as the "Maynard's Comeuppance", the old "Yew Anchor" merged with the infinate in Davy Jones' locker.

Bound fer revenge, with me blood up an' boilin', I let an old buccaneer style raid. But this time, we be givin no quarter. We shanghai'd a few o' the local women from a house, but mind ye not one o' the expensive ones, I refer to the kind that even a respectable sailor stays away from. Well we put hankerchiefs around our mouths, fer the stench of the syphlis was more'n we could bear. We put 'em in the long johns, and row out to the "Warrant" under cover of darkness. While all his Majesty's men are right good and drunk, gloatin' over their victory the night before, we throw on grapp'lin hooks, and hoist the infect'ous ladies aboard.

Now a man like the Commodore, I reconed, will be require'in a certain amount of celibacy while on the hunt, and I figgured his men would be randy as a rabbit in heat, and by thunder, I was right! There was debauchery and sin on those decks that caused even this old salt to blush! By nightfall the next day, them lads had more vernereal diseases than we got names fer! The scabies finally caused em all to abandon ship, and even that rats in the bilges got crabs.

Well, me hearty, the last we saw of old "Oly Jansen", he was rowin' fer London, bein' given chase by some ghonorrea ridden flying fish. Well, me bucko, after beaching the "Warrant", repairing her, and most importantly, fumigatin' her from all the legions of diseases livin on her, we stoke the British colors, hoisted the Jolly Roger, and renamed her "The Clap".

I hope ye approve.

Most Humbly, I Thankee,
- Captian Maximilian Danforth DeLa Farce

On the shores of Portobello, Venezuela

Ahoy Cap'n Max!

Good on ye, Lad! And a nice use of the Trojan Horse technique. (Beware of wenches makin' a ship call in the middle o' the night). I calls that the "weapon of mass infection."

And let this be a lesson to ye newer pirates. Study yer military engagements. But don't be like Mad Mickey McBladder who read up on the Punic Wars and tried to load five hundred elephants onto his sloop. Oh, the elephants could swim, but most of his lads couldn't. From that day forward, his Jolly Roger showed an elephant dog paddlin' the Thames with a belayin' pin in his trunk. Not so much fierce as "distracting."

While I was saddened to hear about the Yew Anchor, I am glad that The Warrant has a new skipper and a new name. As fer yer Uncle Bumpy, I hope he gets up-ended by a swimming elephant.- Cap'n Slappy


Good day to ye.

I remember ye mentioned that you're the responsible sort that regularly varnishes yer pretend leg. Well some o' the peg legs amongst me own crew asked me to pass on a little tip - they always says that pirate leg varnish also works on the insides too. They swears by half a tot of varnish mixed with a tincture of best rum with a splash of Old Mother McWhirter's Preparatory Purgative Potion. They do say that, as well as promoting feelings of rapture, giddiness and lightness of being, it flushes out yer vitals like nobody's business and expedites expedient exitary expulsions like roundshot from an 18 pounder.

I can testify that it works - we used to have to cover our ears at the strainings of old Wheezy Morgan before he started taking it. The poor tortured old sod sounded like he was giving birth to a walrus - but now its more like the jolly tipping of a hogshead of raw liver into a jacuzzi and he's happy as a lark. Hope ye don't mind me frankness but as the old pirate saying goes:

Keep yerself regular then happy, gay and wealthy ye shall be, Sit there bunged up like an old cow in calf whilst a heavily laden Spanish treasure galleon sails merrily past unchallenged, And die a poor man - uncomfortable and alone.

Wise words and as true today as when they was first uttered a long time ago.

By the way, I think its only fair to tell ye, I once had me wicked way with that world famous Olivia de Havilland look-alike, Maggie McCorkle , so I considers meself something of an authority on the matter, having seen her from, if you'll excuse my French, a number of different perspectives. Despite her dressing up as Maid Marion, I still say she looks a lot more like Joan Fontaine than Olivia de Havilland. Still, good luck with yer carvings, they're both tasty wenches.

I was thinking of getting a new figurehead meself for the Scourge o' the Seas, I thought perhaps Ruby Keeler - that old one of Don Ameche is looking a little weatherworn. However, after reading some o' the ravings and fanoodlings of ye befuddled correspondents, I wonder if any of yer new chesty, lusty, foul-mouthed pirate-wench pals might want to come aboard and model for me new figurehead instead? They'd make an old sea-dog more than happy. All they has to do is sit still for a bit, draped in finery, whilst I goes to work with me chisel, after that, the rest of the day's their own. The only condition is they has to be more chesty, lusty and foul-mouthed than Ruby Keeler, I don't let just anybody onto me bowsprit.

Yours fanoodlingly,
- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart

The Scourge of the Seas,
currently becalmed and hanging about, at a loose end. not much going on. These bulwarks could do with a coat of paint

Ahoy Sir Nigel!

I've been drinking Old Mother McWhirter's Preparatory Purgative Potion for years, but always "neat" and at slightly below room temperature. And I, for one, am as regular as a German clockmaker who makes exactly seven clocks a day, opens his shop at seven in the morning and closes it precisely at seven in the evening then, does seven rounds of "Ach Du Lieber Augustine" with his seven daughters - all named "Gretchen" - while drinking seven pints of Old Mother McWhirter's Preparatory Purgative Potion. Yes, me young friend. I be THAT regular.

Still, I'm always on the lookout for a new elixir of longevity and I think yours may just do the trick if I mix a little black powder into it.

Arrr, Cap'n Slappy DOES have a "thing" for Joan Fontaine. A comely lass, that Joan Fontaine If ye are up to doing any Joan Fontaine carvings, I know just the lad who would love to have a Joan Fontaine figurehead. That's right, our own Ol' Chumbucket. He had a birthday this year, and I didn't get him anything...a Joan Fontaine figurehead would do him right. Also, our Webwench Jezebel called "dibs" on any discarded Don Ameche figureheads, weathered or no. (By the by, if ye didn't discover it, our Jezebel put a little added treat on our last "Olivia de Havilland" exchange on the website - just run a mouse over her names and see where they go)

I think ye ought to get to know me "chesty, lusty and foul-mouthed wenches" and see if they stack <pirate chortle up against yer precious Ruby Keeler...although, she be a tough act to follow.

But seriously, Sir Nigel, if ye don't get an adventure soon, yer going to have the Scourge of the Seas ship-shape and that will mean a lot of pressure for the rest of us. We'll start coining a new pirate phrase..."Keeping up with the Blackhearts!"

Yours for a "lived in" piratical look,

[At which point we ran a poll, asking our loyal fans to help choose a new figurehead for The Scourge of the Seas ... and prompting the following missive from Cracked Carrie:.]

Ah, now, Cap'n Slappy,

Thank ye so much for yer thoughty advice on us takin' our building to sea. Yer right, there be several problems w'the idea of transformin' our place o' business into a ship. For one, the Wite-Out's shaping up to be damned bad caulking. If we ever got to sea, we'd have to name our buildin' "The Leaky Budget." And we'd have ter name her fast, afore she took on water and hit bottom so hard that what were left with resembled the Alta California economy.

("The Leaky Budget." Hmm. Come to think on't...that weren't such a bad name...hold on while I write me a note...just a moment ...there.)

So, yer idea of the grant for a ship t'weren't a bad one, Cap'n, but you and I both know gettin' money from the government's harder'n squeezin' sweet delight from an old sailor's... well, we can just leave it at that. So, we chesty, lusty, foul-mouthed ladies had to figure a new scheme to win us a ship. (We discussed a few, one of 'em involving three young men, a tub of kippered fish, a knothole and a schnauzer, but that be beside the point...)

But then, in the midst of our travails, came rumour that the dreaded Sir Nigel Blackheart, Cap'n of the Scourge o' the Seas be lustin' (and I means this literally) for a new figurehead to adorn the salt-encrusted spot where once Dom Ameche clung fer dear life. And (rumour says), Sir Nigel thinks perhaps me 'n' me wenches be just the ones to grace his bowsprit--but ONLY if we be as chesty and lusty (not to mention as foul-mouthed) as ole Ruby Keeler.

Ruby Keeler? That tap-dancin' wee thing? We be four times the woman she were (seein' as there's four of us), and more than that of the woman she IS. And if you don't believe me, march yerself out to her grave, dig her up, prop her up on the poopdeck, and arrange me 'n' me wenches beside her:

Now, who be the chestier?

We're so chesty, Sir Nigel can stuff all his swag inside and there still be room for most of Tortuga.

Lusty?

We be so lusty that - well, come to think of it, that first metaphor might be workin' for this too, so we'll just leave it alone, seein' as this is a family site, an' all.

Contrariwise, poor ole Ruby lost most of her appeal in both areas by now. Bein' dead most often will do that to a girl. As for foul-mouthed, I must admit ole Ruby might win on that one, but her level of deceas'dness gives her an unfair advantage in the olfactory arena, I say.

Still, without a doubt, we are by far the best choice to adorn Sir Nigel's ship. So with that in mind, I be thinkin' to myself: "Myself," thinks I, "there be latitude here for negotiation." Sir Nigel, he wants himself a new figurehead. We four wenches be wantin' ourselves a good, seaworthy vessel to call our own. So, the deal is: we sit still for a bit, draped in finery, whilst he goes to work with his chisel, (arrr, that be a fine double-entendre of Nigel's, don't it?) and after that, he assists us poor damsels in distress by employing Scourge o' the Seas in running us down a good ship to call our own.

And you, Cap'n Slappy, in return for helping us negotiate this arrangement, get ten percent off our first capture and a fine new hook to boot.

What say ye, Cap'n, are ye willin' to turn diplomat on our behalfs?

- Cracked Carrie and her Putative Crew
Marooned somewhere in the Wine Country of Alta California (which ain't so bad, if you take my meanin')

Ahoy Me Four Loverlies of the Apocalypse (If ye had been women of ill repute, I would have called ye the "Four Whoreses of the Apocalypse" which would have been very humorous, but under the circumstances, grossly inaccurate...but ol' Cap'n Slappy hates to let a pun slide by.)

It be a brave wench...and in yer cases, four brave wenches...that would tempt the fates by being alone with Sir Nigel Blackheart and his "chisel akimbo." But if I know ye like I think I know ye, ye be the saucy wenches to do it! I can see it now...it is a figurehead of legend! Four Muses casting their watchful gaze in all directions keeping The Scourge of the Sea from harm. 'twill be a sight to behold, sure. Much better than a decaying, albeit perky, dancer.

And to my good friend, Sir Nigel, I say, this be yer moment of greatness! Immortalize these loverlies in wood and let their heaving breasts of fortune take ye on adventures of which small children shall sing for generations to come! Grasp this with both hands, me bucko! Embrace their chesty, lusty foul-mouthedness and be the Pirate of Legend I knew ye would be! What will it cost ye? Nothing but time, work, the odd blister and a sea-worthy ship so they can sail out of yer life and into yer memory. But as yer figurehead, they'll be with you through every storm and triumph. Small price, great reward! Besides, I am pretty sure they'll throw in a barrel of Cabernet - won't ye girls?

As fer meself, I ask fer nothin' but the warm satisfaction of knowin' I brokered such an amicable arrangement between a dashing rogue and four chesty, lusty, foul-mouthed goddesses of the foam. A barrel of pinot noir and the usual fifteen percent "arrangement fee" for the first year of piracy and ten thereafter and to be "god-pirate" to all of yer first-borns...and nothing at all after that. (Except from the "god-children" who will have to work their summers aboard The Festering Boil in me, "internship" program and will of course, offer me "prezzies" on me birthday AND International Talk Like a Pirate Day...and Christmas.) And "why" you may ask, would an ol' crusty pirate such as meself be so generous? The answer is simple. I do it for the young people...to see them happy. That's the kind o' pirate I be.

But Jezebel, our webwench, has a little poll going as to whom Sir Nigel should select fer his figurehead. And while it's too late to add "The Four Chesty, Lusty, Foul-Mouthed Muses" to the list, there's always the "Other" category. So, faithful readers, if ye think the FCLF-MM would make the perfect figureheads, feel free ' write 'em in. It's up t' Sir Nigel whether t' follow the poll, of course; he may prefer to go ahead and affix yer lusty likenesses to the bow of The Scourge of the Seas forthwith.

Sir Nigel, the ladies and I await your reply.

- Cap'n Slappy


Cap'n,

You finds me in deepest mourning today after having discovered that poor old Ruby Keeler is no more. One of yer foul-mouthed wenches heartlessly dropped it out in her correspondence, leaving me sittin' here alone on the poop, shocked, heartbroken and despondent. Bein' away at sea for so long I gets a little out of touch with such matters. Still, at least dear old Ginger Rogers is still goin' strong. I'm touched that ye're so concerned about me figurehead and if it was within me sculptutatory powers I'd carve 'em all - a nice Hollywood hall of fame and yer four lusty, chesty, lovelies - and hang 'em all over the side as a tourist attraction. But unfortunately I only has the one pair of massive, gnarled, rough hewn but at the same time immensely skilful hands and much pirating to do.

However, after some deep consideration (and here I'm a-rubbing me scarred and be-whiskered chin in serious thought) I would be prepared to tackle all four lusty, bosomy, foul-mouthed wenches in one go and arrange 'em artfully on me prow. A single massive, symbolic sculpture of fine lusty, busty, entangled womanhood all draped in the very flimsiest and wispiest of finery (did I mention that flimsy, wispy part before? I thinks it's normally taken as read). After that, if I has understood the terms of the agreement correctly, I casts 'em adrift in an open boat of their very own. I'd have given 'em a good home but if that's what they wants.

It would be a physically challenging exercise, I realise. The chafings and blisterings would be many, and I expect me prow would be hanging pretty low in the water afterwards but I'm prepared to give it a go, weather permitting. You can tell 'em I've got an extra large column of timber all ready and waiting.

But for now, piracy awaits. Ships don't plunder themselves ye know.

- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart,
The Scourge of the Seas,
Currently in mourning. although she was a bit on the skinny side I suppose

Ahoy Sir Nigel

I can truly sympathize with ye. Although Miss Keeler was not my particular cup o' grog, I always regret when any woman slips the surly bonds of this little "O" without ever having been "Slappisized." Still, thar be only so much one pirate can do, eh?

But you, Sir Nigel, are undertaking a task of Herculean proportions! This will be the Sphinx, nay, the Mt. Rushmore of figureheads! I can picture them lusty, chesty, foul-mouthed wenches now, draped all womanly-like in the flimsiest, wispiest - dare I say, "Flipsiest" - of finery. They will be a sight to behold!

I do have a "solution" for the bow weight concern ye have. Hollow 'em out. I have always hollowed out me figureheads. In one of me early ships, The Acid Reflux, I barely survived her complete destruction at the hands of the Dread Pirate Hunter Lucifer Beelzebub and along with me trusted mates, Ol' Chumbucket, "Cement Hands" McCormack and "Doc" Sawbones Burgess floated to Guyana in her hollowed-out figurehead of Aunt Bea.

Well, today's Interrogation Day aboard The Festering Boil. Somebody scrawled, "Cap'n Slappy is a git" on the mizzenmast and I'll be findin' out who it is and dealing with it in me own, life-affirming way. Now, whar did I put me leather apron.

Give the wenches a good grope fer me,

- Cap'n Slappy


And then, of course, the lawyers had to get into the act ...

The Quimby Papers

To: Mr. Captain Slappy
Re: Talk As a Pirate Would

Mr. Captain Slappy,

I am an experienced lawyer in the employ of a very large and successful Los Angeles firm. I take great pride in my ability to communicate clearly with all of our clients, regardless of their nationality and/or background. Recently there have been some difficulties in which several of our newer clients have exhibited a most unusual manner of speaking. Their dialogue has contained abundant colloquialisms and some of the most extraordinary guttural sounds and exclamations, the likes of which I have never heard. In particular, the query, “Are?” and the term “A Hoy!” are uttered frequently.

My younger colleagues inform me that this is in honor of an imminent holiday in which everyone is required to speak in the manner of a pirate. As a consequence, I have been summarily persuaded to examine your amusing web site. Despite the crude manners within, I considered it advantageous to acquire some familiarity with your linguistic methods. Thus, I have examined the basics of the dialect and believe I have become proficient. Therefore, in the interest of superior communication, I wish to address you in the manner to which you seem to best understand.

Are? And A Hoy Mate E. It are come to the attention of our firm that Mr. Captain Slappy, in association with the persons promoting the website of International Talk Like a Pirate Day (ITLAPD), be making false and deceptive claims that are or may be misleading citizens into concluding that the governing bodies of the world be endorsing a day in which citizens are required to talk as a pirate would. Extensive research has shown that neither the UnitedStates Government, nor the United Nations has formally endorsed your, uh, event. Neither are their citizens required to alter their speech patterns. Our firm be concerned that ye may be targeted by such national entities in the absence of any legal claim to the title of your holiday. We therefore strongly recommend that ye acquire appropriate legal aid at the soonest possible convenience.

Ye shall be receiving my first bill for services in the mail. Please consider this a gesture of friendship. I look forward to a long and profitable venture with you. Er, ye.

Very Sincerely Yours,

- Lawrence R. Quimby,
Attorney at Law
Law offices of Quimby, Queeg, Quisp & Sierra

Ahoy Mr. Lawrence R. Quimby, esquire, of the offices of Quimby, Queeg, Quisp & Sierra.

First, let me say how delighted I be at the thought of being represented by such a fine establishment such as yours. Contrary to most of the civilized world, I feel a kinship with those of the legal profession and have nothing but the utmost respect for the plunderin' ye do. I have had good fortune in me past forays into the halls of justice and, providing me own representation, have a 82% dismissal rate and all I have to do for that is to ascertain the whereabouts of the judge's domicile. I usually send meself a bill, but then, I do the same with that what I do with all me bills - use them as reading and wiping materials in the ship's head.

But things be more complicated these days and perhaps it is time that I look into procuring the services of a reputable law firm such as Quimby, Queeg, Quisp & Sierra. Sadly, gone are the days when an honest pirate can expect a positive outcome in the court by simply letting his fingers do the walkin' through the white pages or by beating a legal professional mercilessly with his fists and forehead.

As fer our holiday achieving Governmental Approval I only have this to say; If I had waited for the Queen's Navy to give me the Man O' War I now call The Festering Boil, I'd still be sailin' about in the harbor in me dinghy, Lil' Turd. I be a man o' action, lad. Violent, chaotic ACTION! And make no mistake, as much regard as I have for lawyers, I would not hesitate to beat one with me fists and forehead if they so much as failed to provide a proper notary public for me official documents which I will then take to the ships head and use for reading and wiping material.

I look forward to meeting ye, Mr. Lawrence R. Quimby, Attorney at Law, perhaps on me next visit to Los Angeles. Perhaps we could meet for grog and grub at Mad Sally's Swill Shoppe on Van Nuys - she's a good sport, that Mad Sally.

At any rate, send me yer bill. I'll know what to do with it!

- Cap'n Slappy


To: Mr. Captain Slappy
Re: File Preparation

Mr. Captain Slappy,

Are? And A Hoy, Mate E. I am pleased you have accepted my business proposal. And you will be pleased to learn that I have begun contemplating preparin’ the paperwork necessary to set in motion the actions required to pave the way toward considering the registration of International Talk Like a Pirate Day with the government of the city of Los Angeles. Actually, the initial registration will most likely be with the suburb of Van Nuys. As you are no doubt aware, it would not be in your best interest to submit applications with too many governing entities in the early phases of your, er, venture.

Please inform my secretary when you be in the area, and we can schedule a meeting. Mad Sally's Swill Shoppe on Van Nuys (is that the one near Oxnard St?) sounds like a very, er, colorful location in which to become acquainted. I shall have one of my subordinates speak with the proprietors and reserve a private room for the two of us upon your arrival.

My second bill for services rendered should be arriving within the week.

Yours,

- Lawrence R. Quimby, Attorney at Law
Law offices of Quimby, Queeg, Quisp & Sierra

Ahoy, Lawrence R. Quimby, Attorney at Law,

Well, this is VERY exciting. Never in me wildest dreams did I imagine a government body of the esteem and power of the Van Nuys suburb thingy would lend its awesome recognizory power to International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Unfortunately, I have it on good authority from me friend, Sandy "Cement Hands" McCormack that Mad Sally's Swill Shoppe on Van Nuys near Oxnard St. is now a "Krispy Krime's." She has opened a new establishment in North Hollywood called, Mad Sally's Blinding Spirits and Mystery Meat Market. Besides, Cement Hands says "NoHo" is The Melrose of the New Millennium. Arrr, and when yer subordinate approaches her, be careful not to startle her in any way, she is very unpredictable and always heavily armed.

I look forward to receiving your second bill. Your first one was wonderfully imaginative, a good read and very absorbent.

Yours for an Officially Recognized International Talk Like a Pirate Day,

- Cap'n Slappy


To: Mr. Captain Slappy
Re: Writ

Mr. Captain Slappy,

A vast ye old pirate you! I be thoroughly offended ye saw fit to erase my second public missage, which I had read earlier this morning but which is clearly absent from your web site this evening. I therefore have submitted a petition for a Writ of Mandamus with the Van Nuys Court of Law. Said petition demands ye re-instate my earlier letter onto your web site, pay me the monies which are now several hours past due with significant penalties for non-payment, and compensate me for severe emotional distress as well. I have also immediately halted all plans, contemplations, and considerations necessary to pave the way to legalize your ITLAP event.

This action saddens me, as I had considered us to be quite good friends ere now. I am currently negotiating the purchase of a rather elegant yacht, which shall permit me to swiftly and personally deliver the Writ to ye.

As always, I look forward to finally meeting you.

- Lawrence Quimby

Ahoy Lawrence the Lawyer!

Now, calm ye down and let me explain. Our own web-wench, Jezebel, works in mysterious ways and when she takes something off of our web site it is usually because she has given it to her cat, Mr. Hotflash, as a toy. I am sure that once she understands how snippy ye got that she will retrieve it from Mr. Hotflash, take the wrinkles out of it, tape up the claw marks and put it back in its rightful spot.

[The WebWench points out that Mr. Quimby's original and second missives remain right where they've always been, and urges Mr. Quimby to get one of his law clerks to show him how to operate the "scroll bar" on his Web browser. She further reminds Cap'n Slappy that Mr. Hotflash is a wee bit on the cranky side these days, and that the good Cap'n best not get sassy or he might find hisself wakin' up one o' these mornings with 15 pounds o'angry -- but no, the WebWench has better manners than that.]

Please keep sending me the bills, though, I find them very soothing. Does the paper contain aloe?

Yours for fiscal accountability and good hygiene,- Cap'n Slappy


Cap'n,

Despite having scanned the horizon from early morn 'til sunset I've seen no sign o' those four so-called wicked wanton trollopy chesty wenches o' yours.

I suspect they wasn't the roistering, a-rollicking good-time gals they claimed to be and was just using their womanly wiles to pull our plonkers for the fun of it. So I'm left standing 'ere in the crow's nest, clutching me telescope, forlorn, disenchanted, windblown and alone. Well, not quite alone, Daft Mick the ship's simpleton is up here too, keeping a lookout for sheep. News on the figurehead front is not good - poor old Don Ameche has finally dropped off, riddled, as he was, with rot worm, ring beetle and Danish slime wort. Luckily I discovered a brand new figurehead in the hold still in its original birthday wrapping paper so now I has an effigy of someone called Xavier Cugat (I had to look him up) staring out from me bows.

The previous owners of this ship had some funny tastes in popular culture.

It's a shame though - I was looking forward to standing proudly atop the only eight-bosomed prow in Christendom, instead of getting funny looks from other sailors. Such fine bosoms they would've been too - I woulda made 'em so, even if they wasn't really. Anyways, enough of this wood carving nonsense, I haven't run anyone through for a good three weeks now, so I'm off to Tortuga to start a fight!

Are ye with me lads?!!

Aye! AHHARRRGH!!

OK then.

ps. By the way, if ye be having trouble with that snivelling wastrel of a good-for-nothing lawyer dog, I has a fella - MUNGO who could deal with him. I keeps him chained up in the hold for his own good. But I could let him loose ashore if ye wants. His methods is simple but effective. We keeps him hungry for that very reason. There'd be nothing left of yer rascally, slack-a-muffin law-monger but a few gnawed bone fragments and his nice shiny shoes. Mungo loves shiny shoes he does. Remember - all it needs is a nod or a wink.

Yours, Bitter but not twisted.
- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart

The Scourge of the Seas,
Aharrr ahahaaa ahah
DOWN MUNGO!

Ahoy Sir Nigel!

Xavier Cugat!?! King of the "Rhumba!?!" Ah, ye don't know how lucky ye are to find a Xavier Cugat figurehead in pristine condition. Jezebel the Webwench is going to be so jealous! Well, she'll be disappointed that she missed out on the Don Ameche figurehead, but she has a horrible allergy to Danish slime wort and ring beetles give her the "jibber-jeebies."

And do not tolerate the mockery of other pirates due to the "unorthodox" nature of your figurehead, but rather than confronting them with a broadside cannonade, my I suggest employing your very own Rhumba orchestra (a "nine-piece" ought to suffice) and when the laughs of derision come wafting over the waves at ye, stand firm with yer feet apace, fists planted firmly on your waste, toss yer head back in a defiant laugh and yell, "Everybody Rhumba!" At this point, yer orchestra - which remains in a state of constant readiness, under threat of Mungo attack - will strike up a hot latin tune and yer own crew will drop what they are doing and dance like they've never danced before!

I defy any pirate - as cold hearted as he or she may be - to withstand the temptation to "Rhumba 'til ye drop!" Once they are exhausted, ye may board their ship and beat them soundly with yer fists and forehead until they either join ye or dance their next Rhumba in Davy Jones' locker. I know what ye be thinking, but this is a fool-proof plan and bound to work better than Mad Stanley McTool's "Macarena" plan.

I cannot explain the failure of the Chesty, Lusty, Foul-mouthed Wenches to show for their sitting. They seemed so eager and so willing and so in need of Sir Nigel's masterful touch - what could have happened? Perhaps they managed to work out the kinks in their "let's turn our building into a ship" plan. I know of only one cure for the disappointment ye must feel. "Everybody Rhumba!"

As for my newest ol' chum, Larry the Lawyer, let's hold Mungo back for now. If this guy turns out to be the next Perry Mason, he may come in handy. In the mean time, his bills are soft, absorbent and moisturizing.

Have fun storming Tortuga!

Yer Ol' Chum who's a failure at match-making,

- Cap'n Slappy


Now now now, Cap'n Slappy...Cap'n Nigel,

I were shocked, that's why I sent no reply at the first ... shocked and saddened by the contents of yer missives. To think you were planning on takin' advantage of such young, sweet, and inexperienced ladies as ourselves; it fair brought tears to me eyes. (Aye, well ... forget the lusty, foul-mouthed part, I'm tryin' fer a new tack, as it were. Just runnin' it up the mast and seein' if anyone salutes ...) Now that I've used my little lacy hankie to dry the corners o' my eyes, let's review the contents of our earlier proposition: You, Cap'n Slappy, broker a deal where we, the Wenches, pose for Cap'n Nigel's agile chisel in exchange for his assistance in commandeering us a ship.

(Now, you be notin' I used the word "ship." T'wasn't chosen by mistake, see? "Ship.")

And what be we offered in return?

Ah, we be offered the noble Sir Nigel's long BOAT.

Please take heed o' the difference: Ship. Boat. There be a subtle distinction between a TALL ship and a l-o-n-g boat, y'see. And it's not just in the spellin', although that's a dead giveaway. Ship. Not boat. Ship.

AND ME 'N' ME LADIES DIDN'T FALL OFF THE TOP O' THE MIZZEN YESTERDAY, NOW DID WE? WE DIDN'T CAULK OUR BUILDIN' W' WITE-OUT, GET OUR HANDS SLIPP'RY WITH PALM OLIVE, AND RESORT TO NEGOTIATIN' ONLY TO BE CAST ADRIFT IN A WEE LITTLE TUB SOMEWHERES IN THE CARIBBEAN!

(Ah now, gentlemen, you made me forget I tryin' for the sweet and inexperienced angle, and now look at what I said! And me comin' from a kind and gentle non-profit background, I'm shocked at what phraseology I've been driven to by ye rogues and scoundrels. Please excuse me while I compose meself...

Ah. There we go. Hair patted back. Cheeks pinched for that sweet glow. Now...as I was sayin' ...)

Aid in commandeering a ship. For that, we wenches be right proud to display our multitudinous assets on the deck o' the Scourge, right there where Sir Nigel and his tool can go to work. For that, we be content to leave them assets jutting dramatically forward from Cap'n Nigel's bowsprit.

And for that, we be happy to offer you, Cap'n Slappy, our brave and grizzled broker, 15% o' our first prize. In fact, our gratitude would be such that we'd ask ye to be godfather to at least ONE of our firstborns, for later entry into yer apprenticeship program aboard the Boil. Mother's Milk, we'd even be willing to throw in a little karoake aboard the Scourge for all o' that.

So, what say ye, gentlemen? Are ye willing to come to our aid, or no?

(Oh, and Cap'n Nigel, I'm right sorry about breakin' the news to ye about Ruby Keeler that way. T'were a dead awful shock, I warrant, and the image o' you, adrift in a sea of sorrows on the poop deck, is a piteous thought indeed. Mayhap a good brawl in Tortuga'll lift yer spirits.)

- Cracked Carrie,
Negotiatin' for all her Assets are Worth
Somewhere on the Shores of the South Sea

Ahoy Me Little Orchid of ComBUSTability,

Thar be one thing ye don't know about our Sir Nigel. Wheras most pirates are prone to the vice of exaggeration, Sir Nigel is one who succumbs all too often to "inaggeration." Fer instance, for those of us who have known Sir Nigel's family for some time, we know that they live on a palatial estate of 238 rooms on over a thousand acres in The Lake District. He, of course, refers to the ancestral home as "my little shotgun shack." So, when he says he'll acquire a boat for ye, he is talking of at least a three-masted schooner with all the trimmings and probably a crew of highly suggestionable, excruciatingly handsome, strong, young island men.

I feel sure that if ye showed up on his deck he would be ever the gallante' and mind his p's as well as his q's.

As for me small token of a broker's fee, ye know right well, I do this for the love, however, a Cap'n has a reputation to maintain. What ye offer is more than fair, but I would like to substitute the karaoke for a nice garden salad. (A horrible, freak karaoke accident in '98 left me without the use of me left ear-drum and the nightmares continue to haunt me.)

Be patient, me delicate flowers of womanhood. Ye will all be immortalized either in wood or in the stories his sailors make up about ye!

So, what say ye, Sir Nigel? Does this sound like a deal or does it just sound like Lucy wants Charlie Brown to take another run at kicking the football?

- Cap'n Slappy


In which our pal Larry Quimby is set straight ...

My Dear WebWench (may I call you Jezzie?),

[The Webwench replies: No.]

Thank you most graciously for those exquisite instructions in the manner of operating a “scroll bar.” I must confess, some of these highly technical gizmos are far beyond me. Perhaps you could come to my office and personally instruct me further? Unfortunately, my negotiations for the purchase of a fine new yacht have been unsuccessful so far, and I can not come to you at this time. I’d be happy to assist in any travel plans you need.

As for the good Cap’n, I suppose I should apologize. My hasty actions have nearly lost me a valuable client, er, friend. I shall have the court nullify the writ immediately (although you still owe me monies) and return to ruminating about the best way to support your mission. And send you several more bills, as you seem most appreciative of them.

Yours,

- Larry Quimby

Ahoy Larry,

Now ye've gone and done it. Ye had to call the WebWench "Jezzie" now didn't ye. Oh, sure, ye can get away with that from the safety of yer Los Angeles office which I am sure is well appointed as well as air conditioned and has a distinct "feng shui" to it. Oh, ye'll be spared the wrath of Tsunami Jezebel. Thanks a lot, counselor!

[The Webwench interjects: "Arrrrrrrrr..."]

But please, don't stop sending those bills.

- Cap'n Slappy


Cap'n,

I'm feelin' a little pallid and weak of knee this mornin'. Those four rollicking wenches of the apocolypse, Cracking Carrie and her pals, finally turned up yesterday to model for me new figurehead and the encounter has left me somewhat drained and weary. They arrived early morn, drunk as bishops but keen to get on with it and was out o' their frocks and cardigans and a-frolicking merrily about the decks like Spring lambs afore I could say "Cover yer eyes Salty wee Joe Macgillykelly ye pervy wretch".

I tried 'em out in a number o' different postures and locations - fore, then aft, up aloft but finally settled on athwartships. Then I was at it from morning 'til sundown, hour after hour, a-hammering, a-chiselling, a-banging and a-heaving until I thought me poor old bulwarks would give way. "She cannae take any more Cap'n!" the bosun 'Scotchie' McTavish cried out desperately from below, fearing no doubt for the ship's straining timbers, but, like a true Blackheart, I was determined to persevere and finish the job.

Eventually, after many backbreaking hours of sweat and toil, and all thoughts of Ruby Keeler cast from me mind, I finally rested me chisel, let the crew back on deck (I'd ordered 'em below in case of flying splinters) and both the ladies and meself lay back, cheeks aglow, and pronounced ourselves well satisfied with the day's work.

So now the lusty, busty wenches, immortalised in timber, stand proudly upon the bow, where they will spend the rest of eternity (or at least until they succumbs to rot worm) pointing pertly at the horizon. The finished work makes a fine objet d'art, even if I says so meself, not to mention bein' a good luck charm, conversation piece and will probably make a damned effective battering ram too, I'll wager.

I gave 'em a ship without a drop o' blood bein' spilt - its a neat little sloop I keeps anchored off Tobago - the Happy Haddock. It's a bit leaky and needs some new curtains but its still a good little runabout. What with them bein' new to the buccaneering game I also kitted 'em out in some thigh length sea boots, skin tight buckskin breeches and stressed the need to keep their frilly shirts gaping open piratically to the waist at all times if they wants to keep the respect o' the crew. And absolutley NO CARDIGANS. I also gave them a few basic tips on standing hands on hips, throwing their heads back and laughing piratically but they was pretty hopeless at that, bein' mere lubbers. But then we all has to start somewhere.

They was gone when I awoke this mornin', off to their new lives as Pirate Queens, but each had left me a lock of their hair as a token of their esteem - which I has already fed to the ships goat, the ungrateful harlots - what do they think I'm going to do with all that hair? Still, it was a good day's work by all.

The crew is now queueing up on the fo'csle, takin it in turns to rub me buxom new figurehead for luck, "LEAVE SOME VARNISH ON IT YE LASCIVIOUS VARMINTS!" They was never this with Xavier Cugat.

Yours, somewhat pale and wan,
- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart,

recuperating aboard The Scourge of the Seas,
Somebody bring me a restorative elixir.

Ahoy Sir Nigel!

I cannot tell ye how warm in the cockles of me heart it makes me to have had some small part in facilitatin' what I am sure was an adventure within and adventure wrapped, as it were, in adventure with wee bits o' adventure sprinkles on top. I'd have given me left ... no, make that me right arm to see them prancing about like little lambs, and not for the same reason Salty wee Joe Macgillykelly would want to see 'em - but because they represent the freeness of LIFE and what joy that brings to an old Salt such as meself. So, how soon do ye think they'll be deliverin' on that 15% they owe me - not to mention me godchild?

So, now we'll hope to hear of their adventures on their sloop of dreams. Well done, Sir Nigel, well done indeed!

And thanks for advisin' the lasses on Pirate Style. When they sail into harbor with their tight britches and blousy open shirts with sun-baked, heaving breasts, we'll all have ye to thank.

But what will become of Xavier Cugat?

- Cap'n Slappy


Dear Cap'n,

Well, me hearty, I can gladly report to ye, we've taken tree ships, laden with silk, rum, and a shipment of ladies' corsets which, I might add, make fine hammocks when slung correctly. But, Cap'n, something's troublin' me heart of late, however.

Roamin' the sea is a fine occupation te be sure, but in the back o' me mind, somethin's missin'. Somethin' only a lass can provide. I don't mean a wench; wenches I can find anytime. No, I refer to a lass I can call me own; one that'll make this old salt a "one lass man". It's been many a day since I went a courtin', Cap'n, and I don't know the waters, if ye can follow me.

Perhaps could ye send up some colors on my behalf for the fine young piratess lasses about these parts? I'd be obliged, te be sure. Make sure it's a lass who don't mind the fact I got a peg leg. (But fer special occasions, mind ye, I got an ivory one!)

Most Humbly, Cap'n, I Thankee,

- Captian Maximilian Danforth De LaFarce
Anchored Off St. Kitts, and making repairs to the bilges

Ahoy Captain Max!

Well, I tell ye, it makes Ol' Cap'n Slappy all soft in the eyes to see the young people feelin' the gooey-chested feelin's what leaves 'em all squishy on the inside. Ye be a fine pirate, Max, and the sea would be the poorer without ye but if the love of a fine lass be what ye need, well, who is Ol' Cap'n Slappy to stand in the way o' Cupid?

So, lasses, Captain Max is on the market! He be a good fellow and stout heart! And I think ye'll find that as pirates go, he has more than adequate personal hygiene. Have at 'im, me girls! But play nice - it's been a while for our Captain Max.

- Cap'n Slappy


Cap'n,

I thought I'd better bring ye up to date on how things has been going with meself. Well, I arrived in Tortuga a couple o' days ago with the crew all briefed for our ransacking of the town - Remember - its pillage first THEN burn to the ground. (Some of 'em still has to have it written down.) But then I finds the place full of old pals, in town for the annual Piratefest and Roistabout, which I'd completely forgotten about. So we was left feeling a little shame-faced.

I bumped into Cap'n Ugly-Mug McBall in the back room of the Weeping Wang - an oriental establishment I frequents in downtown Tortuga Town. He's always been a man with a dangerously short fuse and is prone to lash out wildly with his razor-sharp cutlass when he's peeved - as the scars and disfigurements on his crew bear witness to. Fortunately I discovered that Ugly-Mug is a lot less ill-tempered you call him by his given name - Walter and buy him a drink, so whilst he was in a good mood I managed to scrounge three new crew members from him: Paddy "Three fingers but can still play the fiddle" Muldoon, Sam "Scarface, half-an-ear, limps a bit" McCrumble and Jimmy "One Knacker" O' Reilly. All of 'em dead keen, if a little incapacitated

Cap'n Fancypants Diabolo was in town too and asked after you . He sends you a big wave and a hug and says Yoo Hoo by the way. I entrusted him with the task of delivering Xavier Cugat to you as I know you and your good lady wench have fondness for for the old rhumba meister. Although I has to say, rhumbaring is for jessies if you asks me - an unseemly dance for ruthless professional cutthroats and fit only for fancy-danglers, mimsy-prancers and dandy-waverers. Not that I is averse to cutting a caper - I often likes to indulge in a wild pirate dance of me own devising which involves a lot of riotous leaping about, shouting, breaking bottles and kicking over furniture. There's no partner involved, of course, as ladies will only tut and leave the room when it begins, but it's a grand way to fill that awkward couple of hours between having drunk the barrel dry and finally passing out face down in the street.

Me new eight breasted prow is causing quite a stir and is the talk of all the taverns and the establishments of sordid gratification. I'm told that I now holds the record for most bosoms on a prow and was awarded the prestigious Most Bosoms on a Prow Trophy in a touching quayside ceremony yesterday. Wresting it from the previous recipient - Cap'n Larry 'Sabre-toothed Tiger Teeth' Dunderdale who has The Three Degrees carved in a state of careless disrobement on his. Many o' the folks present recalled the dream of the late Cap'n Cosmo Strayhands to win the trophy. He commissioned a magnificent figurehead of the 'St Cuthberts Cathedral Ladies Chorus, startled whilst taking a skinny dip in a lake'. Unfortunately, once affixed, the weight of the 27 strong ensemble capsized his ship at the very first gust of wind with the loss of all hands, and bosoms. A lesson for all those who seek to combine over-reaching ambition with a taste for lechery and voyeurism.

Unfortunately, a lot of the captains here don't take the award very seriously and thinks they can win by getting a bunch o' the local wenches drunk and then perching 'em astride their bowsprit for a lark - bosoms, as it were, all akimbo. They doesn't twig that the bosoms in question has to be wood, not real, to win the trophy. Although why anyone would want a wooden pair when there's a fine selection o' real ones hanging around I don't know. But that's what the award is for and now it stands on a shelf in me cabin.

Funnily enough, me ship is now short of real ones after both not-so-dubious Joanne and the Governor of Jamaica's daughter jumped ship as we dropped anchor. The word is they were never very happy with the standards of hygiene or food presentation on board anyway. Poxy Pete claims they was a couple of Libyans but I don't reckon they've ever been near that part of the world.

- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart,
The Scourge of the Seas
Now with only wooden ones for company.

Ahoy Sir Nigel!

Much has happened o' late which I must get to updatin' ye on one of these weeks, however, let me begin by defending the Rhumba. Now, nobody respects yer skill as a critic of The Dance likes I do - make no mistake. When ye told the Dread Pirate Aristotle "Man-Breasts" Popadopolis that his "Zorba-style" Greek dancin' looked like, a huge man-cow shakin' off the biting flies from his huge man-udder and teats, I defended ye from the Greek Pirate Anti-defamation League and Gyro Sandwich Society. When ye told famed Russian ballet dancer-turned-pirate, Vladimir Pokofmi, that his dancin' reminded ye of a whoopsie-boy gazelle what's bein' givin' the Carthaginian Thumb by a REAL Carthaginian who can get the most out of his thumb, I bit the ear off a Russian assassin what was sent by the Bolshoi Mob to "whackski" ye.

But I tell ye, lad, when I dance the Rumba, tis a sight to behold! And when I yell, "EVERYBODY RHUMBA" and me hot latin nine-piece orchestra strikes up, thar be not a man-jack among the living what doesn't feel the beat and realize that resistance be futile! That said, I just want to point out that the Xavier Cugat is fer Jezebel - not fer me. I likes me figureheads with the woman breasts - not so much the man's.

Speaking of which, I want to congratulate ye on winning the prestigious, Most Bosoms on a Prow Trophy. Tis a coveted cup indeed. The closest I ever came to winning was with me third ship, The Sally Field, which featured the young, pert actress on the prow in full, "Flying Nun" regalia. I gots the "More Than A Mouthful" certificate on the wall o' me cabin to this day. By Gar! I miss Sister Batrille.

Oh, and if ye run into Cap'n Fancypants Diabolo again, knee him directly in the groinal region and remind him that "Cap'n Slappy is not a 'hugger.'" Then, buy him a rum toddy and offer me sincerest apologies.

Well, I'm off to an appointment in St. Kitts. Cementhands McCormack has a cousin who is building us a Cream Corn Cannon what fires cans of creamed corn at enemies we wish to annoy and not destroy.

Sorry to hear about yer Libyans. They are an illusive and beguiling lot.

Yours,

- Cap'n Slappy


Ohh Cap'n,

I'm a-laid up under the weather today - a-groaning and a-suffering in me sick-hammock. I think I must have picked up a little something in Tortuga the other day. I can barely even raise me poor head to sup from the grog barrel. The ship's sawbones says its a touch of the East Indies bilge fever, a highly contagious crab rash and, worst of all, as bad a case of The Phlange as he's ever witnessed. He didn't say what's caused it all but then he wouldn't would he? What with him bein' an unmitigated quack and complete charlatan. But he did warn me to lay off loose women, fast women, low women, all other sorts of women (though I rarely meets them sort anyway) and spicy oriental food. He says there's a bit of an epidemic of The Phlange going about so ye may want to warn ye pals. Of course, in the old days they used to issue a Phlange Warning at the first smell of it and torch every ship, sheep, house and lubber within a hundred leagues. Now they frowns upon that sort of thing and look what 'appens.

If ye knows of any remedies to make the noxious swellings go down - be they pharmacutical, pathological, old wives tales, conjurors spells or even ye dear old mother's own homemade potion specially made up in a bucket, I'd be grateful t' hear.

The sawbones says I has to warn everyone I has had close contact with over the last few weeks in case they goes down with it too:

So, let me see - thats: the four rollicking wenches o' the apocolypse, those two Lybians, the girls at Madame Fifi's House of Splendidness, the Barmaid at the Weeping Wang, the barmaid at the Perky Parrot, the barmaid and landlady at the Seven Seas, ..... possibly some other barmaids whose names and faces never really registered, the waitress at Sam Crookshanks Steak and Kidney Pie Emporium (and her friend) - no, wait that was just wishful thinkin', sundry dockside doxies, that funny-looking girl with the green eyes, and er...somebody's aunty, I think she was.

In the meantime, if the Phlange reaches ye, ye may want to place the following notice in a prominent place in yer neighbourhood:

WARNING - This is a Phlange infested area - No coughing, sneezing or handling of Phlange be-riddled extremities. Rubber Gloves must be worn (although strong leather gauntlets will do). And remember to wipe your feet afterwards.

Yours,
-
Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart,
Damn near belly up
The Scourge of the Seas
Moaning piteously ("ohhhh" - like that)

Ahoy Sir Nigel,

Me under-the-weather ol' chum. Sorry to hear about yer Phlange outbreak. It doesn't seem to have as great an effect on me probably due to the daily applications of weasel grease that Sawbones Burgess has had me on ever since I "broke out with the heebie jeebies" as he put it the last time we had The Phlange aboard The Festering Boil. My most disconcerting symptom these days is the itching and flaking and the occasional lump the size of a chamber pot.

I am sending ye a barrel or two of weasel grease along with Ol' Chumbucket's squid-eye stew. He swears it's good for what ails ye - even though a medical professional like Sawbones Burgess says thar be nothing that internal medicine can do that topical treatments of weasel grease can't do better. That'll teach me to have a bleedin' Dermatologist as me ship's Doctor.

Other than that, we're all fine on The Festering Boil. Cementhands McCormack has the vertigo, but what o' that? I likes to send him up the crows nest and watch the net team positioning themselves on deck beneath him at every wobble. It passes the time and keeps the lads alert.

Get well soon, me friend! And don't spare the weasel grease...thar be more whar that came from!

- Cap'n Slappy


Dear Mr. Captain Slappy,

Ahoy there, Mate E! I be truly a pirate now, I be! After many fruitless efforts to acquire a seaworthy yacht, I have given up and simply hoisted (“hist”?) ye olde Jolly Roger onto my fine black BMW. It be making quite a difference in attitudes, it do! E’en yesterday, I were glaring at some poor soul what wanted to sue a client of mine. But after one glance at the cutlass in me teeth, his demands were suddenly fair few.

Are!

(Darned blade hurt like the dickens, though! I may have to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. Hm. Something to think about for later.)

Wall, I contemplated a full week for ye, but decided that it be no use lobbying the representatives of Van Nuys on behalf of ITLAPD. It may come as a shock to ye, but there BE no House of Representatives in the fair city of Van Nuys. Drat it all. Still, I shall send you a fine final bill, totaling the entire billable hours for my efforts. In triplicate. Perhaps I shall renew my attempts for next year’s event. It takes a few months to grease the right palms, ye know.

As for that fellow Henry Crun of Whacklow, Futtle & Crun, ye have no worries. A mate o’ mine at the office happens to know that most classical gurglings and utterances originated, in fact, with a certain Mr. Samuel Clemens who apparently lived several years ago. It be true, too! He showed (“shew?”) me a book o’ his’n and there were some of the most incredible utterances in’t I ever did see! Ha’ ye ever read it? I think it be called Hummingberry Fin. Something like that.

And now I ha’ a question for ye. Does my piratical type language be shaping up goodly, or what? I really want to impress some wenches in the office downstairs.

Yours truly,
- Larry the Legal,
aka Lawrence R. Quimby of Quimby, Queeg, Quisp & Sierra

Ahoy Counselor!

By GAR! I am glad ye are on our side! I would hate to be that plagerisn' Henry Crun Clemens of Hummingberry Fin right now! Arrr! Just leave me alone with the lubber and I'll Hummingberry HIS Fin, I tell ye that straight!

As fer yer progress in the pirate talkin', ye know, farbeit from Ol' Cap'n Slappy to be "critical" but yer off to a slow start in gaining REAL "pirattitude" and "Pimpressing" the gals in the office downstairs. Perhaps ye should start with something a little closer to home but a tad wilder than yer' used to...like "Talk Like an Certified Public Accountant Day?"

In a couple of years, we'll let ye try "Talk Like a Junior Executive Day."

Cap'n,

I'm feelin' meself again today after me short illness, your weasel grease did the trick (although next time could you strain it all little more first - I was still pickin' lumps of pulverized weasel out o' me beard this mornin'). In fact, I was feelin' so chipper that last night that I was up and a-pirate-dancin' on deck to Paddy "Three fingers but can still play the fiddle" Muldoon's fiddle. Of course, I knew old Paddy back when he was still Patrick "the hugely talented young virtuoso concert violinist" Muldoon but he fell on hard times, took to the grog, found himself aboard a pirate vessel and .... well it's the old, old story. We've all been there. I coulda been a professional hitman, if I'd had the breaks.

However, whilst I've been a-recovering in me sick-hammock I've had a lot o' time to do some deep thinkin' and not a little worrying too. Mostly about yer upcoming speaking like us pirates do day. Me main concern is this: if ye teaches everyone our ways, even the lubbliest of lubbers, how are ye going to tell the real pirates, like you and me, from those who are only what we buccaneers calls 'dicking about' for the fun of it? Is it wise to go givin' away our secrets to people who might flip burgers for a livin'? or folks who sits slumped tip-tapping away at a personal computating engine all day, miles from the smell o' the ocean. Or people who couldn't tell a top mizzen aft stu'ns'l from a flying boom jib spanker and couldn't care less anyway?

And the other thing is, if this business spreads worldwide, as it shows every sign of doin' - until everyone, in every land, is speaking our lingo all the time, would it undermine society as we knows it? Might they start longing for the old life and the old ways? Would ye have to hold a special 'Talk Like They Did In the Real World' Day where folks would gather to remember what it was like in the 'before times', dress up in novelty clothing and swap such real life everyday phrases as:" Do you want fries with that?" "I'll have a double de-caff latte, but hold the mayo" " Please remove your hand from my knee immediately or I shall summon a constable."

Sorry to widdle on yer parade but its some dangerous seas ye be sailin' on. I hope ye know what a large can o' very wiggly worms ye be openin' - tippin' 'em out to slither and wriggle over the very foundations of what we all hold so dear. It'd be a helluva task getting 'em all back in the can once they's wiggled off - that's if you could even bear to pick 'em up.

Yours, bringin' some much needed sobriety to the proceedings. Your old mate,

- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart,
The Scourge of the Seas

ps. I noticed in one of yer previous missives that I was misquoted and ye advised a lady pirate to wear her pirate sea boots 'Just Below The Knee!!!!'. WHAT?!!! ARE YE COMPLETELY MAD SIR?!!!! HAVE YE BEEN AT THE GROG RATION? Why not tell her to put on a pair of dainty wee high heels to match her handbag. Any pirate worth his kippers knows a lady's sea boots must be Thigh Length. I'll write it again in big letters so ye remembers it and because I has a great fondness for the mental picture: THIGH LENGTH - all the way up to the lady's MID THIGH - at least. I just hope the poor girl hasn't already suffered the humiliation of bein' laughed off the poop deck. Fortunately if she's followed the advice about unbuttoning her blouse to the waist people might not have noticed.

Harumph

Ahoy Sir Nigel!

Glad to hear ye be back on yer feets again, lad! I sent ye the "extra pulp" weasel grease as it helps with digestion and promotes strong bones and teeth. Sure, it's chunky, but that's what's doin' ye the most good. I likes to think o' it as "Weaselriffic, Chunkalicious, Digestastic Goodness!" Just try not to look at it. And it was a right good instinct to get out and dance to Paddy "Three fingers but can still play the fiddle" Muldoon's musical stylings. Ol' Paddy's been delightin' and healin' pirates fer years. He's a good ol' bugger and no mistake.

As fer the spread of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, let me put yer worries to rest. Only a few, creative, intelligent and courageous folks will actually be "Talking Like Pirates" come September 19. The vast majority o' the planet has either not heard o' the day, or has decided we be crazy. But, I thinks what we be is "Crazy Like a Razor Clam." Ye see, with the sudden increase in pirate talk, the world's pirate hunters will be dashing hither and yon all befuddled-like. "They be o'er here! - No! Wait, they be o'er thar! No! - Wait!- Thar be too many o' them! Make a run fer it, lads!" And if they DO capture an accountant from Kansas City, what are they going to do with him? Ye see?

Some folks say, "Confusion to our enemies!" Cap'n Slappy makes confusion happen. Crazy Like a Razor Clam - that's yer ol' pal.

And it's not like they'll all go on account and take up the LIFE. It's like a recess from the unforgiving drudgery o' everyday life - and the kiddies love it. And ye know ol' Cap'n Slappy is all about tendin' to the young'ns.

And when the fuss has died down as fusses tend to do, it will still be ye, me and our merry little brotherhood (and sisterhood) o' the open sea. In the meantime, embrace the chaos ... don't let it embrace you!

Oh, and as always, I went and gave bad fashion advice out of turn. Fer that, I do heartily apologize. What were I thinkin'? Knee-high? Arrrr. My shame be pronounced. Once again, I defer to yer vision o' what the well-dress piratess will be wearin' this Fall.

How's the figurehead holdin' up?

As always, yer pal,

- Cap'n Slappy


Ahoy Cap'n, matey, me old pal, sir,

You asked after me old figurehead of the four busty beauties of the apocolypse - well it, or should I say they, are looking very fine and fulsome indeed and very popular with the crew they are too. In fact hardly an hour goes by without some crewman comin' to me cabin offering to polish or paint or apply some new preservative to the more prominant parts. Many lads are so dedicated they offers to polish 'em or rub in teak oil with their own bare hands. So now the sculpture is looking perkier, pointier and prouder than ever. I haven't seen a crew so contented since that little minx Goodtime Sally 'No pants' Tompkinson came aboard claimin' she had a world record to break. I regrets to report one casualty though - Hawkeyed Dan Carew is now One-Eyed Dan Carew after poking his eye out on one o' the pointy bits. I know there was a chill north-easterly blowing that day and I carved 'em accordingly, even adding a bit of artistic license, but it's his own fault for not takin' care.

Word of me wooden wenches must have reached some o' the oddest quarters too. For it was just yesterday, when I was a-steering West Nor West, with a fair wind behind me, minding me own business, as you do, when a small soft rubbery boat pulls alongside and a lot of angry, gesticulatin' lubbers in bobbly hats starts pointing at me figurehead and yelling 'This demeans wenches' and 'Wenches are people too' and demanding that I explain myself. One of 'em was even waving a placard with something anatomically implausible written on it. Not being a man to mince words I despatched 'em to the deep with a 24 pounder full of grapeshot. But watchin' 'em slowly drown and get picked off by sharks I began to regret me impulsiveness. What I should have done, of course, is explain to them that it's a legitimate work of art, carved by me own hand, portraying the glories of independent, fulfilled modern wenchhood, eyes affixed on the bright future over the horizon - who just happen to have their knockers out. And then I should've nailed 'em to the mainmast, dragged out their entrails and fed 'em to the ship's goat. I must be losin' me touch.

ps. After a very very long lunch of Port, Madeira, Rum and Gin, I've just tried me hand at composin' a little pirate ditty to express me feelin's of frustration and alienation with mainstream society and touching on the joys of disembowelment. Its me first attempt so I'd welcome yer esteemed opinion. Its sung to the well-known tune of 'Young Molly Nethershanks goes a-courting in the dell with her beau, Norbert, who's a shepherd boy':

Oh I love the jolly pirate life/
And the fun that it entails/
Like nailing lubbers to the mast /
And cutting out their entrails

Singing: kill kill kill kill/
But don't slip in the blood

There's them as thinks I'm soft ye know /
Or thinks I'm only jestin' /
But they always sees the way things are/
once I've pulled out their intestine. Ha ha haaa

Altogether now.... Singing: pull pull away me lads /
But don't slip in the blood

What do ye think, should I give up me day job?

- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart,
The Scourge of the Seas

Ahoy Sir Nigel, me ol' chum fer years!

Art critics are a dime a dozen and yer twenty-four pounder o' grape shot was nothin' more than a mercy killin'. But what was the meaning of their diatribe about "Demeaning Wenches" and "Wenches be People Too?" Don't they know and haven't they heard that nobody, but nobody on the seven or eight (I lost count a few years ago) seas love wenches more than Sir Nigel? Last I heard, ye were lovin' wenches to the tune o' three or four per night! (And that's not countin' Goodtime Sally 'No pants' Tompkinson!) Thar be no one what loves 'em with more frequency or liberality than ye, ol' salt!

Speakin' o tunes, I found yer first effort at song writin' to be very encouragin'! Why, ye could be the next Burt Bacharach o' the Boundin' Main! And for any man-jack wot doesn't know the tune to "Young Molly Nethershanks goes a-courting in the dell with her beau, Norbert, who's a shepherd boy" they can always go with the fall-back plan and sing it to the tune of "Oh, Susannah" (most songs can be sung to the tune of "Oh, Susannah.") Still, I'm not sure how much mass appeal our pirate-song writin' may have. I can only think of four or five current top forty tunes wot contain the phrase, "But don't slip in the blood." But who knows, ye could be the next break-through pirate artist to go gold...or e'en platinum!

So, music's gain would be piracy's loss ... and we would know what to do with the critics, now, wouldn't we? We could make it a "humanitarian" soundin' programme: "Guts for Goats!"

Yer Matey as Always,

- Cap'n Slappy


Ahoy, Cap'n Slappy,

I'm sorry we wenches've not been in touch with ye, nor our good friend Sir Nigel; we've been a bit striken with a case of East Indies Bilge Fever and a touch o' the Phlange: can't imagine where we got it from. I hear Sir Nigel's told ye all about the Great Figurehead Carvin' Extravaganza, and rumor has it he's made a splash (as t'were) with our visages and sundry parts jutting from the prow of the Scourge.

He's been a timely influence, has Sir Nigel, and we're right obliged to him. All of us wenches owe him for our decorous, yet exceedingly low-cut bodices, not to mention our tight-tight pants and thigh-high pirate boots. Why, he was even kind enough to encourage each o' his men to offer us a pinch on our posteriors as we left the ship (old custom, ye know, amongst pirates, for the givin' of luck before a voyage. Why, we'd not of known any of this without him!). Good old Nigel.

And as for them lubbers as say his figurehead demeans wenches what by displayin' our attributes for the world to see; nonsense, says I! Why, we'd've been demeaned far worse if he'd carved us still wearin' our matching cardigan sweater-sets. Now, THAT would've been demeaning, and no doubt! We had no idea sweater-sets t'weren't right for a proper pirating wench! Some of the roughest, toughest, chestiest and foul-mouthed girls in my school wore sweater-sets, and if they weren't pirate material, I don't know what was.

So now, in the midst of trying to figger out a proper name for the ship Sir Nigel so helpfully provided, the Wenches o' the Apocalypse are in a quandary of appalling proportions: What ELSE might we be wearin' or doin' that discredits our piratey wenchiness? Why, just the other day, at the tavern, the Weeping Wang, we wuz laughed at fer puttin' our napkins in our laps when we sat to table. And while we flew into battle w' our fists and foreheads, just like you said, we've now got the name "The Prissy Pollies" all 'round port.

Any advice fer yer strugglin' girls, here, afore we get to September 19th? This piratin' thing's dreadful on the learned-behavior front. Next you'll be tellin' us not to touch up our lipstick while at the wheel!

- Cracked Carrie
Tryin' to Live Down Her First Landfall
Strugglin' for Social Acceptance
Somewhere in the Caribbean (And I ain't sayin' where!)

Ahoy me Famously Fabulous Foursome of Fluffiness!

Sir Nigel had each o' his men pinch yer posteriors ... fer "luck" was it? <Pirate Chortle That Sir Nigel ... He'll NEVER steer ye wrong! Well, me doves, whatever 'bruisin' may have come o' that, it was all fer the arts.

Aye, we may have skipped a lesson or two in yer "pirotocols" but it's nothin' a pointer or two ... or three, from yer ol' patron o' the arts, Cap'n Slappy can't remedy.

At any rate, I've been missin' ye and hope that yer able to build up a more intimidatin' reputation.

With Dotage,

- Cap'n Slappy


Ahoy, Mr. Capt’n Slappy!

I should be quite annoyed with ye for lambastin’ the profession I chose to be associated wif. I should be firin’ off at least a half-dozen lawsuits accusin’ ye o’ slander and sich stuff. The poor sharks deserve no less. But now that I be piratin’ about in me black buggy o’ buccaneering (BMW wi’ a pirate flag) I gots a more sympathetic attitude towards ye and your kind. So I’ll let ye off wi’ a warnin: don’t be bad-mouthin’ lawyers or I’ll cut ye off from me fine supply of wipin’ papers – er, I mean leagal papers.

(Besides, ye got rid o’ some o’ me worst competition. More customers fer me!)

As fer Mr. Ralphie Barnie Burgie, let me clear things up a bit for ye. Thar be a world o’ difference between piratin’ and lawyerin’. A pirate’ll slap ye wif his heads & his fists if ye don’ give him some gold. A lawyer’ll slap ye wif his cases & his writs if ye don’ give him some gold. Got it?

Ahem. Now Mr Capt’n, when can I expect the gold what ye owe me fer services rendered? Ye can pay me in wenches if it’s easier...

Yours in Triplicate,
- Legal Larry

Ahoy Larry, me ol' paper-supplyin' mouthpiece!

We've got some gold fer ye on board...just swim out to the ship and we'll toss ye one o' Ol' Chumbucket's golden orbs. But don't let go ... it's the only one ye get!- Cap'n Slappy


Cap'n,

Glad t' hear that Cracked Carrie and her pals is all alive and well and takin' their first tentative steps in piracy - dipping their carefully manicured dainty little toes into the dark, shark-infested seas that be international buccaneering and wiggling 'em about a bit and squealing with delight before drying 'em on a soft fluffy warm towel, sighing and pulling their thigh length boots back on. Anyway, ahem, getting back to me point.

I was a-feared they was all drowned either by carelessly colliding with the continental landmass of the Americas or because the Happy Haddock has some serious structural weaknesses below the waterline and is a danger to human life, marine life and international shipping what with it bein' be-riddled with rot worm, slime wort, plague, phlange, ague and a particularly virulent sea borne venereal wart disease wot you can catch simply by sitting on a warm seat. Still, it was a freebie so what do they expect?

As for me, I'll shortly be anchoring off the coast of a place called Flor-i-da. We is going ashore for a spot of recuperation and to barter some trinkets with the locals. After all it's at least 4 weeks since we took a holiday. I've told the crew to be on their best behaviour and take heed of yer advice about drinks with umbrellas in them - everyone knows that partaking of these sorts of beverages can lead to acute bewilderment and debilitation of the extremities. Also I've told 'em they can have their way with the local womenfolk but only if the local womenfolk wants to have it away too and even then, only to have it away in a way the womenfolk wants to have it, not just any old ungodly way, even if they has been away at sea a long time with only goats for companionship. Apart from that they has free reign to do what they likes.

Excuse me now, but I has to go and smite One-eyed Dan Carew on the back of the head with a belaying pin. He's takin' the mick out of poor Jimmy 'One Knacker' O'Reilly who is unfortunately, (and I'm a-whispering behind me hand now) testicahuiarally challenged in the below decks department. He lost one in a bizarre baking accident some years ago but ever after he's carried it about with him in a small but authentically wrinkled leather pouch. Now he's lost it again to One-eyed Dan Carew in a blackjack game and Dan is currently struttin' around the decks with it in his empty sockett saying 'Oooh, look at me everybody. Do you like me new eye ball?' Some folks is so tasteless. He'll regret his tactlessness when he wakes up in the hold to find he's sharing a cell with Mungo the Mad Matelot.

As ever,
Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart,
The Scourge of the Seas

I think I'd better warn Jimmy, afore I whack Dan, so 'e can catch it.

ps. I'm thinking of trying out me new songwritin' talents using the 4 wenches as the inspiration for a romantic ballad - Ah, I can see 'em now - a-frolicking and besporting themselves on me bulwarks. I'm going to call it: Grab hold of this belayin' pin baby, I feels a good blow comin' on. Or maybe: Brace yerself wench, we're going round Cape Horn, or even: If I said you were a tasty wee minx would ye let me hoist me pennant on yer poop and run me 24 pounder through yer gunport.

Ahoy Me Blood Brother, Sir Nigel!

Thankee fer the new contribution to the list of lines that one might use in "Pirate Pick-uppetry." As a student of human behavior and social interactions, I have always admired yer way with the wenches. I remember the night that ye had five of the prettiest bar wenches in Bristol beating each other senseless with stools and tables just so they could be one of the three ye'd be entertaining that evening. Thanks to ye, I spent the night comforting the most horribly disfigured o' the lot. (Which despite havin' to stitch her nose back onto her face, was one of me best nights o' wenchery ever!)

Speaking of wenches ... it was nice to hear from Cracked Carrie and her gaggle of foul-mouthed, chesty, lusty wenches of the apocalypse. So, ye told them it was good luck to have the lads give 'em all a wee pinch on the bum as they left? Ye'll have to update ol' Slappy on any other traditions that may have passed me by in me decades of piracy.

Well, it's the busy time o' year fer me, ol' salt! Give one-eyed Dan a good whack fer me but make sure Jimmy has his catcher's mitt ready. (Ye can pick one of them up in Flo-ri-da!)

Back to me quill!

- Cap'n Slappy


Oh, Cap'n,

We four wenches be havin' a turrible time...just turrible. Becomin' a pirate is more complicated than we'd suspected. Still stinging from the "Prissy Polly" incident at the Weeping Wang, we skulked on back to the ship to take stock o' our situation: it couldn't hardly get no worse. At least we weren't in a ship made from a converted office buildin', but aside from that, we'd made a right mess of things.

For a start, Sasha, the new ship's cat, was seasick all over the deck (never buy a ship's cat from a man what has them tied inside his coat, stands on street corners whisperin'; "Pssst! Wanna buy a pussy?" and offers 'em cheap, no matter how cute they are).

We frittered away what lucre we had on wee pills o' Dramamine for her, Morning Breeze air-freshener for belowdecks, and little umbrella drinks for us. More went into matching plumed hats to go with the low-cut bodices, thigh-high boots, and tight-tight pants Sir Nigel had provided. Ah, the dangers of profligate spending--our holds were bare!

Victoria, our silver-haired devil, she come up with a brilliant appeal letter what we sent to the governor. I'll provide ye with a peek:

Dear Your Lordship:

These be hard economic times throughout the Caribbean. Many privateers, buccaneers, and pirates are having difficulty providing needed services throughout the Windward Passage and other key areas throughout the islands. This leaves hundreds, even thousands of merchant ships desperately overburdened with treasure, leading to excessive wear and tear on their holds. Several East India Company vessels have already been lost this year as hurricane winds and high waves sent them to their doom--hurricanes what might have been weathered, had not the ships been impacted with dreaded Full Hold Syndrome.

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

- Cracked Carrie

Ahoy Carrie me Darlin'!

Ye wenches have spent more time writin' grants than scuttlin' ships, haven't ye? So, here's what ye do, next. Buy a large barrel o' rum and put it in the boat. Take yer tub out to sea (find someone to watch yer pussy ... repeat ... do NOT take yer pussy with ye) and soak up the bow with kerosene. Wait till ye see a nice, modest-sized schooner or sloop with a smallish crew of smallish men aboard her. Set fire to yer boat and call fer help! (Make sure they are close enough to see AND hear ye!) When they arrive, beg them to "save the barrel! She contains the last of our belongings and we would be lost without her!" Once you and yer mates be on board the nice new ship with the nice smallish crew, we kick the plan into high gear.

Offer them the rum as a reward for being such "big, strong, sailor-boy heroes!" (And if I know ye likes I think I know ye, ye and the girls will drink these lightweight lads under the table ... after all, ye've been training on umbrella drinks and have built up a high resistance to rum.) Using yer womanly wiles get these lads to pass out in their own life-boat and lower them into the sea. If ye're feelin' charitable, ye can leave them with some food and water. Then, hoist the sails, set a course for adventure and check the holds to see what booty they've left ye.

That, me doves, be pirating! And for the love o' sweet sassy molassy, don't take no more pussies from strange men with trench coats! Ship's cat? Who told ye to get a ship's cat?

Arrrr! It's a good thing ye're cute, otherwise ...

- Cap'n Slappy


The Big Day arrives ...

Ahoy Cap'n,

I'm a-writin' to wish you all the best with ye speakin' as we do day, even though ye know I has me reservations about it's ramifications. I just hope ye'll remember yer old shipmates when the whole world is talking like pirates and you've been crowned the all powerful, high and mighty Pirate King and ye're sittin' in yer golden Pirate Palace surrounded by adoring handmaidens and cannons o' mass destruction and being all omniscient and such like. I hope ye'll still think of those of us who are down to their last 37 chests of gold and rubies and are still trying to make an honest living by plunder and butchery.

On the pretext of granting shore leave to attend one of yer events I shanghai'd a few selected ne'er-do-wells in me crew into a boat at the point of a cutlass. Call it a downsizing of me human resources or a clearing out of undesirables but all of 'em was surplus to requirements in such a closely confined ship. So I cast 'em off in an open boat, 300 miles off the coast of Costa Rica with a little water and a few biscuits. So we waved a hearty farewell to Flea-ridden Willy o'Dowd, Davy 'Wanderin' Hands' Pinkblouse, Dogbreath McSweatingham and that malodorous old good-for-nothing 'Thunderbritches' McCormack (cousin of old Cement-Hands, as I'm sure you know) - a broadside from his a-cursed, noxious nether regions can fell a man a 30 paces. He let a good one rip as he boarded the boat and I swear I saw fish floating to the surface. So if ye spots a small boat containing this wretched bunch of misbegotten bilge-rats all trying to eat each other, give 'em a wide berth. Or an introduction to several hundred pounds of hot iron, as ye see fit.

Me songwriting career has not been goin' as well as I'd hoped, so yesterday I heaved me pirate piano over the side in frustration, watching wistfully as it floated off in the wake, bobbing away with me musical ambitions. I'm goin' back to disembowelling and dismemberment as a hobby. Not one song have I got to show for all me long hours of plinking and plonking - just a few potential titles for some little love ditties:

And for the peg legs amongst us:

Ahhh, what a great collection o' songs it woulda been, if only I'd had the inspiration and talent.

By the way - if ye wanting to quote me song titles to woo the ladies please feel free. If it helps a lusty fellow matelot load and prime his cannon, thrust it boldly into a handy gunport, take careful aim and fire off his shot (if ye'll excuse me coy turn o' phrase) I'm glad t'be of service. (But steer clear o' the one about pistols in pockets - unless, of course, ye wants to give some flabby old slapper the old heave ho.)

Alternatively, I had an idea of maybe printing the above titles on some sort of label which I could affix, possibly by means of an adhesive substance, to the stern o' me vessel by way of givin' the odd chortle to other seafarers. Plus they might find them useful when it comes to 'matters of the heart'. I'll have to think about that one.

I has to go now as the weathers turning and I feels a good blow comin' on and I'm not talking about 'Thunderbritches' McCormack's posteriory expulsions.

A big AhaaaARRRGGH to one and all. Its a yo ho ho and a pirate life fer me.

- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart,
The Scourge of the Seas.

ps. Cap'n, on second thoughts, if ye sees a old piano floatin' past, haul it aboard would ye, I wouldn't mind it back.

Ahoy Sir Nigel!

I only have a few minutes with which to give ye answer. The lads and lasses aboard "The Festering Boil" have locked me in me cabin with nought but this pencil, some paper and me collection of "exotic" French postcards. They be callin' this no mutiny, but a "time out." They know when they pull the nails out o' the door thar will be a pummelin' o' epic proportions, but they say it be worth it as I have become "big headed" and not in the good way. So, they be bringin' ol Cap'n Slappy down a notch, but they best let me out o' here before the BBC calls fer the interview!

I told Cementhands about his cousin and he said, "Good on Sir Nigel! The wee brat'll learn a lesson and perhaps do somethin' about his diet!"

When I told the lads that ye had given up writin' the music, Sawbones Burgess wept like a little girl. Even Ol' Chumbucket was seen wipin' his eyes. So, the lads got together and built ye a new piano out of spare wooden legs and grog barrels. And every man jack o' them donated a tooth fer the keys. (We didn't even have to color the black ones...our oral hygiene is not the best). So, thar be a piano waitin' fer ye aboard the Festering Boil.

Well, I hear them pullin' nails, I need to stretch out before I begin the pummelin' with me fists and forehead.

Don't give up the music, Sir Nigel. Do it fer the lads and lasses. Do it fer the world!

And have a Lusty Talk Like We Always Talk Day

- Cap'n Slappy


Cap'n,

Well, I thought these here bones would settle down wi' a woman, ye remember, but it seem all they cares about is sinkin' hooks in ye and ne'er lettin' go. She, a sultry wench by the name of Annie "The Siren" Bonafonte (she almost wrecked me on the rocks), tried to get this seaman to open a pub in Port Royal and set anchor in the prime years o' me life! But I broke her spell, by thunder, broke me crew out of prison (they'd been there since they'd dressed up a donkey as His Majesty's liason, and sent him to the Governor's mansion for supper. The old clod's wife recognized him, though, from one of those "establishments" in the Spanish quarter, and the ruse was up), and got "The Clapp" out of impoundment. Being today September 19th, the most piratical of all days, me crew took a breather from scrapin' barnacles, and have been debauching all day. I hope ye are havin' a fine day, ye old salt.

Most Humbly, I thankee,

Reeinstated
- Captain Maximilian Danforth De LaFarce, Esq.
Drinking and Carousing off St. Kitts

Thankee Max!

Good to hear from ye, lad! This bein' "the day after" fer me, I'm recoverin' nice as ye please in me cabin and answerin a stack o' letters a fathom and a half deep! Stay free live free, lad! And give the boys a good clap o' the back from ol' Cap'n Slappy!

- Cap'n Slappy


Cap'n, old pal,

Thanks fer yer gift of a homemade piano, ye have no idea how touched I am. Yet, even for a rough, tough pirate like myself, who has large coarse, gnarled hands, a scarred, stubbly chin, a stomach of iron and fears no man nor beast, I must confess to bein' little queasy about playing on keys made from ye crew's teeth. I'm a-sittin' here both repelled and perplexed - having never had to floss a piano before. I suppose once I gets used to the keys bein' yellow and brown rather than black and white, I'll be fine. And, not that I'm ungrateful, but yer E flat is terrible sharp and what are the green keys for again?

Anyway, as a consequence, me an' Paddy "Three fingers but can still play the fiddle" Muldoon' has now entered into a musical partnership, entertaining the crew with jigs, hornpipes, reels and a modern re-working of the classic 'Young Molly Nethershanks goes a-courting in the dell with her beau, Norbert, who's a shepherd boy' - which we has transformed into a filthy, rollicking pirate shanty - telling how young Molly is consistently taken advantage of as she encounters a handsome but dull prince, a wicked and lustful east European countess, the crew of HMS Viagrathon on shore leave, a wily and cunning donkey and a frog.

I also composed a little ditty as a thank you to you and yer gummy crew, based, as all the best songs are, on me own personal exploits. Its a touching tale of passion, lost love, regret, the sudden and unpredictable motions of the sea and an ultimate re-kindling of the romantic flame. The tune goes da dee daa de da da daaa de dum - if ye wants to join in.

Its called - Akimbo Blues.

Ahem,

Oh my baby's gone an left me - she's done gone slipped over the side, /
Yeah my baby's gone an left me - while I was takin' her for a ride, /
We was planning to sail this ship all night, /
But now she's been swept away with the tide.

I was standin' abaft you baby, and for a moment I closed my eyes,/
But you wasn't holding on to the bulwarks babe, oh no - I should've realised, /
I could've lashed you to the rails first, I suppose, /
Though some says that's very uncivilised.

Now you're bobbin' and wavin' and yellin', that you wanna come back to me,/
Now you're bobbin' and wavin'' and tellin', how much you're missin' me,/
But I can't turn this ship around baby,/
Cos we're sailin' three points to the wind, in a choppy to quite heavy sea.

Oh don't ye worry 'bout me baby - though I'm feelin' sad and blue,/
No don't ye worry baby - I'm gonna finish what I set out to do,/
Cos I've found another sweet lady aboard, /
And she's gonna take the place of you.

Ye'll be pleased to know I'm already in deep negotiations with a recording company executive about this song. Although, when I says 'negotiations' I means this smart young fella is currently lashed across the barrel of a 24 pounder, a cutlass at his throat, getting some very unwelcome attention form the ships goat.

Yours, always keen to make a little money on the side,

- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart,
The Scourge of the Seas.

ps. in case ye were worried, or just wondering, the lady in question, what fell in the sea, was washed up, very peeved, on the shores of Nova Scotia three days after the event, where she vowed to have nothing more to do with menfolk and entered a nunnery.

Ahoy me good friend, Sir Nigel!

Ye meet the most sensible o' wenches! She's better off doin' "nunnin' " than trapsin' about with the likes o' us.

How are negotiations with the record producer going? Has he made an honest goat o' Lucifer the Goat yet? Or is it still Lucifer? Ye go through goats like Sammy "Firecrotch" Dunwitty goes through trousers!

At any rate, I played yer little tune what goes "da dee daa de da da daaa de dum" fer Cementhands McCormack and sang him the song. He was a caperin' like a little dancin' monkey what had gotten into the rum and found himself on stage in front o' a live audience of rare leopard-yak dance critic on "Monkey Dance Freedom Day!" Usually, Cementhands reserves his dancin' fer Sundays, but he made himself (and all of us) an exception!

Little did we know that tomorrow be his birthday! None of us knew, except ol' Doc Burgess who made him a fine table out of various sawed off body parts. We all suggested that next time, they mummify the pieces as to avoid an on the spot chorus of vomit. McCormack was deeply touched, though, and gave Doc his collection of sea shells that look like former members of "Up With People."

So all is returning to normal aboard The Festering Boil. I suspect we shall be hearing from our "Cracked Carrie" again shortly. She and the other three wenches of the Apocalypse are off to a slow, but classy start.

Give my best to yer goat, whatever its name may be.

- Cap'n Slappy


Ahoy me no-nonsense yet avuncular Cap'n!

Well, me'n the Wenches followed yer advice and scrapped the whole "donation appeal letter" concept and went to sea. The Gov'nor never responded to the letter anyways, so it was likely for the best. There's just no civic responsibility in gover'ment anymore, and that's a fact.

So, out we went to seek our fortunes! I tell ye, there was fine pickin's. Why, this near yer Talk Like a You Know What day, the watery environs were fair choked with ships, boats, jet-skis ... converted Volkswagen Beetles kept afloat with stoppered up plastic milk jugs ... t'was a sight to see! (We even espied a ship what looked suspiciously like the Scourge O' The Seas, only she had a great muckin' hand-lettered sign danglin' off her arse like a dingleberry, readin' "Drink me under the table, love, and lick me tankard dry." Sadly, she was a fair distance ahead and we never saw if her prow was graced with an eight-breasted figurehead, so we'll never know if that was Our Friend and Benefactor.)

Anyways, we found our mark -- a wee ketch lookin' lonely-like apart from the crowd -- so we ran Vicious Vicki's pink cardigan and a pair o' bloomers up the mast, then raised such a wailin' and lamentation as was never heard this side o' perdition. When the ketch came to our rescue, we got so excited we skipped the luring 'em with rum part and tied a line to the ship's cat. A few whirls around me head and we flung Sasha at the ketch's riggin'.

As a sailor, she was a failure, what with her delicate stomach, but what a grapplin' iron she became! (It was to the misfortune of the ketch's first mate that she landed on his face. I need to work on me aim. Still, it did the trick. She was so indignant at havin' her tail tugged loose she made short work o' the ketch's crew. Why, we hardly had to do more'n stand by and watch, then load the survivors into a boat with Neosporin, Band-Aids and rum!)

Apart from leavin' the crew with an in-kind donation receipt what for their tax records, methinks we did well at our first attempt at piratin'. And it was none too soon, too. Sir Nigel's ship went straight to the bottom not ten minutes after we took the ketch. Sir Nigel needs to work on quality control, he does.

Still, we're grateful to him, and to you, Cap'n.

Now we just need to resolve a little dispute amongst the crew: Cap'n, do a set o' bloomers and a pink cardigan suffice as a flag what will strike terror into the hearts of hardened sailors? Inquiring wenches want to know ...

- Cracked Carrie and Crew (and Stumpy Sasha, ship's cat),
Celebrating Aboard an As-Yet Unnamed Ketch Somewhere in the Caribbean

Ahoy Cracked Carrie and the Wenches o' the Apocalypse!

First things first. Normally, I would chide a pirate - any pirate - fer flyin' bloomers whar a jolly roger should be. (But what better place for a "jolly roger" than in yer bloomers, eh? - ba da bing!)

But seriously, if ye keep up those kinds of relentless Cattacks on enemy vessels, ye could fly a "Tickle me Elmo" doll and strike fear into the hearts of man and beast. Well done, me wenches o' the apocalypse. The neosporin and bandages were a nice touch.

As fer yer ship's name, I do have a suggestion in honor o' the hero o' yer first naval conflict. I'm thinkin ye need a name which show's the world yer "can do" attitude! So hows about we calls yer new ship, "Sasha's Ketch Can!" I likes the ring to it. What do ye think?

- Cap'n Slappy


Oy Cap'n,

Ye seemed to takin' a curiously unsavoury interest in me ship's goat in yer last missive - 'Oooh, whats his name' Whats his star sign?' 'Does he like Chinese food' ' Is he cute?' (tho' I may be readin' between the lines here). But have ye been too long at sea maybe? Too many endless lonely nights locked in yer cabin? I suggests a long weekend at Madame Le Chough's House of Disreputableness in downtown Port Royal - that should straighten up yer rudder, clear the custard and put ye back steering a true course. Just mention me name and, if they don't hurl ye straight back into the street, they'll provide ye with enough hoggins and a-ruttings and a-swagglings to last a lifetime. If that doesn't do the trick, I'll rent ye the goat at 3 gold sovereigns an hour, no questions asked and call him whatever ye damn well pleases. But I'll warn ye - that goat don't stand fer no time wasters and he's a damned stubborn old thing when riled.

And speakin' of stubborn old things, the stubbornist man I ever knew was Stumpy McGuire - ship's bilge hand - who would have no truck with artificial limbs. "Wooden legs is fer wimps!" he used to say - he wouldn't entertain the wearing of 'em, "Ye bunch o' fancy nancy mimsy-prancers with yer hoity toity mahogany extremities" he'd quip. "And Hooks?! Hooks?! Don't talk to me about hooks!. Hooks is fer poofs."

Old Stumpy was a tough old boot but mad with it. He's long dead now, having been trodden on by a rampaging pachyderm when we was in Bombay. Squashed flat he was. As he was a-hoppin' there in the street, singin'. Served him right too, drunken old sod.

Of course, if ye wants to know about madmen, the maddest man I ever knew, in both senses of the word, was Bonkers O'Toole who once got so infuriated that he tried to chop off his own hands with a cutlass. But of course, he only got really, REALLY, STUPIFYINGLY, BLOOD-SPITTINGLY angry when he realised he could only chop off the one. Folks like that gives bucca neers a bad name.

But anyway, I'm rambling, I think I must be gettin' old. But then again aren't I wearin' me brand new 'I got a damn good swaggling-to at Madame Le Chough's House of Disreputableness' T-shirt which I won fer residing there the whole week. (But then they chucked me out fer gratuitous debauchery.) So maybe there's life in the old dog yet. Though I best not take the dog with me next time, hur hur.

Yours, lounging abaft the mizzen mast, spittin' out pips from a yam,

Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart,
The Scourge of the Seas.
27"08'N, 43"29'W or thereabouts.

Ahoy Sir Nigel!

Perhaps ye be right. Perhaps I have been locked in me cabin too, long. It may be time for a visit to Madame Le Chough's House of Disreputableness for a bit o' the slap, tickle and puddin' wrasslin'!

And ye be right about yer name bein' a mixed bag. Why, I could go from pub to pub in San Juan, mention yer name and be as likely welcome with open arms as asked to pay yer tab! One rascal, a spindly little fellar with bright red hair and a tattoo of a jellyfish on his left cheek tried to open me brisket with short bone-handled knife he kept under his skirt, Aye, ye heard me right, his "SKIRT!" Fortunately fer me, his friend played an octopus-looking bag o' pipes before the sneak attack that alerted me to the danger. I caught him, mid-leap, with me devastatin' right hook - literally - and dropped him like a sack o' beans. Then, I proceeded to pummel his piper mercilessly with me fists and forehead. I tried to ask him what his grievance against ye might be, but his jaw was just danglin' from his face by a piece o gristle, so he wasn't sayin'.

As fer me curiosity about yer goat, I was just bein' polite and all. No need to cast aspersions, Sir Nigel, besides, Kevin the Goat would not take to findin' out that thar be other goats about. But he be workin' on these bouts o' insecurity in therapy.

Well, we be pullin' into port and Madame Le Chough's House of Disreputableness awaits. I hope Peg Leg Meg be on the clock!

- Cap'n Slappy


Just a quick missive from Cracked Carrie an' her crew...

Rumor's gone round St. Kitts that yer mum's been lookin' fer you, and there be some sniggerin' in the taverns bout yer given name. Is it true, Cap'n? Is our lodestone, our compass, our guidin' North Star the bearer of a handle like "Myron"? Oh, Cap'n, if that be the case, I worry for ye. With a name like that, ye may be sufferin' from what the folks in the counseling biz call "displaced anger" (otherwise known as "Pirates What Have a Silly Given Name and Are in a Raging Kerfluffle About it" Syndrome) and it's that what causes you to go a-piratin' and a-pillagin'.

But there's hope! First, ye needs to decide if ye be sufferin' from Raging Kerfluffle Syndrome:

If so, here be some tips fer overcomin' yer given-name inspired anger:

  1. Learn to express yer feelings in appropriate ways. Instead of ragin and beatin' on folk, try an "I feel" message what communicates yer emotions and needs in a simple, direct, and non-confrontational manner. Here's an example: "Listen now, ole Cementhands...when you make fun o' me name, I feel a twitchin' in me sword arm and me hook. I need you apologize nicely for hurtin' me feelings, or I will fly at ye with me fists and forehead, then slit ye from weasand ta gizzard and make a mucky great mess on the deck." There, now don't ye feel better already?
  2. Think before you act. Emotions can be powerful. But before you get carried away and say or do something you might regret, consider the possible positive and negative consequences. Sure, slittin' his weasand feels good! But what happens if ye do it to everyone ye meet, eh? I'll tell ye what - ye'll end up with a deck so slippery w'blood an' guts yer crew could holystone it day and night and never make no progress. Why, a man could turn an ankle in a mess like that! Additionally, ye can develop dreaded "Cutlass Tunnel" syndrome in the hand what wields yer blade, not to mention the wear and tear on yer fists and forehead! Instead of choosing the path o' physical violence first off, take a deep breath and ask yerself, "How angry am I, really, on a scale of 1 to 10?" Maybe stern words, a time out, or a good keelhauling would do the trick just as well.
  3. Strive for balance in your life. Don't obsess about problems at work, at sea, or in the tavern. Focus on positive. Make time for things you enjoy. Oh. Wait. Yer a pirate. On second thought, mebbe you need to focus LESS on the things ye enjoy, as it's those things what are leadin' ye to develop a fatal case of inertial poisoning at the end of a gallows crossbeam. Focus on things ye hate, like dental hygiene, letters to yer mum, an' Barry Manilow Greatest Hits CDs.
  4. Take care of your physical health. Physical and mental health are 2 sides of the same doubloon. Take care of your body by exercising regularly, eating healthy meals and getting enough sleep. Don't abuse drugs or alcohol, and ...

Oh, who am I foolin'? No pirate'll follow that advice. Go on back to drinkin' and pillagin'.

Anyway, Cap'n, just remember, we all have issues. Now ye've got tools to deal with 'em in a positive an' constructive manner. (And Myron ain't sich a bad name, after all.)

- Cracked Carrie,
Prepared to Listen with Unconditional Positive Regard and Feelin' Somewhat New Agey
in her tentatively named Ketch as Ketch Can...

Ahoy Cracked Carrie me Darlin'!

First things first! Ye don't be needin' to talk me into me Happy Place, Love. Cap'n Slappy wrote the book on Raging Kerfluffle Syndrome (RKS) when ye were naught but a flighty wisp o' a girl tyin' up boys with good hemp and rippin' their eyebrows out with yer tweezers. When Cap'n Slappy explodes in a violent episode of rage and mayhem, it is always proactive and designed to modify the behavior of an individual or group. A man of Cap'n Slappy's stature cannot afford to let his volcanic eruptions get all "nimbly bimbly" with hap-hazzardity.

And before ye go pointin' out that "Denial" is not just a river in Egypt, let me clarify that Mum's not been well in recent years and much of what I do in her regards is simply appeasement toward assuaging her delusional process. I could argue with her, but that would seem cruel as she would simply start referrin' to me as "Binky" which was the name of her favorite house maid back when she still lived on the family estate near Calais. And, to clear up a point of confusion, Myron was the dog's name. Still, I don't cause a fuss as it is a waste of precious moments in her frail dotage.

However, yer anger-management techniques are fine as they are and may be of use to a pirate who has not developed the Zen-like skills which have made me the man I am today.

Oh, by the way, Ms. Freud, I have a new name fer yer ship. How's about "The Vienna Couch!?" And yer ship's motto could be, "Recline, Reflect, Rejuvenate and Pay the Cashier."

What think ye?

A man who knows his "Feelin' Word Vocabulary,"

- Cap'n Slappy


Ahoy Cap'n,

Ye know, folks often asks me about me background - Where was ye born? they asks. How many men have ye slaughtered? Where be yer ship anchored? Where's the treasure buried? - that sort of thing.

Often these folks are officers of the law what have strapped me to an instrument of torture to aid their investigations but so far I've remained resolutely silent on the subject and have either made good my escape or bludgeoned the inquisitive rascals to death for their impertinence.

But maybe it is time for a little reflection and a settin' down of me pirate memoirs for posterity's sake - perhaps as a warning to others, perhaps as a useful guide to the pirate life, or perhaps just to entertain those snooping lowlifes what likes to pick over the grisly and sordid details of other folks business.

Well, my story begins at the tender age of 3 when I was sent to the St Oliphaunt's Academy For The Cherished Offspring Of Cultivated Gentlefolk -set in the beautiful rolling countryside of deepest Sussex.

Sadly, despite the tender ministrations of the kindly headmistress Mrs Applecheeks, my time there was not a happy one and I was soon expelled for refusing to drink me mug of bedtime cocoa.

From then on, as ye can imagine, it was an inevitable downward spiral into piracy. I cut off me ringlets, stole a pig and ran away to sea. Of course I wasn't really runnin' away as I come from a long line o' pirates and all me relatives was either already on the sea, at the bottom of it or at least within a whore's bed's distance of it. Why they sent me to that fancy nancy Academy instead of to Tobias Bloodwhip's Correctional Institute For The Unwanted And Almost Certainly Illegitimate Fruit Of Dastardly Pirate Loins I'll never know. Perhaps they wanted an honest upright citizen in the family for a change but me genes and me fateful dislike of cocoa said otherwise. Either way, that was the end of me edjication.

Anyway after that ... well now I come to think of it, after that its all a bit of a blur really ... Things get a little vague. I remember lots of blood and guts, death, disfigurement, dismemberment, grog, much wenching, much roistering, long voyages, cannon fire - bang bang bang, yes plenty of that - and then lots more grog and wenching - I has a dim recollection of a youthful drunken escapade involving three slatterns and a large cod but I'm hazy on the details. And that's pretty much all I can recall - not much of a memoir, I admit. That'll be down to the grog and too many knocks on the head, I'll wager.

Although - I just remembered - as a youth, I played the honky-tonk piano for a while in a 24 hour dockside pox house run by a Mrs Molly Legge. "Legge's - We Never Close" was inscribed above the door. That taught me much of the ways of the world, some handy pox remedies, how to avoid flying daggers whilst playing a twelve bar pirate blues with a drunken doxy on me lap. All of which stood me in good stead fer me subsequent life of degradation and defilement. So there ye go - me memoirs, such as they are. Oh ... and ... er ... I once had a dog called Horace.

- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart,
The Scourge of the Seas.

ps. Me ship's goat ain't called Kevin, he don't have no name at all. I don't know where ye got that impression but we best not go down that road again. Plus, ye should know, its only fair to tell ye, I've now sent him away to the hills to live with a distant aunt - for his own well bein'. And a long, long way away it is too. Too far for anyone who had a mind to go lookin' for him.

pps. watch out fer that Cracked Carrie and her women's ways - heedin' her advice'll only make ye go all soft an' mushy an' touchy-feely and like as not, it'll debilitate yer piratical effectiveness. And don't ye go getting' in touch with yer "feelin's". The only feelin' a pirate needs is the great sense of well-bein' ye gets when ye cleft someone's head in twain with a boarding axe. Which I is now off to practice by the way. Only on melons though, I'm not a complete barbarian.

Ahoy Sir Nigel!

So much has been written about yer past and yer exploits that it is good to have the record set as straight as one of them fashion experts on the Television Machine what's been tellin' other blokes to "wench up" their fancy dress.

I actually read most of that in yer cousin Horace's exposé about yer upbringin' called, Sassy Sir Nigel: His Mumsy Wanted Him to Become a Member of the House of Lords, But Fate Set Another Course, in which he not only kisses and tells about family matters but blows the lid off of England's Hot Bedtime Drink Industry. It's a scathing indictment of greed, ambition and allergic reactions. And it's me understanding that Universal Pictures has purchased the rights to the story and have slated Keanu Reeves to play you in the film. (One of the seemingly endless trail of Culkin children will be playin' the young Sir Nigel.) [*This movie is not yet rated.]

So, whatever is spotty in yer memory will surely be cleared up by your dear cousin Horace who says he was more like and fatherly uncle to ye in yer formative years. It must have been nice growin' up with such a lovin' family and all.

Well, I am off to do some pummelin' as well as some roisterin' as the lads caught me readin' not only yer cousin's book but Cracked Carrie's latest self-help tome, You, Your Inner Pirate and You: Embracin' the Buccaneer Within, in which she points out that the biggest enemy of your success is ... you.

It's a page turner, but now I have some serious piratical endeavors to undertake in order to regain my hold on both the fear-inducing domination that has made me the man I am today.

Don't ye worry, Sir Nigel, I was only "Mental Health Curious."

- Cap'n Slappy


Ahoy, Cap'n,

I'm right sorry to've steered ye wrong, but me book, You, Your Inner Pirate and You: Embracin' the Buccaneer Within was really only meant fer pirates o' the female persuasion. Ye see, the "inner buccaneer" it was referrin' to is actually ... and by embracin' I meant .... Oh, never mind. I just won't go there.

- Cracked Carrie
Passing Up on Some Truly Tasteless Humor Whilst Contemplatin' the Underside O' Me Fingernails and Whistlin'

[Note: A photo o' Cracked Carrie in the flesh can now be seen in our Rogues' Gallery. -- The WebWench]

Ahoy Cracked Carrie!

I ... uh ... well ... I .. .KNEW THAT! Aye! That's it! I KNEW that it was a little somethin' fer the wenches! I was just seein' if Sir Nigel KNEW that, too! For ye know, Ol' Cap'n Slappy wouldn't pass on the enemy's battle plans, now, would he? Nay! He would STUDY 'em! And THAT's what I was doin' with that blasted book o' yers! (Well written though it may be!)

Ye thought ye could have a little laugh at ol' Cap'n Slappy's expense, did ye, Missy? Well ... I seem to have come out of this on the sly side on account o' me advanced years, strategic literary mianderin' and me willingness to get in touch with the woman inside me!

And now, it's time fer me to go about me roisterin' as I have my own gift to share which I also call "A Little Somethin' fer the Wenches!" (And don't be obsessin' on me callin' it "Little" for by GAR, I have seen smaller whales!)

Now, if ye'll excuse me, Oprah's on line one.

- Cap'n Slappy


Cap'n Slappy, Me boy, me boy!

Ye've been seriously hornswoggled by me own lovely, lusty, chesty, foul-mouthed daughter, Cracked Carrie. She passed off a photo from a long-past Talk Like Rudolph Valentino Day, somethin' her dim-witted therapist thought would "empower her" (don’t feel bad, Cap'n: that Inner Pirate book fooled the dumb shrink, too). Believe me, she don't need empowerin', bein' a chip off the old figurehead, if ye gets me meanin'.

She’ll be sendin' along a real photo soon, with her true virtues front and center.

All the best to Sir Nigel.

And now, me boy, can't ye be writin' yer Mum a little more often? It might clear up some confusion in her mind and maybe get ye a piece of the Readers' Digest Sweepstakes she's been contributin' to.

- Mad Margaret

Ahoy Mad Margaret!

Oh, that Cracked Carrie! She's a little scamp, she! So, for "Talk Like Rudolph Valentino Day" did they just move their lips and hold up ornately lettered black sheets of tag board with the "gist" of their meaning scrawled out while a honkytonk piano played in the background? Aye, that seems like a lot of work!

I'll be lookin' forward to the newest latests graven image of our favorite Lusty Chesty Foul-mouthed Wench of the Apoclaypse! (How's about one o' her mum?)

Speakin' of "mums," as ye may have heard, mine is as looney as a looney bird what's got all hopped up on the goofballs and has taken up residence at Doctor MacMadder's House of Mental Anguish. And she only buys the lotto tickets with last weeks winning numbers because "they are proven winners."

Mad, I tell ye, "MAD!"

- Cap'n Slappy


Ahoy me lad,

Hope all is well with you and ye have no unsightly rashes or uncomfortable infestations about yer person. Meself, I'm feelin' a little wan today. (there may be a feeble joke in there but if catch anyone sniggering I'll stamp on their vitals). I've been off the grog for nearly half a day now in an effort to try an' clear me head and recall me life history fer me memoirs. But so far not much has come back to me.

However, what I do know is - don't ye go believin' what ye reads about me in that book by me rascally cousin Horace - a man so worthless and flea-ridden I named me dog after him. He's no more than a shameless sleaze-monger what is mightily imprecise with the facts, fer instance - a lot of the ladies he calls trollops in the book was actually strumpets and proud of it too.

And just to set the record straight, those nuns plied me with a whole crateful of fine wine that day in the nunnery so he can't go castin' aspersions if only fifteen of 'em subsequently proved to be with child. I was only there fer three hours, four at the most - AND they had to carry me around in a sedan chair.

I meself have put quill to paper on a number of occasions and authored a number of successful publications including:

Oh I also provided the pictures for last year's Foxy Piratesses in the Surf calendar. Nothing to do with books but .... well, ye know ... just thought I'd mention it.

We're just anchoring off the Windward Isles so I'm off to see if any of the local dusky wenches wants to embrace their 'Inner Pirate'. (Excuse me if I'm a-chortlin' behind me hand.)

If, as ye claim, ye really does want to try and make some sense of those o' the opposite persuasion' ye'll gain no understandin' from readin' books. Why, didn't I meself try me hand at writin' such a book a few years ago. Given me countless liaisons over the years (and here I'm bein' modest - I've gone way beyond countless) I imagined I might have gained some insight into the species. 'Wenches and Wench's Ways Explained' I called it, but it ran to 50,000 pages and made no sense at all, defied all logic and reason and still lies unfinished in the bottom of me trunk. Still, there's always Wenching Monthly*

*of which there is many a well-thumbed copy on the lower decks.

- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart,
The Scourge of the Seas.
The Windward Isles

ps. Speakin' o' periodicals - is it true ye'll be pictured a-leaning on yer breakfast bar in next month's Ahoy! magazine ? - 'At home with Cap'n Slappy and some floozy.' Be ye goin' up in the world?

Ahoy Sir Nigel!

Heard about me spread in "Ahoy!" did ye? Aye, and the Floozy in question was a rental. But I was livin' dangerously that weekend, I even waived the scratch insurance. It cost me thirty Bob extra to have her buffed after, but it was worth every penny.

Oh, a word about the pictorial section and specifically about the centrefold, Cementhands McCormack got the lads all worked up into a frenzy so the pictures o' me pummelin' Robbie "Footfungus" Dugan with me fists and forehead was as near to staged as it looks. He doesn't usually give a wink when I drive me forehead into his skull, but he was playin' it up fer the photographer.

Also, the centrefold what shows "me" makin' face-down "Treasure Angels" in the altogether is none other than Ol' Chumbucket himself. What's sad is that he didn't even know the camera was in the room. If ye could have heard what he was singin' as he flapped his way deeper into the coins and gold chains, ye'd have had a hearty laugh.

Still, this notoriety is a giddy mistress. 'Tis about the end o' the fifteen minutes methinks and I'll go back to me quiet, unpretentious, simple piratical life.

In the meantime, I must be off. I'm meeting Willie Gates fer a power lunch and then it's jet-settin' to London for a late dinner with Elizabeth Hurley. She said somethin' about "Tantric" somethin '... I hope she makes it quick, I've got to be meetin' Cracked Carrie at Tiffany's in New York ...s omethin' about "breakfast."

Readin' is slow ... it's writin' where the money is!

- Cap'n Slappy


Cap'n, old son,

I'm glad you're enjoyin' yer new jet-set lifestyle. Me, I prefers to keep a lower profile, what with me bein' a genuine, hard workin' professional pirate rather than a high-livin', lah-di-dah 'celebrity' pirate. I'm more of a dirt under the fingernails, blood down me shirtfront, entrails stuck to me boot sort of a fella. But that doesn't mean I couldn't tumble that Elizabeth Hurley if I wanted, mind. Though obviously I'd need to clean meself up a bit first - she looks the sort what would turn her nose up at blood and squashed entrails. (And by the way, if she's a-droppin' the word "tantric" into her conversation ye may want to clear at least half a day in yer pirate diary for when ye see her. And eat first)

Speakin' o' lifestyles, lately I've been givin' much deep thought to maybe hangin' up me pirate boots and livin' off me ill-gotten gains. I thought maybe I'd dig up some o' the treasure I've buried over the years and, what the hell, spend it on stuff. Trouble is, aside from grog and strumpets and a lick of paint for the ship, I don't rightly know what sort of trinkets a wealthy landsman might purchase.

For instance, in last month's Ahoy magazine I noticed an offer of a collection of 27 decorative china plates entitled "Songbirds of the British Isles" at the exclusive price of 12 gold pieces each, so I was a-wonderin' if ye think that is the sort of objet d'art a man o' taste should be buyin' assumin' he no longer lives in an environment what is constantly rocked an' buffeted by sea an' wind and periodically assailed by heavy iron shot.

I could nail 'em to the wall back in me family home in England. The Blackhearts has a modest 150 bedroom house set in a 10,000 acre estate maintained by the proceeds of generations of plunder and by the exploitation of the downtrodden local populace - who are currently kept under the watchful and benevolent eye of me ageing old uncle, ex-pirate and magistrate: Cedric 'Hang 'em High' O'Houghlihan . He's gettin' a little long in the tooth now and is most likely ready to hand over the reigns. If not, a pillow applied to his face while he sleeps will clarify the situation.

I could see meself enjoying the life of a country squire, huntin' and shootin', gallopin' about on me horse terrorising the yokels with a horsewhip and having first dibs of the local newly-wed brides. Of an evening' I could sit by a roarin' fire, a sporty housemaid on me knee perhaps, workin' me way through the extensive wine cellar and growin' old and mad. I could even shave off me pirate moustache and grow a Wicked Squire moustache instead (for twirlin' an' suchlike).

I realise I might miss the cut and thrust (not to mention the stab, slice, rip and chop) of a life on the seas but if the old folk songs are anything to go by, the countryside is full of saucy milkmaids, innocent weavers daughters and the wives of errant lords, all hangin' about just waitin' to be wronged by a wicked squire. So I'd have plenty to occupy me time.

What do ye think? Am I getting' too old for this game?

Yours pensively,

- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart,
The Scourge of the Seas.

Ahoy Sir Nigel!

These little forays into Wicked Country Squire/Jet Settin' Playboy Life are fine for a weekend or even a fortnight, but ol' salts such as us know that our lives belong to the sea. We're not the "collect a set o' birdie plates" kind! We're the "collect treasure from unsuspectin' merchant ships and bury it in a secret location only to have yer map fall into the hands of meddlin' kids and their anthropomorphic dog at a haunted amusement park" kind of pirate guys. Land livin' is only welcomin' in small doses.

Not that I don't appreciate the idea o' ransackin' a wine cellar from north to south, but why have it be yer own when thar be so many wine cellars without much protectin' 'em? Why, just last week, whilst I was on me world tour, Cementhands and the crew of The Festering Boil were about their business of sullyin' the quiet reputation of New Orleans when they came upon the sizable chateau of the largest distributor of Pornographic French Playin' Cards in the Southeast and spent four days drainin' his supply o' fine wines from Venezuela.

I was, at the time, engaged in me tantric struggle with Ms. Hurley. Turns out, to be a "starin' contest" o' some sort. Finally, after three minutes I says, "So, Love, ye gonna give me a poke or what?" She hit me in the head with a statue o' some Egyptian cat and muttered somethin' about "Lacking patience and imagination ... just like Hugh!"

I tried to explain that it was just a misunderstandin' and that givin' me a "poke" was just me polite way o' askin' her to give me "the bouncy-bouncy" as Cementhands calls it. At this point she was flingin' her own collection o' the "Songbirds of the British Isles" plates at me head and attemptin' to set me on fire. I politely excused meself, nice as ye please, and as I patted down the flames on me coat, I made a "telephone" gesture with me thumb and pinky-finger to me ear and mouth and said, "call me!"

I've not heard from her since. Now, I ask ye, Sir Nigel, was it me? Or was it her?

But back to yer question. Stay on account Sir Nigel! Piracy would not be the same without ye!

Although, some o' them birdie plates would be nice in me galley.

- Cap'n Slappy


Cap'n,

After much thought, 4 bottles of the Governor of Jamaica's finest Madeira, some rubbin' of me chin and an exhausting visit to Saucy Suzie's Salon of Salaciousness I've decided to stick to the sea and carry on in the family business.

I realise now that I would never settle into life on land - at least not in any land what has pesky laws and regulations and whining lubbers bleating about their rights to go about their business unmolested.

Last night, I celebrated me dedication to the pirate life by capturing a French merchantman - stealing its cargo of cheese and feedin' its crew to the sharks. But not before we'd played a humorous game of 'Fondues' with 'em - dippin' 'em in boiling cheese afore tossin' 'em overboard. A cruel way to go, its true, but the little sharkys loved it, God bless 'em. We had such fun I'm still a-chortlin' about it this mornin' but then I've always had a liking for brutal and gratifyingly ironic torture.

Ye see, ye couldn't get away with that on land - there'd be the cheese import permits to consider, fire regulations, crowd safety barriers, yer licence to boil Frenchmen (that's if they still have those.)

Sorry ye didn't get yer hands on that Liz Hurley but, if ye don't mind me bein' blunt, she was way out of yer league. Ye see, classy ladies like that needs proper wooin'. They doesn't do it for just a wink and shilling like yer common strumpet. And as well as Wooin,' they needs Winin' (which usually incorporates dinin' if they has any sense o' dignity). So lets call it the 2 Ws .... no wait a minute, we better include Washin' too - they don't like their Pirate paramours to smell like the slimy end of an Arab's bilge rag. So that's the 3 Ws - and I suppose washin' should be the first of 'em really. Oh, and scatterin' a few gold trinkets or other shiny baubles at their feet helps to allay any lingerin' doubts they might have.

By following these guidelines ye can then give her a bit o' the old chat, ply her with yer finest looted brandy and bob's yer uncle! - ye gets to 'bury the treasure' with a prime bit o' posh totty.

So remember the 3 Ws - Washin', (then whether you Wines then Woos or Woos then Wines or does it simultaneously, is up to you.) Perhaps more accurately it's 3 Ws including D (for dinner) or if she's playin' hard to get - 3 Ws including D and some baubles.

That's perhaps not as snappy as it could be but, damn yer eyes, that's why I earns me livin' by plunderin' and slaughterin' and not inventin' slick mnemonics fer the socially inept who has no hope of getting' their end away without someone pointin' out the bleedin' obvious to 'em! (present company excepted of course).

I realise its rare for a pirate to drop the word mnemonic into a conversation, even rarer to be able to spell the friggin' thing, but there you go.

Sometimes I longs for the old pirate ways when Ahhaarrrgghh had a thousand and one meanings depending on the tone, inflection, demeanour and state of arousal of the utterer.

Adieu, mon capitan,

- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart,
le grande fromage sur le Scourge of the Seas.

ps. you got any tips fer getting melted cheese out of yer decking? Or in fact any imaginative recipes for cheese? Or do ye want to buy some cheese perhaps? Best French stuff it is.

Ahoy Sir Nigel!

As always, I stand agape at yer wenchin' acumen and flair with words that begin with "mn." Most pirates can't pull that off, but you, Sir Nigel, you wear it like a French tailored tuxedo, sans cheese.

Speaking of cheese, nice bit o' work thar with the Merchantman. "Frog Fondue - for Sharks!" It is one of the great mysteries of the sea and a little known fact that sharks prefer their meat with cheese. Oddly enough, though, adult dolphins are lactose intolerant - and them bein' mammals and all...

I've moved on from me Liz Hurley obsession. Ye know the thing about pedestals ... the object of worship has only one direction to go ... So, I have set about obssessin' over someone less worship-worthy and a bit more "bouncy-bouncy-able" (as Cementhands McCormack would say). That's why I have decided to pursue pop maven, Cyndi Lauper. You know, she Bops.

Well, I've got to get to work cleanin' out the ol' shrine and installin' the new. Oh, if ye happen to have a crate o' Gouda - that would be splendid. The Festering Boil will be in Port Royale for a week ... or until we find out where Cyndi Lauper is.

As fer gettin' cheese off yer deck ... have ye tried baking soda? Failin' that, I suggest starvin' the crew and making them suck the decks clean in a desperate attempt to keep themselves alive.

Yours,

- Cap'n Slappy


Cap'n, I'm so ashamed...

I see ye've heard from me mum and she spilled the beans regardin' the old "Talk Like Rudolph Valentino" contest I entered to put meself through University. I didn't mean wrong by sendin' it to ye, though, honest. I just figgered, hell ... the picture looks enough like a pirate, don' it? There be an antique-y sort o' gun and a disreputable look. It's got "attitude." Nobody'd ever guess it was, in fact, the only earthly record o' my lip-synching to select clips of "Son of the Sheik." (Ye shoulda seen me, Cap'n, in the flower of me youth ... poppin' me eyes, mouthin" "rutabagarutabagarutabaga" an' other nonsense with all me might. T'was a sublime spectacle, that it was.)

But then, having accomplished all the fame and proceeds I might reasonably expect as an audible female impersonator of an inaudible male sex symbol, I decided to make a change in me life an' reclaim me inner artist, not to mention me gender, as a lusty, busty an' foul-mouthed AUDIBLE wench!

And it was goin' pretty well, mum, until ye blew me cover! I was a'lyin' low and doin' it nicely, thank ye! (Well, except for bits o' me juttin' forward as 1/4 of Sir Nigel's figurehead, but then who'd connect a Lusty Busty Wench with an Arabian Sheik played by an Italian, eh? Who? Nobody, that's who, until now!)

Now the paparazzi'll start zippin' around me in their blow-up Zodiacs an' autograph requests'll pour into me wee ketch like to sink her, and quicker'n' you can say "Silent Film Star" I'll be adrift on a tiny bit o' jetsam and wavin' down passin' ships like the Scourge or the Boil, and instead o' bein' a cap'n in me own right, I'll be taken into slavery by an infamous pirate and me honor'll be impugned just as happened to Sir Nigel's suspiciously curvilinear cabin boy, but afore that I'll be sent aloft, or to man the sweeps, an' I'll get tar between me toes, and probably lose my teeth to the scurvy and THEN whose fault'll it be, mum? Eh? I love ye, but Jesus, Mary and Joseph ... I just need to make me own way wi'out the pecadillos of me past bein' brought up before me peers like that!)

... oh. E r... so you're still readin' then, Cap'n Slappy? Ahem. Well then. (As an aside, I know you understand what it's like with mums. I'll trust ye to be discreet ... not let word get around of this. Thanks, Cap'n, yer a pal.)

I guess I'll work on gettin' me a proper wenchy picture to display ...

- Cracked Carrie Exposed (as it were)
On the Deck o' Her Ship On a Breezy Mornin' in the Caribbean

Ahoy, Love!

Now, now, now ... don't go gettin' all embarrassed about what yer mom exposes. She gave birth to ye so she is allowed a little bit o' "tellin' stories out o' school." Besides, other people have done more humiliatin' things to put themselves through University.

Why, I remember our own web wench, Jezebel, tellin' us that she had hired herself out as somethin' called a Dominatrix. One time, she was working a party and ended up floggin' her Russian Literature professor. Needless to say, she never cracked another book and earned herself the rough edge of an "A" for the course. (To this day, she can't tell ye who Tolstoy is and swears up and down that Chekov is some "space man with a page-boy haircut.")

But of course, I kid. Jezebel has read more books than I got fingers, but considerin' I only have the five (and a hook) ye needn't get all tingly about her bein' well read.

So let dear ol' mum have her fun ... I am sure she has many, MANY stories to tell us about her darlin' daughter with the lusty ways, the busty bust and a mouth that would make even Jezebel blush.

Oh, and just ignore Ms. Jezebel's footnotes on this missive. The web wench may get the "final say," but truth be told, I haven't told half the truth.

- Cap'n Slappy


[The WebWench mutters "footnotes, me arse," an' goes a-rummagin' in her chest - no, not that chest, ye dog, the one down in th' hold with th' big, rusty padlock an' the "Do Not Touch Under Pain O' Severe Humiliation" sign affixed to it - fer her ol' cat o' nine tails. The Cap'n may remember it. Then again, he may not. He were a bit under th' weather that night, legend has it, what with th' pillagin' an' th' plunderin' an' th' overindulgence in foofy drinks wit' paper parasols an' all ... The WebWench is certain he'll regain his memory just as soon as she finds the durned thing, though ...]

Cap'n, me lad,

Hows ye search for Cyndi Lauper goin'? Its curious how we pirates seems to be accursed with strange obsessions for long dead stars of stage and screen. There's me havin' a bit of a thing for Ruby Keeler, Cracked Carrie havin' the hots for with Rudolf Valentino and you lustin' after old Cyndi Lauper (although I realise that Cyndi Lauper is not quite dead yet, so ye may be in with a chance of, at the very least, stalking the object of yer desires.)

And I suppose, if you was to successfully kidnap her she might well fit in to the pirate life, what with her looking very much like the aftermath of a particularly messy disemboweling incident, not to mention her uncanny ability to squawk like a parrot (no offence intended).

We must have something deep within our collective pirate psyches what looks for odd character traits in our ideal lovers - such as weedy but plucky tap-dancers, handsome but unconvincing arabs or mad, squawking, disorderly old baggages with wild, stuck-up green hair (again, no offence intended)

In truth, Ruby Keeler would not be me ideal wench - me ideal wench would have the face of lovely Olivia de Havilland, the bosoms of the four lusty wenches of the apocalypse (yes, all eight of of 'em, why not?) Ruby's legs - no, no wait - someone else's legs - hers were a bit pale and chunky - one o' those leggy supermodels will do - but with Ruby's tap dancing abilities naturally.

Plus she'd need to have the sporting appetites of saucy Polly Dimplecheeks, the landlord's daughter at the Suppurating Stump tavern.

Ahhh saucy Polly......

Thinkin' about it, eight bosoms is just plain silly. I'll settle fer two. If I fancies any more there's always other wenches.

Oh and I forgot her arms didn't I? She'll need arms. Well, any old arms will do, I'm not fussy about arms. Arms is arms.

PS. Did you know - Rudolf Valentino once starred as a pirate captain in 'The Crimson Ne'er-do-well' - an unconvincing performance, I thought, what with him havin' all his own legs and hands and teeth and eyes. And all those endless captions what kept poppin' up sayin' 'Ahaarrghh' got a little tiresome after a while.

Co-incidentally, me old Grandpa - Sir Cedric 'Fancywhiskers' Blackheart was credited as technical adviser to the film. But he was a wicked old rogue and it is due to his 'technical' advice that Valentino spends much of the film swanning around in an 'authentic' pirate negligee. Thats what I admired about Cedric, I couldn't have kept a straight face.

Yours, as ever, Captain

- Sir Nigel Blackheart,
The Scourge of the Seas.
Ahhh..... saucy Polly

Ahoy Sir Nigel!

Believe ye me, I take no offense at the myriad aspersions cast on me ideal, yet attainable, wench. And neither does Cyndi, so far as I can tell for someone I have not yet met. She seems the good sport and would take it all in fun...or at least that's what I be countin' on.

Yer description o' the eight breasted woman reminds me o' the time I was given up fer dead in Bombay when I disappeared for eight weeks in an opium den what used to be a Hindu temple. Now, either I was set upon by and eight breasted, eight armed goddess who fondled me like I was a choir boy at the Pedophile Priests of Pawtucket Picnic and forced me to suckle on her nipples which contained a seemingly endless supply of Cheez-Whiz and Hard Apple Cider, whilst an energetic elephant-headed god chased me around the room urgently asking me if I enjoyed the musical stylings of Tony Bennett; OR I was in some kind of opium-induced coma.

Either way, it all proves once again that me whole life has been a cautionary tale.

Just say "NO" to drugs, kids!

Now, if I ever get to meet Cyndi Lauper, please don't tell her that story. She'll think I am mistakin' her for Madonna.

Well, it's time fer me PRESCRIPTION medications ... these would NEVER be bad fer ol' Cap'n Slappy, now ... would they?

- Cap'n Slappy


Cap'n,

Its been a while since me last missive and unfortunately the news is not good. I've done a very wicked thing, a very very wicked thing indeed.

Me ship has been becalmed this many a long week, all the stores are gone and, after the last of the rats had been devoured, I had to resort eating me poor old crew. Yes, every last stringy, fatty, man jack of 'em (except for Wheezy Morgan who'd gone a bit off.) Now they're all gone - One-eyed Dan Carew, Jimmy 'One Knacker' O'Reilly, 'Salty' wee Joe Macgillykelly, Fancy Frank Filigree and the rest - all have been chopped up, roasted or fried, boiled, baked, grilled, seasoned lightly and of course washed down with a nice glass of Madiera.

So here I stand - alone and bloated behind the wheel, pickin' bits of annoying gristle from me teeth, wonderin' what fate has in store fer me now.

Will I be condemned by the gods to sail the seven seas alone for all eternity for me culinary sins? or will I be afflicted with all the crew's combined diseases and infections and die an agonising, suppurating, pox-ridden death? or will I just have a touch of wind and indigestion for a couple o'days and then be alright? Who knows?

I've put on a good few pounds too, damn it, I really must try and get some exercise. The ladies won't want a sweaty fatty atop 'em.

Speakin of wind - a keen nor-wester has picked now up so I'll be on me way if ye don't mind, settin' a course for somewhere out there. Sailin' all alone for ever into the unknown on me accursed ship what they will probably now tell stories about to frighten the children. Life is going to be daunting for me now, what with me havin' no crew and little likelihood of obtaining a new one - as things like this tends to get a man a bit of a reputation - the sort of reputation what stops a piano when you walks into a tavern and sends folks diving out the windows. Although it will get me preferential and speedy service in a restaurant, I suppose.

So I may lie low for a bit or adopt a cunning disguise. That's if I don't drop off the edge o' the world. Yes that could happen too. So if ye're ever out on a winter's night and ye hears the chillin' heart-stoppin' sound of hollow laughter a-carried on a stiff north easterly wind, ye can wager its my a-cursed soul a-chortlin' in the face of Beelzebub himself. Or somebody with the telly on too loud. I should check first afore ye go runnin' away in fright to the nearest constabulary, makin' a fool o' yourself. Ahhhhahaaaa. AhaaaHHHaaah! AAAAAAAHAHAHA HA HA...!

Yours ill-fatedly,

- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart,
alone and acursed aboard The Scourge of the Seas.

Ahoy Sir Nigel,

Well, things HAVE taken a turn for the "darkly surreal."

First, let me say, "Bad Pirate! Bad! Feeding crew - GOOD! Feeding ON crew - Bad!"

Now, I don't mean to take a "holier than thou" attitude, but I've never eaten one of the crew unless it was absolutely necessary either for survival or as part of my Adkins Diet. But the way you yourself describe it, you committed not only cannibalism, but gluttony as well. But I should temper my scolding in that you WERE at least honest about it. You've NEVER been a liar... as far as we know.

And you might have gotten away with it, too, were it not for the pictorial you did for "AHOY!" magazine. Who the Sam Scratch was the cameraman?!! And how, pray tell, did he or she avoid the jaws of death!?! It's not the eating or the butchery pictures that were so unsettling as the "tenderizing" and "marinade" pictures - they made me go green in the gills. Bérnaise sauce???!!! Absolutely decadent, Sir Nigel!

Well, they'll be a harsh reckoning, sure. The supermarket tabloids will have a field day with this! There'll be pictures of yourself and "Bat Boy" feasting on Jimmy 'One Knacker' O'Reilly's sole "knacker." Oh, sure, there was no "Bat Boy" present, but they'll find some way to Photoshop him in! Those Rag-printing Bastards!

The worst part of this, as you have already stated, will be trying to find a crew again. Perhaps if you hadn't gone into such detail in the "AHOY!" piece about their relative flavor and "succulent moisture" it would all blow over in a couple of months, but now, it'll take you a full half a year to rebuild your crew .. .unless you hire a crew of fellow cannibals with the promise of a "Darwin's Survival of the Least Delicious! night.

Whatever you do, don't fall prey to the natural depression that comes with feasting on human flesh. You must remain strong, if not for yourself, think of the children. Wait, don't think of them as an appetizer! That's it! You, Sir Nigel, need a "time out!"

And I am serious about this!

May I suggest a completely Vegan lifestyle from here on?

- Cap'n Slappy


Capn,

Ahem, I has a little confession to make. All that business about me eating me crew [chortle, chortle] - well, it was all a - wait for it - a merry prank, a jolly jape, an uproarious lark.

It was Halloween ye sees - when ye plays tricks on folks, or terrifies 'em out of their wits or tries to encourage 'em to hurl up their very guts in revulsion and I was merely preying on yer trusting credulity.

Me crew, every man jack of 'em, are all alive, healthy and whole (apart from those what already has bits missin') and they are here at this very moment, a-gigglin' and a-titterin' most un-piratically behind their hands at your gullabilateriness. And me spoof copy of Ahoy magazine was just the cherry on top of the pie - a stroke of geniusness. Them piles of guts and limbs and heads in the photos was just bits left over from our last major gun battle - we'd saved 'em specially. The picture of me with the caption "Mmm, One-eyed Dan Carew's one eye, yum yum" was just me scoffing a goat's eye looking a bit mad and wild-eyed.

Of course, that doesn't mean I'm not accursed anyway for all the other wicked things I've done. So the mere mention of me name should still send chills down folks' spines but I'm sure they'll sleep more soundly in their beds knowing I'll be comin' at 'em with a cutlass and pistol rather than a knife and fork.

I'm off now - to set sail for the moon - its made of cheese ye know!

- Chortling Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart,
The Scourge of the Seas.

ps. what is a Vegan lifestyle? I don't believe I've ever been to Vega - is that the island I've heard tell of, where the sheep and chickens strut around all cocky and uppity-like and the natives eat only grass?

Damn yer eyes, Sir Nigel!

(Not literally, "damned" eyes are a nasty bit o' business)

Last things first, ye've got the gist o' the Vegan lifestyle. Just replace all yer meats and cheeses with grass, twigs and small rocks. But I see that THAT advice was for naught.

The more fool me, Sir Nigel. But that copy of "Ahoy" was very convincing and a better ipecac I've never found. Why I kept going back to it and looking is beyond me, but I was told by a professional psychologist that it was perfectly normal to look over and over at the scenes of carnage and gore. He said it had something to do with our "innate fascination with mortality the social story of how fragile the human vessel is and serves as a self-perpetuating cautionary tale."

So I gutted him. That seemed to help and it didn't cost me $200 an hour.

Of course, Ol' Cap'n Slappy likes to think of himself as a trusting sort rather than a big gullible man-child. But that's just me preference. But I'll be ready for ye come April Fools Day. I'm plotting a little trick on yer crew and I think I will find it delicious!

Are they kosher?

- Cap'n Slappy


Cap'n!

From th' jaws o' death I escape to talk w' ye. It's been a hard road. I have in me possession nought but this rowboat, two prophylactics and one oar. I'm wi'out me ship, me crew, me wench, and three o' me fingers at the horseraces (thanks fer the tip on Dottering Dan, ye ... grrr .. .arr). They even took me ivory leg!

They've got me blood up, by thunder! Me reputation as "a man of th' ladies" and "jim dandy" be hurtin', Cap'n.

So what I'm askin' is, well ... unno how to say it ... umm...arr...can I bunk at yer place fer awhile, Cap'n? I swear not more'n a week! And tell Buccaneer Bess, that as soon as I win me leg back from those loan sharks, she can see me anytime. Arr.

Most Humbly, I Thankee,

- Captian Maximilian Danforth De LaFarce

Ahoy Captain Max!

And not a moment too soon! Last week I was havin' me cabin fumigated for a rather nasty bowl weevil infestation after Cementhands McCormack decided to try a new twist to the Adkins diet. But that's a long story that involves a group of Asian investors, tapeworm smuggling and a rather ill-tempered Dachshund named Manfred.

Of course ye can stay with me! I'll even let ye use me new hammock what I won in a bet with Mad Sally two weeks ago. It was made by a Peruvian soccer team what was stranded in the Andes Mountains for some time. 'tis suggested that some of their best friends gave everything they had to make this one hammock! Thar be nothing like great sacrifices for small things, eh?

Well, I see that Manfred wants to go walkies. Just hop on by when you get here, Doc Burgess is buildin' ye a temporary leg out of last week's oatmeal till we get the ivory one back. Are ye still a size ten?

Ahoy, Cap'n Slappy,

My apologies fer bein' out o' touch, but life's been right busy of late, tryin' to fulfill the conditions of our accord with ye. We've got the payment, but the wenches be havin' trouble supplyin' ye with one of our first-born. Fer some reason, gentlemen just seem intimidated by us and we're havin' difficulty establishin' committed relationships. Can't think why.

Ye wouldn't accept a ship's cat, would ye, in place o' a first-born? ( A delight, she is, an' can be used as a grapple if ye're caught unprepared durin' a boarding action. Jus t... don't turn yer back on her. We've lost a few crew that way.)

Speakin' of losin' crew, I was that taken-aback when I heard about Sir Nigel's carnivorous rampage through the Scourge o' the Seas a week or two agone. Blow me down, but I thought he were a more relaxed sort. Usually it's the "Type-A" pirates what turns to cannibalism and gnawin' on their own bosuns an' such. I just hope their miserable lives weren't wasted. God knows, it would be a right shame if Sir Nigel just masticated their remains and dropped 'em overboard.

Why, me mad ole mum, Margaret, has a right scumptious recipe fer makin' mincemeat o' butchered crew and I could've sent it to him afore his mental break, had I but known:

Mad Margaret's Surprise

(believe, me, the crew'll be surprised!)

Take:

Simmer crewman in water until tender (this could take some time - add more water if needed.

If the crewman starts a-yellin', he ain't dead yet. Strike crewman sharply with heavy bladed object. Now, this shouldn't have happened. Remember, yer supposed to DE-BONE him. If ye'd done that proper, ye'd have avoided a lot of heart-ache and kerfluffle all 'round).

Drain. Trim away bone, gristle, and prosthetic equipment (especially hooks and other sharp impedimenta).

Put crewman through food chopper, using medium blade. Combine all ingredients in large kettle. Mix well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 1 1/2 hours, stirring often. (If other members of the crew still be alive and unhappy about the menu, stir with one hand and hold loaded blunderbuss in t'other.)

Pour at once into hogsheads and seal the bung-holes. Store in cool, dark place - say, in the bilges. Delicious and rich in blended fruit flavors!

Oh! Er ... well ... damn me eyes, but I just noticed as how Nigel's whole letter were a joke! And, of course ... so were me mum's recipe. No way that Cracked Carrie come from a line o' cannibals - the whole thought be ridiculous, and I'll swear that in court. Hell, Cracked Carrie can't even cook! She just gnaws on whatever fish flop up on deck. Now ... about that ship's cat ...

- Cracked Carrie,
Flingin' Cookbooks Overboard an' Standin' Out fer Tortuga

Ahoy me Lovely Cracked Pot o' Cookery,

Ye used a term in yer first paragraph with which ol' Cap'n Slappy is unfamiliar. "Committed Relationship?" Is this some new thing that ye kids are keen on? Is it necessary in procuring for yours truly his nine pounds of bouncin' baby heir-pirate? "Committed Relationship." Hmmm. In my day, a "committed relationship" began with the words, "wanna see me knickers, guv'nah!" and ended with the loving phrase, "I'm done. What are you still doing here?"

A cat? What do I need with a cat? If you can find me a cat that will take command during a broad-side cannonade, fight two-fisted with cutlass and dagger and collect me at The Goat and Plunger after a hard night o' drinkin' then, I'll be glad to have a cat. Until the day when that kitty is hatched directly from Blackbeard's moldy grave, I'll be looking for a son and heir ... or a really tough daughter and heir. But, Love, an opposable thumb is a MUST!

And I ran yer recipe past Ol' Chumbucket who says that ye must be related as his mum passed down a similar chef secret. But he says his side of the family always fries up the chunks in whale blubber. (It's the Eskimo in him.)

Now Love, I don't mean to scold, but Cap'n Slappy's not gettin' any younger, ye know. In lieu of a "committed relationship" let me recommend a drunken night of frolickery. And as added incentive, the first one to birth me a child will receive a, "I (heart) Cap'n Slappy" T-shirt.

Now, get to findin' a "temporarily convenient relationship."

- Cap'n Slappy


Cap'n,

A little request for ye, I was wonderin', will ye be havin' such a thing as a birthday party this year? and if so, have ye any suggestions as to how a man might enliven such an occasion for the delectation of both himself and his close acquaintances?

Me own birthday will shortly be upon me and, call me a decadent, depraved, dissolute and debauched old good-for-nothing wastrel of a gadabout if you will, but I has in mind makin' it the sort of occasion where a man might eat, drink and be merry and perhaps enter the world of the fascinating, the peculiar and the scarcely believable.

Me birthday party last year was a pretty dull affair despite the presence of a Haitian witch doctor, a sinister clown, a bearded lady, a mime, an albino, a blind accordionist, a troupe of juggling circus dwarves, a nice Chinese lady with a talent for contortionism, a mysterious and alluring one-eyed Russian countess and a cheery, six foot six, Nigerian bongo player in a cerise nylon jumpsuit. I has to stifle a yawn just thinkin' about it.

Much o' me crew don't have much truck with birthdays, most of 'em havin' only a passing aquaintance with when or how they was a-brought into this world anyway. Sam "Scarface, half-an-ear, limps a bit" McCrumble still insists he was delivered by an enchanted stork and Soft Mick, the ship's simpleton, believes he was made out of mud by an old gypsy woman. (She was at a bit of a loose end one day apparently, and had a lot of spare mud, and some magic twigs.) Consequently they gives little thought to celebratin' the occasion of their creation.

But me I generally likes to let me hair down, roister and rollick and gather tales to regale and traumatise me grandchildren with (even though I doesn't have any yet) and I needs a few ideas to help restore me jaded palate. So any suggestions from such an infamous roué, bon viveur and agony aunt would be more than welcome.

Yours expectantly,

- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart , The Scourge of the Seas

ps. please note Cap'n - I've already had a 'Brazilian Ladies Beach Volleyball Team versus Xena the Warrior Princess and Friends Wrestling and Writhing in Jello and getting a little excitable and over-enthusiastic in the process ' party - in case you were thinking along those lines.

Ahoy Sir Nigel,

My, aren't we a hard-to-please birthday boy this year?

Yer note sent me back to me days at the orphanage when we were brought, en masse, to the homes of the wealthy and spoilt to provide background filler and give the appearance that the "Little Lord Fauntleroy" o' the day had friends.

At one particularly nasty event, they literally killed the fatted calf in front of the party guests (careful to spray the blood only on the orphan boys) and then proceeded to select six of us to be dowsed in kerosene, hung around the courtyard and set ablaze to provide mood lighting. When the screams interfered with the young master's enjoyment of the readings of poems and stories in his honor by us surviving orphans, he told his servants to, "ask them to scream more quietly." When the servants failed in this effort, he threw his leg o' mutton at the head butler and said his whole day had been "ruined by your stupid incompetence and the insolence of those horrid boys who were so lucky to be invited to my party."

We came back the next year ready for insurgence and class warfare and ended up feeding the nasty little pimple to his mastiffs. Now, THAT was good party.

Short of invading a village and running the occupants through your own makeshift abattoir, you, Sir Nigel, have come to the end of the party lexicon. You've done it all, seen it all, had it all and yer crew is expecting IT ALL. So, my advice is to go the other direction.

Tell the lads that you have something really special planned for this year. Break out the banners with matching plates and napkins, plastic forks and chocolate cake with white icing. The lads will be expecting an invasion of topless Swedish girls with Viking helmets or Bolivian snake handlers with fireworks attached to their heads or some cheesy magician who fancies himself a philosopher hanging in a Plexiglas box from yer mizzenmast for days on end without food. But no. They'll get cake. And ice cream if they're good. Later, you can play "pin the tail on the donkey" or "blind man's bluff." The anticipation will kill them and THAT will be YOUR party. Perhaps I may even dress up as a cowboy and come by and do a couple of rope tricks.

It'll help if you keep up a feigned enthusiasm and say things like, "Wow! This is great! I WONDER what's going to happen next?!!?"

And remember, ye be celebrating the fact that death is one year closer than it was last year.

Happy Birthday, Sir Nigel!

- Cap'n Slappy


Cap'n,

I followed yer wise advice and organised me birthday party along the lines ye suggested. The crew was most perplexed as they put on their little paper hats and sat down to ice cream, trifle, cakes and lemonade but afterwards they all went away happy, if a little green, with a lovely party gift bag. I saw murderous, tattooed, battle-hardened, pox be-riddled men close to tears they was so touched by gettin' a piece of birthday cake and some balloons.

And me? well for me it was the DULLEST birthday party IV'E EVER HAD IN MY LIFE thanks very much. I hate balloons and marzipan and those irritating little squeaky, blowy things.

So, in a effort not to waste the day entirely I decided I throw a spontaneous "Hey, lets all get drunk and invite lots of loose women aboard to get drunk with us and, ye know, just see how it turns out" party, which bein' in sight of port, and with no-one inclined to disagree, we did.

And, as a result of that stroke of inspiration, ye may be interested to know that I now holds the World Record for Squeezing the most Strumpets into a Cabin. 37 strumpets in all. Yes, scarcely believable I know and I can imagine the way ye'll be a-slapping ye forehead at this very moment, then shakin' yer head in disbelief. It all happened quite by accident when the party was in full swing on deck and it suddenly started to rain. The poor wet strumpets aboard, all scurried for cover and me bein' the perfect gentleman, I ushered 'em to safety in me cabin.

Here things soon got a little crowded and it dawned on me that the total occupancy had almost certainly surpassed the previous, long neglected, world record set by Captain Jasper 'The Crusher' Longshanks back in 1879 who was said to have peculiar tastes in such activities.

Interestingly, many of the strumpets had hurried from the party still tightly clutching their leftover custard cream dairy doughnut confections and such was the force of the pushing and squashing that the pressure on these doughnuts forced them to violently expel their custard cream contents all over the cabin, causing much ribaldry, some messy stickiness and a lot of noisy lickings and slobberings. Something poor peculiar old Jasper never dreamed up in his wildest imaginings.

Me, I found meself in the unlikely position of being squashed up right in the midst of all these lovelies, where, despite the limited opportunities for romantic manoeuvreings, I had occasion to experience, at first hand, life from the perspective of a custard cream-filled dairy doughnut confection, in the warm, firm grasp of a steaming strumpet, suddenly caught up in a tight crush. If you'll pardon my French.

A rather odd sort of way to celebrate a birthday I'm sure you'll agree. I'm thinking of making it an annual event - naming it The World Strumpet Squashing Championship or maybe the Jasper Longshanks Memorial Squeeze. Inviting all captains of good heart and healthy sporting 'ladies' to compete, with confectionary being an optional extra. It's all perfectly harmless fun as long as you can manage not to die or choke or get trampled underfoot.

I has to go now and organise the mopping and swabbing party (that's a cleaning chore by the way, not a wacky new sort of celebration)

- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart,
The Scourge of the Seas

Another year older and quite unable to look at a custard cream dairy doughnut confection in the same way again.

ps. its gratifying to see that Cracked Carrie is still alive and well and recommending disturbingly appetising recipes for crewmen. It almost made me want to .... no, we won't go there again. Carrie, may yer leather breeches forever squeak ever so slightly when ye walk.

Ahoy Sir Nigel!

I be as glad as a seagull what has landed a "head shot" on a particularly disagreeable seaman that yer "Natal Celebratis Anumn" (as our barnacle encrusted keeper of misguided Latin, Doc Burgess, calls it) went so well. I knew the party would be dull for ye, but it, in effect, "reset the clock" and made the Inaugural The World Strumpet Squashing Championship a smashing success. Happy birthday, ol' friend.

The Custard Cream Dairy Doughnut Confection Alliance thanks ye as well. I spoke with their chairman, Olaf Fuentes, about your adventures in strumpet crushing, cabin creamy goodness and they are seeking to provide sponsorship of next year's event. Right now, they are talking about t-shirts but I am pushing him in the direction of full backing and world-wide media coverage, while all the time retaining the rights to the screenplay. Aye, negotiations of this sort can be fierce, so just let me handle it until we get close to an agreement. Then, I'll bring ye in to close the deal. (Provided my negotiation tactics leave any of the other side alive ... which would be a first. )

As always, it was delightful to hear from our Cracked Carrie and the sounds of her leather trousers will echo in my ears until there is naught of me but a hook and a pile o' bones.

May the coming year bring ye much tart smashing, strumpet squashing, Gidget-groping joy.

- Cap'n Slappy


Ahoy Cap'n,

I was at the Captain of the Year Awards last night in Port Royal and was surprised to find ye wasn't there. Anybody who was anybody was there as well as some who weren't nobody. Famous captains came from far and wide - all decked out in their frilliest shirts, featheriest hats and their finest silk coats plucked from the still twitching bodies of foppish Spanish aristocrats. It's always a pleasure to catch up with old friends and see who's lost another limb or got a shiny new hook or died since I last saw 'em.

I won awards in three categories: the Who's Had The Most Virulent Dockside Diseases And Lived To Tell The Tale Trophy, the Most Contemptuous Sneer In The Face Of Overwhelming Opposition award (I don't like to talk about it) and a special award for me contribution to the arts - The Hubert 'Flowersniffer' Fotheringay Award for The Cultivation And Promotion Of Sculpture And Paintin' All That Arty, Poncey Stuff And Suchlike'

That was for me eight breasted figurehead. The judges had spent an extraordinary length of time inspectin' it when we was tied up in the harbour - examining the smooth finish, its tasteful representations of the female form and its fascinating curves and protuberances. It easily beat Captain Billy Crudface's rudimentary carving of an lonely Atlantic cod looking for its spawning ground.

Oh, and I also came third in the Who's Got the Biggest Hat competition.

And ye'll be delighted to know ye won one yerself! and I accepted it yer behalf from last year's Miss Wanton Hussy. This was the award for the Captain Most Likely To Be Found Lying Face Down in a Gutter At Five Thirty In The Morning, Tentatively Nudged By The Boot Of The Town Rat-Catcher Out on His Rounds, Before Groaning and Heaving Up His Guts. (And I was up for that meself ye know.)

In an emotional acceptance speech I thanked yer mother, yer mother's mother and all her friends (who I believe all had a hand in knitting your pirate costume for you) and yer cat and ... oh I don't know, I was very drunk at the time and may have made some stuff up about ye that completely destroyed yer reputation. (something about dressing up as Britney Spears at weekends, I think). Sorry about that - ye may want to lie low for a bit or adopt a cunning disguise - although I'd avoid schoolgirl costumes if I were you, hur hur.

Of course, it wasn't all smiles and backslapping - Captain Jake 'No friends' Dunwoody was found dead in the alleyway outside, ironically still clutching his 'Man Most Likely To End Up With A Dagger In His Back Before The Night Is Out If He Doesn't Watch His Mouth' trophy. Even more ironically, he'd been shot.

Then the 'Who's Had His Wicked Way With The Most Innocent And Guileless Village Maidens Award' went to Cap'n Leslie 'The Smug Git' DeChampeny. This caused widespread consternation amongst us pirate brothers as the man rarely goes anywhere near the sea and spends much of the time lurking around village greens smirking at the chaste girlies and promising to marry 'em and shower 'em with rubies. In our line of work, most of us never gets the chance to meet anybody innocent and guileless, let alone have our wanton wicked way with 'em. He got a damn good kicking when we got outside.

Afterward the ceremony we had a terrific party which will live long in my memory but I'll spare yer blushes by not going into any details. But lets just say if they ever decide to introduce an award for the person who managed to get last year's Miss Wanton Hussy, the reigning Miss Saucy Barmaid, the runner up in this year's Miss Gorgeous Good time Gal Competition, a crate of champagne and some custard cream-filled dairy doughnut confections (yes them again) all into the same hammock ..... without falling ou t... or even thinking that it maybe wasn't such a good idea after all ..... well .....

Hoi hup and away,

Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart, The Scourge of the Seas

Ahoy Sir Nigel!

Congrats and "Mad Props" to you! I knew, of course, that the Most Virulent Dockside Diseases (MVDD) And Lived To Tell The Tale Trophy as well as the Most Contemptuous Sneer In The Face Of Overwhelming Opposition (MCSFOO) Awards would go to you. What is this, six years running now? But the "Fothringay" was a big surprise. I knew your "Chesty, Lusty, Foul-mouthed Wenches of the Apocalypse" was well in the running and that Billy Crudface's misguided obsession with Atlantic Cod wasn't even in your league, but I had heard tell of the figurehead carved into Mad Angus MacWilly's ship, "Kiltlifter" had been a thing to behold. Somehow, he had managed to carve the entire battle scene of Culloden into the prow of his ship with Bonny Prince Charlie on point wetting himself (when it rains or the waves splash up high enough). He was the odds on favorite (while you and the wenches were "sentimental" favorites. Still, well done!

As for my whereabouts, ye know I hate these things. I was in Hong Kong on tour with me Vanilla Ice tribute band which uses jazz fusion and Ska to capture the essence of the "Ice, Ice Baby." We calls ourselves "Vanilla Gas." Our inspiration came from Cementhands McCormack's last visit to the dentist in which his usual sedation (six shots from an elephant tranquilizer gun) wore off and the quick-thinking oral surgeon abruptly dowsed his agitated patient with the afore-mentioned flavored gas. When he woke up, he kept chanting the words to "You Can't Touch This" by M.C. Hammer and trying to score some more of that "Vanilla Gas." We weren't impressed as much by his licks as we were by the way he did the "Hammer Dance" so we expanded the band concept to include several of the old school rappers as well as the mind-numbingly dulcet tones of Kenny G. Suffice it to say, we have achieved a unique sound according to the Miami Herald.

At any rate, our first album, "The Vanilla Gas: Fluff the Sheets" went "Limestone" in Indonesia, which our agent, Reuben Kincaid, tells us is very good - considering the international ban on gas proliferation and humorous references to the passing thereof.

Thanks for picking up me eighth straight Captain Most Likely To Be Found Lying Face Down in a Gutter At Five Thirty In The Morning, Tentatively Nudged By The Boot Of The Town Rat-Catcher Out on His Rounds, Before Groaning and Heaving Up His Guts award. (or the "Nudgy" as those of us who have won it several times call it). Cap'n Spongy Slackbottom has told me that thar be a movement afoot to rename it the "Slappy" after yours truly. While I would be honored, I think it's premature. Ol' Shaky Bellygardt won it sixteen years in a row (seven of them posthumously) and nobody was lobbying to call it "The Bellygardt." Well, I can understand that, but still, fair is fair.

Give Miss Wanton Hussy a grope for me, and tell the lads to buy me album. I want it to be at "obsidian" by Christmas. Oh, by the by, I found ye a HUGE hat here. Six o' the lads have been sleepin' in it. Ye'll be a shoe-in at the hat-fest next year!

Somewhere off the coast of China,

Ahoy Cap'n,

I was glad to hear yer musical career is on the up because, as everyone knows, the close links between popular music and robbery and slaughter on the high seas is a long established tradition.

Meself, I'm still keeping up me good work on the pirate piano but I've not actually gone 'on the road' as it were, in the accepted musicianly, professional sense although I've still had some modest success. It's no longer a case of drunkenly stumbling into a tavern, taking over the piano and holding a pistol to the head of anyone who doesn't sing along with great conviction. Now I has a little band of me own, comprising of meself (piano and vocals), Paddy "Three fingers but can still play the fiddle" Muldoon (fiddle), Jimmy 'the Slasher' Slasher (electric guitar), Herbert 'The Hun' von Geschinkengruberunterdenlindenblitz (Tyrolean Alphorn), Salty wee Joe Macgillykelly (Kitchen implements and backing vocals) and Mungo the mad matelot (drums and cannibalism).

Our music is an eclectic mixture of drink-sodden blues, grunge, sea shanties, shouting, sudden violence and Tyrolean Alphorn polkas. We do however suffer from one major handicap - or two if you count the fact that few of us have mastered the instruments beyond the most rudimentary and painful level and are often prone to start a fight at the slightest excuse as a way of disguising our shortcomings. Or even just for the fun of it.

But primarily it's that, like all handsome and charismatic musical performers, we find that the wenches in the audience is often inclined to scream lusitily and hurl their bloomers at us onstage. Flattering though this is, some of these bloomers is mighty voluminous and being draped in such ample apparel often tends to hamper the performance somewhat - muffling sound and movement and at times causing disorientation, even suffocation.

It's a shame that the fashion for, shall we say, briefer, singular, less concealing articles of this nature has nor yet reached these parts , or theirs for that matter. Then the world could hear us as we were meant to be heard - unhindered by capacious and archaic nether garments.

It goes without saying that were we to find ourselves instead showered with inconsequential, wispy bits of flimsy nothingness, their negligible effect would allow the music and our enigmatic stage presence to shine through.

I know ye are something of an authority in these areas and I would heed yer advice. Despite these handicaps we was recently booked to do a gig for Lord Ffarquar Ffanshawe -Ffeatheringstonehaugh's 40th birthday party at his summer residence in Bermuda where, in keeping with the finest rock and roll traditions, we partied the night away and drunkenly hurled an escritoire out of his Lordship's Under-Butler's retiring room window, sniggering uncontrollably as we watched it smash onto the terrace below.

Of course, it would have been even funnier if we'd been any higher than the ground floor at the time.

Luckily, on this occasion, bloomers were notable by their absence. Whether this was because it was 'that sort of party' or because our hastily erected 'No Bloomers Please' sign had been misconstrued, I don't know, but it left us free to perform our standard repertoire and also to delve into some previously unexplored areas. Later we were ejected from the house after being discovered a-rollicking in the wine cellar with his Lordship's entire staff of maids, under-maids (no sniggering there) cooks, under-cooks (for when his Lordship wants his steak rare, presumably) nannys, nursemaids, ladies-in-waiting, ladies tired-of-waiting, masseuses (although no under-masseuses strangely - perhaps they were all occupied), Miss Jones - his voluptuous personal assistant with the 'Play-your-cards-right-big-boy-and-all-this-could-be-yours' eyes, his au pair, his mistress and his mistress's mistress - Helga. He never paid us a penny either.

I shall of course be returning to fancy Lord Ffarquar Ffanshawe -Ffeatherstonehaugh's flashy abode to seek my revenge for this slight, taking along my crew, my goat, a sobered-up and ravenous Mungo and a freshly sharpened shiny meat skewer. That might well be my entry for next year's Most Unspeakably Vile, Cruel, Fiendish and Yet Still Wickedly Amusing Way Of Despatching An Enemy Without Resorting To Parody Or Cliche Award.

Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart, The Scourge of the Seas

Hello Bermuda! Are you ready to polka?! By the way, I'm a-thinking of naming me band SlitGizzard - what do ye think?

Ahoy Sir Nigel!

Last things first. SlitGizzard is a great name for a band - especially if you do those cool lighting bolt things with the double Z in "Gizzard." Sure, some might accuse you of finding inspiration in that great seventies Metal/Anthem/Pirate/Punk Band, "Bad-Ass BrisketSplitters," but pay it no heed.

As for this deluge of dainties draping you in "drawers" (an Americanism for "knickers") I have a cunning plan. BUMBERSHOOTS! Aye, that'll keep 'em off your instruments - musical and otherwise.

When Cementhands McCormack, Doc Burgess, Ol' Chumbucket and I were exploring the jungles of the legendary Isle of Pua Pua in the Indian Ocean, we were beset on many sides by the beautiful warrior priestesses of the great goddess, Ringalingalatio. Cunning they were, and swift. We were nearly buried alive in lingerie', stockings and what appeared to be delicate and beautiful brassieres made of honey and rice spun into a sheer fabric that resembled fine golden silken lace. Cementhands would have taken the battle to them and damn the consequences and Ol' Chumbucket was hot on his heels, but Doc Burgess fashioned some crude umbrellas out of coca leaves and bamboo with which we fended off the onslaught. We escaped with our lives and our virtue in...uh...<Pirate Consternation Hmmmm ... I never DID thank Doc Burgess for his quick thinking.

Well, my friend, I'm off to pummel a doctor. Do be careful of the "edible undies" they will gum up your whole horn section.

BURGESS!!!!!

Sorry, writing and yelling don't mix.

All the best to the band,

- Cap'n Slappy


Ahoy Cap'n,

I'm a-sending this missive from atop me highest masthead. Sometimes I likes to perch up here, 70 feet above deck, looking noble and heroic, me gimlet eyes searching the horizon for easy prey. And then other times, when I'm feelin' especially noble and heroic, I stands halfway up the bowsprit instead, dramatically pointin' the way. That's a spectacularly cool place to pose, although the view ain't as good and there's not much to hold on to.

Its at times like this that a man can take time to reflect and take stock of his life and also unbutton his shirt a little more if there's any ladies watchin'.

As ye well know, I've witnessed many distasteful things in my life - death, disfigurement, dismemberment and disembowelment. Not to mention hanging, drawing and quartering (which is pretty much the same thing but legal), much gratuitous blood-spattered gruesomeness, as well as some sights that would make a man's stomach turn.

I've made fortunes, lost fortunes, stolen other people's fortunes, buried fortunes, thought about it, then dug 'em up again and blown the whole lot on wine, wenches, waywardness and expensive but essential ship maintainance. I've sailed around the world, climbed mountains, poked about in caves, explored dense jungles, discovered rare and exotic species of parakeet, named 'em after me (Tastius Polli Blackhearticus) then shot and eaten 'em.

I've seen sharks the size of large mammals ravenously gobble up men whose cries went unheeded after they fell overboard after slipping on some carelessly discarded tropical fruit on deck - the dunder-headed lubbers (although I swear I haven't touched a mango since).

I've drunk enough grog, wine, ale, rum, port, madeira and Tia Maria to float a man o' war. Sometimes all in the same tankard. Sometimes in one evening.

I once met a talking horse. I was once introduced to the toothless, three bosomed queen of a lost tribe of Amazon warrior women. And gave her a peck on the cheek.

I've seen some lovely sunsets in me time too, if ye like that sort of thing. I know a high born lady who can tie her legs in a reef knot behind her head.

And also, do ye know, by the way, just as an aside, (and I'm whispering behind me hand now) there's this fella in the Weeping Wang Tavern who can extend, haul, manipulate and re-fashion his as it were, ahem, boarding tackle, so that it resembles a Spanish galleon in full sail on the larboard tack. Fair brings tears to yer eyes it does. Clever though.

Aye and I've rogered me way through bawdy houses, convents, finishing schools, retreats for frustrated and lonely gentlewomen and the qualifying rounds of the Miss World competition. Ahh happy times.

But I has to ask: What's it all about, eh? What does it all mean? Why are we here?

- Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart
The Scourge of the Seas

ps. I would appreciate a comprehensive, thorough, definitive but swift reply. Its gettin' cold up here. Oh, and compliments of the season to ye.

Ahoy Sir Nigel and Happiest of Holidays to ye as well!

I think I know a little pirate who got a big poet shirt for Christmas!

I remember the Christmas that Mad Sally got me a great big poet shirt for Christmas. I posed, I preened, I postured and then returned to posing with both posturing and preening folded in at five minute intervals.

Finally, I saw my Mafia-connected cousin, Vincenzo DiSlaperatti and asked him the same burning questions that ye just asked me. He looked at me thoughtfully for a moment or two, then, he punched me hard in the face.

I'll never forget what he said next. He offered me a hand up and pulled me to me feet, then, he said, "Did you feel that?"

I said, "Aye, ye Armani-Wearin' Bastard! I felt that!" He smiled and nodded his head. "That's it. Two days from now you'll still feel it. Two weeks from now, you won't. That's it. That's all. Ba-Da Bing Ba-Da Boom! Over!"

I've never asked about the meaning of life since. But I still wear the shirt because I look dead sexy in it!

Lesson learned and no bruising. Thar be yer Christmas Prezzie from Ol' Cap'n Slappy. Happy New Year, too, me Bucko!

- Cap'n Slappy

Sir,

You don't know me, nor I you, but I am currently holding a close acquaintance of yours in captivity - one Sir Nigel Blackheart. Aha, yes, the very same.

I discovered him lying in a drunken coma amongst a pile of sleeping strumpets in a lowly house of disrepute that I happened to be passing and seized the opportunity to bring such an infamous and disreputable villain to justice. Later, as the captain regained consciousness in my cellar, he muttered something about you being "a good pal" and, more importantly, "as rich as Croesus" and as such I presume you will pay handsomely for his freedom. In his befuddled state he also added you were "a big fat bugger" "˜poxed to the gills" and you"smell like a Mongolian Yak market on a particularly hot and still day" These latter descriptions are of course irrelevant for the purposes of our proposed transaction and I quote these merely to add veracity to my demands and absolutely not out of any sense of gleeful malice on my part.

So, before I see this rogue hang I am prepared to offer him to you for a modest ransom of some 1,000 Gold Poltroons (a Poltroon, of course, being a common unit of currency in East African New Guinea where a Poltroon weighs as much as a man's hand. As I'm sure you well know.) Poor Captain Blackheart is currently imprisoned in my cellar, restrained by bonds of the strongest, West Indian hemp. And just for good measure I chained him to the beautiful and vivacious daughter of the Governor of San Juan, Lady Clarissa Pertley who, incidentally I am also in the process of ransoming to her wealthy and distraught father. Any escape attempt on Captain Blackheart's part would obviously be severely hampered by this fiendish coupling - such a flighty young thing would undoubtedly scream at inopportune moments, stumble for no good reason when being pursued and argue unreasonably and at great length, as ladies are wont to do. Things must be getting pretty uncomfortable down there for him right now so I'm sure you won't want to prolong his suffering.

So, if you want to see your friend again you should take a sea-chest of unmarked Poltroons to the Severed Pig's Foot Tavern in Port Royal and there look for a short crook-backed man with one eye, a peg leg, a hook for a hand and a hideous pox-scarred, powder-charred face and no teeth. He goes by the name of One Eyed, Peg Legged, Hook Handed, Scar-faced, Toothless Dan - the Short-arsed Hunchback with nits. Or Corky to his friends. In fact, thinking about it, just ask for Corky. But check his mutilations, deformities and other shortcomings first, just to be sure. He will then arrange for the handover of your good friend. You have until the next tide. Mwahahhahaaa....!.

I am, of course, your most humble and respectful servant,
- Sir Jasper de Gastard

Dear "Gassy," (you don't mind if I calls ye "Gassy" do ye?)

So, Sir Nigel referred to yours truly as a "Mongolian Yak!?" Let me just check the latest secret code-book for messages hidden within insults. Aye, thar it be.

Alrighty! You tell Sir Nigel that we will be bedding his Aunt Betty and giving her a jolly good roister whilst ye dangle him from your hemp rope from the crystal chandelier in the ball room. Tell him also that he is a "flouncy, soft-toothed man-child" who "were it not for his fascinating skin conditions would never hold a lady's interest much less her delicate, bouncy orbs of joy." Did ye get that? "ORBS OF JOY!"

Oh, dash it all! I've never been much at code writing ... Tell Sir Nigel that we will be there to rescue him in an alarmingly short time frame and that ye can expect that we will leave not a man, woman or goat alive. In fact, our terrible swift vengeance shall be ... what's the word I'm looking for? Aye, "BLOODY." Look, I'll spare ye the details. Suffice it to say that we will do horrible things to ye and yours should Sir Nigel feel even the slightest bit of annoyance at being held for ransom and bodily bound to a vivacious, nubile young woman who, must be curious about the ways of "amore'."

On second thought, we will delay our rescue for a couple of days ... if he gives us the delay code phrase, "stay away, ye fat git!"

After we have exacted our retribution on ye, rest assured that we will find this "Corky" fellow of whom ye speak and give him a right good taunting.

Oh, and look behind ye!

Regards,

- Cap' n Slappy

Cap'n,

Well ... it's been a funny old week for me.

On Sunday morning I woke up with a very sore head in a strange cellar - not the first time that's happened to me its true, but this time I found meself for some reason bound tightly to a very pretty young lady also. And for the life of me I couldn't recall how I got there or indeed startin' any such fancy fun and games especially since carryin' on with bonds and restraints in damp cellars ain't really my cup of tea. Perhaps I should lay off the strong drink for a while and stick to respectable houses of ill-repute.

And for some reason I'd been havin' some very odd dreams about Mongolian Yaks - which, as you well know, is the little used emergency pirate code for 'Help I'm Being Held Against My Will And Also For Some Reason Happen to be Chained To A Beautiful Bit of Totty Too - Send Rescue Party But - Hey, Take your Time.' And they say pirates don't have a sub-conscious - hah.

The young lady also appeared to be a little confused and gabbled something about being kidnapped by a wicked wicked man but I explained no, no ha, ha, I am wicked but I hadn't kidnapped her and this was all probably just a silly drunken game we were playing and all will become clear once we sober up and not to worry her pretty little head about it.

Later, after providing some much needed 'comfort and re-assurance' to the poor girl during which we somehow managed to slip out of our bonds I felt that tasty vittles, strong ale and fresh sea air would now be most welcome. Unfortunately, some well-meaning soul, obviously trying to provide us with a little privacy, had locked the door to the cellar.

But of course, my years spent avoiding the clutches of the law meant I was picking the lock and out of the door before you could say "Well done sir - your escapologiary skills would do credit to the slickest of slippery eels slithering swiftly away from an upturned barrel of 'McGinley's Fresh eels in Olive Oil' across a newly varnished deck into the open sea."

Outside, in the passageway we stumbled over the slumbering body of a flea-bitten, short-arsed, one-eyed, peg-legged, hook-handed, scar-faced, toothless hunchback with a distinct smell of bilge and careless unsanitariness about him.

A swift boot in the kidneys soon saw him scurry off to find some breakfast for us. Whilst we were tucking into kippers and porridge this cowering wretch told me that this was the house of that well-known rogue and scoundrel Sir Jasper De Gastard and sorry for any trouble and inconvenience.

"No need to cower, wretch," I reassured him, "we mean you no harm. And perhaps another bottle of Cherry Brandy with our kippers?"

I must remember to write and thank Sir Jasper for his hospitality. Even though his cellar was dank and gloomy, his kippers were a bit off and his servant's personal hygiene and interpersonal skills leave a lot to be desired.( 'Call me Corky' indeed! The insolent dog.)

The nice young lady graciously accepted my offer of a lift home after I promised to show her my fancy ship's figurehead, my collection of pirate awards, my hideous battle scars and some entertaining and novel ways to pass a long sea voyage that she may have thought about but not actually tried before. I hope you and yours are well and in no immediate peril.

Captain Sir Nigel Blackheart

Ahoy Sir Nigel,

It was the funniest thing. Nasty Sir Jasper sent us a letter in which he mentioned that ye had called yours truly a "Mongolian Yak" and being, as I am, an expert in the code, he lads and I burst into action. Then, we got distracted by some flying fish and forget exactly what we had been so riled up about. After several days, Doc Burgess asked if I'd heard from ye lately and I responded, "Damn and Blast! We must avenge what we can only assume to be Sir Nigel's untimely and wretchedly painful death at the hands of the black hearted Sir Jasper!"

Our navigator aboard the Festering Boil is one Pauly "Cartographopbia" Watts and before ye know it, we were knocking on doors in Cherbourg looking for Sir Jasper. Needless to say, our reception was less than warm. And when we knocked on what we thought was a particularly grand home and it turned out to be the French Fort, we received a welcome that was, I should point out, less than cordial.

Let's see if I can remember the code ..."Ye sing like a dyspeptic hippopatomous what's been stuck by a marauding band of cross-dressing, spear wielding Elvis impersonators." Wait, never mind the secret message. Cementhands McCormack has just knocked down the door and he and the lads are wading through the French counter-offensive with relative ease. I suppose I should join them, but they seem to be having a bit of fun and I don't want them to feel like I don't have confidence in their "berserker" skills.

Well, time to go. The Froggies have just wheeled a cannon or two into the hall and are starting to load it.

Hope all is well and that the Governor's daughter hasn't grown too irksome. The lads and I are planning on attending this year's International Pirate Quilting Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Will we be seein' ye thar?

Oooo, Cementhands is plugging up the French cannons with ... well .. the French. Time to go.

- Cap' n Slappy

Ahoy there, Cap'n!

Here be ole Cracked Carrie, followin' up on me New Year's resolution ta never EVER use Nair nor hot wax again on me...

Ah, blast. That were me LAST year's resolution. Ignore that.

THIS year's resolution is to stay in better contact with me good, sage, Diabolical 8-Ball of Destiny wieldin', mono-legged mentor! (That be you, Cap'n.)

Ye may not've noticed, but I been remiss in missives of late. Part o' that was due to a protracted -- one might even say interminable -- stay with family over the holidays. (Took a while to pick the locks and make me escape, but even pirates have to go home and visit mum, eh? (An' by the way, Cap'n, have ye gone and seen yours lately? When I visited me own, Mad Margaret, she said that yers'd been askin' after ye and wanted to know if ye'd taken the tree decorations when ye left.))

While I was a-visitin' with relatives, I found meself in the position of havin' to defend me transition from non-profit office-worker to for-profit privateer over the last year. An ye know, Cap'n, t'weren't as easy as I thought it'd be.

Folk these days have damned odd ideas about piracy. First time I mentioned me new vocation, me aunt an' stepmum dropped their shards o' fruitcake, put furniture between us, an' backed up, holdin' flat shiny circly things in their hands: "Get thee hence, foul creature!" my aunt cried -- that's not so surprising. She's said that for years. But then she added, "I have Norton!" "And I have McAfee!" shrilled me stepmum. To be sure, I wasn't quite certain what havin' Norton and McAfee had to do with pirates, unless they meant CAP'Ns Norton and McAfee of the Royal Navy. Last I heard they was patrolling in the East Indies.

Still, I don't think "havin'" the two o' them's reason to get all hoity-toity. I could've had Norton, too, but he were a wee pasty thing what lived in his mummy's basement for years before he was press-ganged off to sea, and he still sucks his thumb at night and carries his blankie around on the quarterdeck, so that's not much to brag about. And as for McAfee ... I DID have Cap'n McAfee, round the back of the Weeping Wang when he were assigned to patrol near St. Kitts. Had him just the once. But even that once required a round o' that Russian doctor Loppemov's Miracle Clarifying Pastilles and sitz baths three times o' day just to cure meself of his memory. (Memory bein' the polite term.)

So, bluntly, I'm not sure me family understood the whole thrust of me career-change. They spent the whole time mutterin' about their love-relations with Royal Navy captains of dubious reputation, an' me nephew kept pestering me, askin' if I could help 'em "download bootleg girly movies" and "burn that new album by Eminem." I tried to explain to 'em about doubloons an' bales o' silk and REAL pirate-stuff, but they weren't interested.

Cap'n -- just how DOES ye go about explainin' piracy as a career to the folks back home? Any tips?

Cracked Carrie
Gettin' into the Swing of the New Year And Glad to be Back at Sea

"When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy."

Ahoy Me Darlin'!

'tis good to hear from ye! Me and the lad's have been wonderin' what happened to ye and Ol' Doc Burgess had become so despondent, he made a little shrine with a nude charcoal drawin' o' ye surrounded by candles, flowers and an empty box o' Doctor Loppemov's Miracle Clarifying Pastilles. Bein' as he is, a man o' medicine, Doc Burgess' nude charcoal drawin's are very detailed and the one o' you is a major attraction aboard the Festerin' Boil. I almost haven't the heart to tell them ye be alive! But no matter ... they'll get over it! (I'll just tell them that Betty Boop is, in point o' fact, a cartoon character and they can trade one grief for another.)

As fer tellin' the family about your decision to embrace the sweet trade and roam the seas in search of adventure and riches, my primary advice is simple. Don't. Not that yer chosen profession is anythin' to be ashamed of! On the contrary! I am and always will be proud to be a pirate! Still, my family thinks I'm a greeting card salesman and I've done naught to dissuade them from that delusion. When they ask about the hook, the peg, the eyepatch and the parrot, I respond simply (and truthfully, I might add): "Occupational Hazard."

This, of course, may give them an exaggerated opinion of the perils of the door-to-door greeting card sales industry, but no matter. It is a family tradition to embrace the long and storied "Slappy Family Piracy Plan" by tellin' the family that ye do one thing while "goin' on account." Me great-great-great-grandpappy Slappy convinced his mum that he was a peddler of amusin' French undergarments and as long as he kept her in flatterin' corse's she was none-the-wiser.

Now, I know ye've already let the cat out of the bag, but that's why bags have openin's! Because ye can put the cat BACK IN! Just tell the family that ye had to PRETEND to be a pirate because ye were doin' deep cover work for the CIA and couldn't tell them the truth. When they express concern over your bein' a CIA agent, just assure them that you no longer are with he Agency (sayin' "the Agency" gives ye that air of knowing credibility) and that you are currently employed by the Montreal Expos baseball team as a talent scout. Believe you me, they'll never ask about yer job again.

And stay away from those British Naval Officers! They're crawlin' with pestilence!

- Cap' n Slappy

Cap'n,

Sad news today Cap'n. I regrets to report the death of one of me crew - 'Wheezy' Morgan has finally passed away from natural causes at the ripe old age of somewhere between 48 and 93, depending on who you speak to.

Yesterday eve, as the sun was setting we covered him in the Jolly Roger and, as someone sang a sad lament, I read a few words out of the Pirate Book of Things to Say at Someone's Funeral Without Being Crass, Insensitive or Forgetful. Then we slid him gently over the side into the cold but welcoming embrace of the deep. He didn't make much of a splash.

As a lad of seven, Clarence 'Wheezy' Morgan began his life at sea as Ship's Boy, becoming Ship's Lad as he grew into adolescence - a position he held 'til he was almost 33. Subsequently he became a Cook, a Toilet Scrubber, Cook again, then Vomit Swabber ('cos he never once washed his hands ye know), Later he became Surgeon's Right Hand Man (it being his job to fling amputated right hands into the re-cycling barrell) climbing his way up to become Left Leg Man and finally Blood, Guts and Fleshy Tissue Disposal Operative.

Lately of course, being old, slow and ineffectual, he'd been no earthly use to man nor beast - except maybe to the ship's goat who had quite a fondness for him (it was actually the other way round but lets not speak ill of the dead.)

He will also be remembered for his astoundingly thunderous bowel disorders and his commitment to the spreading of potentially fatal airborne respiratory diseases. I'll never forget his moving final words - "Oy, ye b*stards I'm not dead yet" as we tenderly laid him out upon the Dead Man's Board and sewed him up in his hammock, a cannonball at his feet.

But what else could we do? he was on his last legs, poor old sod and there's no point in hanging about waiting for the inevitable, getting morbid. Plus, we had the wake all prepared - the buffet was goin' cold, the wine was getting warm and him selfishly a-lingerin' there, clingin' on for no good reason. And, if I can be frank, he was already goin' a bit off.

Anyway, I hope you and yer crew will raise a glass or two with me in memory of an old dead buccaneer. Not one of the more effective or memorable ones its true, but dead nevertheless. I has to go now and disinfect the lower decks.

Yours,

Cap'n Sir Nigel Blackheart

ps. on the romance front, the fair Lady Clarissa has been playin hard-to-get of late. By which I mean she divests herself of all apparel, smears herself all over with baby oil and is off like a hare. She's as hard to catch a excitable greased piglet. Still, it keeps me in trim for the Quilting festival.

Ahoy Sir Nigel!

And a mournful bit of news this is. I actually met ol' Wheezy when I was comin' up through the ranks. His simple good nature and alarming flatulence set him head and shoulders above the other Ship's Boys at the annual Ship's Boys Convention held in New Orleans. What also set him apart was his full graying bead and his ability to buy rum from the local merchants and give it to the rest of us lads who waited eagerly outside, mouths agape - baby bird-like - with liquor anticipation. We called him, "Gramps" but he angrily insisted that he was only twelve. He maintained that age for at least fifteen years that I knew him although he finally copped to being a teenager when arthritis set in.

Most of his fellow Ship's Boys had either done their hempen dance in the shadow of a yard arm or had, like meself, gone on to Captain their first ship when he transitioned to Ship's Lad. But a good sort he was. While we all but forgot about ol' Wheezy, he never forgot us. When one of us would pass him in later years, he would say, "Hello thar, Buster Brown!" - he called everyone "Buster Brown" - "Where are ye goin' in such a hurry? Why not buy a young lad such as meself a tankard o' rum?" When we would hurry past him, he would become amusingly belligerent and say things like, "Ye think yer better than me, don't ye!?! Well, ye're not! How do ye like that, Buster Brown!?! Oh, I'm so sorry, Buster Brown, I didn't mean to get all uppity...please buy a poor boy a splash o' rum, won't ye?" And then he would cycle back through the "ye think ye're better than me..." stuff before getting exhausted and needing to go back to bed.

Sad news of his passing indeed. The world will not see the like of him again, I'll wager.

As fer yer challenge of catching the well-oiled Lady Clarissa, may I suggest a strong net, strategically placed in her normal path of egress along with a complicated albeit amusingly engineered series of block and tackle bear traps? Thar be nothin' like a glistening young lady of refinement trussed up like a wild beast or suspended helpless in a net above the decks like so much sea bass to get a party started.

Ah, to be perpetually young...like our dearly departed Wheezy.

- Cap'n Slappy

Oh, Cap'n, my Cap'n!

The new year is not startin' out precisely as planned. No sooner had I received yer advice on how to handle the topic o' piracy-bein'-me-new-profession than trouble brewed aboard me wee little Ketch as Ketch Can.

It seems that some of the crew was that upset about me mentionin' our line of work to the folks back on shore. (Apparently most of 'em had told their families that they was makin' their way toward "Diamond" in Amway Sales, and didn't appreciate bein' "outed.")

Well, harsh words was exchanged between me an' me First Mate Vicious Victoria, the Silver-Haired-Devil and Keeper-of-the-Ship's-Cat (no, not the flail, the REAL cat). She aired the crew's other grievances: "Ketch as Ketch Can be a stupid name," said they; "Pillagin' ruins our French manicures and you doesn't give us time enough for trips to Starbucks for Mocha Soy Lattes when we're ashore; an' furthermore, there ain't no such thing as a hunky pirate, there's a total lack of a washing machine aboard, let alone a good hot shower or even a washcloth, and big blowsy poets shirts are, like, so a couple centuries ago." The list went on and on.

Any road, it were clear they was ticked off, an' there was talk o' votin' in a NEW cap'n! Well, I wouldn't stand fer THAT! After much name-callin' and hair-pullin', and hands planted on hips, the crew backed down, but I'm ashamed to admit they insisted on renamin' the ketch the "Bootylicious" an' that-as they say-was that. (Oh, I didn't like the new name, and still don't, by thunder! But it was cheaper than installing a shower and washing machine.)

I wobbled back to the quarterdeck in me high-heeled boots--is Sir Nigel CERTAIN that stiletto heels are de rigueur for pirate wenches? How do ye carry off a boardin' action if ye can barely walk? An' I can't count the number of times one of me crew got hung up by the heels in the ratlines...hangin' upside down wi th her skirts flipped over her head.

But I digress. Let's leave that image and get back to me stalking the deck, stopping only to scowl an' pose dramatically-toss me hair, an' such-like.

I ordered the sails set, an' then the sails reefed, an' then the deck holystoned. I ordered for a little capstan work set to hip-hop music, just to tire everybody out, and then demanded a nice fruity drink with a little umbrella in it -- I was that upset and I figured that'd remind people who was boss.

But me plan backfired. Gettin' to name the ketch "Bootylicious" didn't slake the crew's lust fer revenge. Before the mast, they muttered behind their hands; below-decks, the weekly Stitch n' Bitch an' Ladies Black Powder Society made an unflatterin' likeness of me wearin' hot pink an carryin' a little plastic purse with smiley faces on it an' patched it to the mainsail. Soon, at night, the ominous clatter of lipstick cases bein' rolled along the deck was heard.

Before ye could guess it, Bob's yer uncle an' Fannie's yer aunt-it was (wait for it!) MUTINY ON THE BOOTY! Cutlasses were waved, their cruel edges shining like razors. Cries of challenge echoed like soprano thunder. Flintlock muzzles caught the hot tropical sun in tiny wee flashes like...well...like tiny wee flashes.

And at the head of this pack of stiletto-heeled miscreants was none other than me former first mate, Victoria, with a naked blade in her fist.

"Have at ye!" I cried, and steel clashed. The fight went smashingly well, if I do say so myself-lots of fancy lunges and pirouettes--until we started trippin' on our blasted high heels. After that, the odds were against me, and I was brought to bay, me back against the binnacle, me white teeth bared in a snarl that I practice often in front of the mirror for comely yet predatory effect.

And then, despite me protestations that the plank be a bit of artistic license an' not really historical-I found meself standing at the far end of one, me low-cut blouse billowin' over the rounded tops o' me bosoms which heaved passionately as I defied the vile villainy of me treasonous first mate.

But t'was all in vain. After a tremendous splash, I found meself swimmin' through the azure, bath-water seas, abandoned by the dastardly Bootylicious, until the currents swept me to a desert island, with only a hermit crab, a palm tree, and a Starbucks franchise fer company.

I shoulda known they'd be everywhere. Ah, the irony. Here be all the Mocha Soy Lattes me crew could ever want. And here I sit in the pearly sands, Cap'n, the very figure of despair, me flintlock in one hand with its single shot, and a Starbucks Frappuccino in the other. I'm prepared for death, but me hand is shakin' so poorly from all the coffee that I'm afraid the shot would go wild and condemn me to a slow and caffeinated death.

So I roll up this scrawled note and stuff it into the Frappuccino bottle and cast it adrift, in the hopes that someday, you will know the fate of yer once-promising protege. Done in by deception, the tropic sun, an' an excess of frou-frou coffee.

Cracked Carrie, Slowly Crisping On a Desert Isle
This Frappuccino could use a bit more ice...

Hold Fast, Cracked Carrie!

The Festering Boil be on its way!!! I'll just slip this note in response to your original note back into this Frappuccino bottle and throw it back in the ocean ... wait ... never mind ... I will just "hand deliver" the note as soon as our ship's bloodhound gets the scent and we can retrace the path of the bottle over the waves to its point of origin.

Wait. That's not going to work because ...

A) We don't have a ship's bloodhound, and B) That whole scent thing doesn't work well in tracking over constantly moving currents of sea water.

Must switch to plan I-395.54r/qposrt which clearly states:

"When receiving an urgent note in a bottle from a beleaguered wench in trouble (that would be you) please consult detailed current charts found in Captain's quarters (that would be mine) and cross reference with the Prevailing Winds Almanac located under Cementhands McCormack's picture of the woman whose underwear fell humorously off whilst she was hailing a cab nearly endangering her grocery bag including the stalk of celery. After using the Seasonal Adjustment Chart on pages 354-396 proceed to the nearest island or isle-like substance in that area. If the note is contained within a Starbuck's Frappuccino bottle (that's a stroke of luck) please locate the Stock Distribution Number on the lower right hand side of the label for location of retail of the afore-mentioned Frappuccino bottle. If this is the case, consult the Starbuck's Frappuccino Distribution Chart located in the right side pocket of Ol' Chumbucket's Fancy Dress pants opposite his humorously inappropriate playing cards."

Well, that would place you on that little island just two hundred yards off of our starboard bow. That would mean that the lusty, busty trollop in the white blousy shirt with the "Cafe Americano" in her left had waving frantically at the ship ... and now, giving us "the finger" ... oh, that's because Wrong Way Watts has signaled to head out to sea ... don't worry, we'll come and get ye love! Hold Fast! Hold Fast!

Wait. Why am I writing this? I should be yelling it! Oh, what a jolly good laugh we'll have when I hand you this note and you see that all this time that I could have actually been giving orders that would take you out of harm's way, I've spent just writing and writing as if I were copying recipes for my up-coming Festival of Corn Meal celebration. No matter! We'll soon be on the beach, ice-cold caffeinated beverages in hand plotting the revenge we'll take on yer former lusty, busty comrades. It'll be fun. You'll see.

Well, I've gotta go. Gotta rescue you, you know. But, of course, you know. Duh. I mean, here I am, walking up to you on the beach, trying to get the letter done so I can hand it to you and then - too late ... here you are.

- Cap'n Slappy

Cap'n!!!

Damn yer eyes for reachin' the marooned Carrie afore me! Ye was makin' unfair use of yer inside knowledge there. The Scourge o'the Seas would've easily out-sailed that old slop bucket the Festering Boil. Had I but known I woulda plucked her off that island and whisked her off to a life of champagne and luxury Belgian choclates before you'd even pulled yer britches up, let alone yer anchor.

As ye know, I still looks upon Cracked Carrie fondly as a protégée, a willing pupil, an artists model and an enthusiastic, sporty and imaginative acquaintance. Still, good luck to ye, ye cunning old dog, damn ye.

And by the way, could I just make it clear that I have never advised any lady pirate to don stilettos (well, ahem, except in the privacy o' me own ...... well, ye know). Sensible thigh length Sea Boots is what I always swears by. The dangers of a Lady pirate gettin' her dainty heels caught up in the ropes and findin' herself upside down in the riggin' is well known and the distraction it causes amongst the crew can often prove fatal in a boarding action. But could I also point out that a stout pair of reinforced canvas drawers, tied and buckled at waist and knee and affixed with added leather safety straps would have preserved her modesty, should she possess such a thing (modesty that is, not drawers.)

With such a passion-killing nether-covering, even the most desperate and depraved matelot would not be tempted to give her so much as a second glance let alone harbour any dark thoughts of nipping up for a quick swaggling-to while she's dangling helpless.

In any case, I has to say that to go nether-coveringless in an environment of tall masts, rope ladders and sudden gusts of wind would seem to be rash, foolhardy and exhibitionistiary to say the least. Although on second thoughts, I suppose amongst an all-wench crew it is possibly of little consequence, especially if they was all of a similar predisposition.

Hmmm, but wait a minute - if this all-wench crew in stilettos were to all suddenly find themselves immodestly upending in the riggin' - a danglin' there ... helpless .... a-gigglin' and a-shriekin' ... skirts flipped over .... without any ... on .... at all ...... whatsoever ..... not even ..... and in need of a dashing hero rescuer ..... well ...... And they'd be exceedingly grateful - Ooooh, brave, handsome Sir Nigel, how could we ever possibly thank you. Excuse me, my mind is wandering a little ............... Anyway ......... where was that all-girl ship headed?

Farewell, Brave, dashing Cap'n Sir Nigel Blackheart

Setting a new course. It'd be like the final of the 1997 Swedish Whoops-Where's-yer-Bloomers-Lady-Mountworthy All-Comers Challenge all over again.

Ahoy Sir Nigel!

Now, don't get all Rescue Envy on me, what with the "If I had been there, the moment of recovery would have been filled with the sounds of swelling orchestral music, soft focus lenses and deep, passionate slow-motion twirling embrace - not some dottering ol' fool o' a sea captain walking up the beach clumsily finishing his 'we're comin' for ye' letter so he can hand it to the lass in person," attitude. And we all know that the Festering Boil couldn't out-run a water-logged chunk of Egyptian Gopher Wood on a windy day but what she DOES have is the uncanny knack of being right where the action is. Besides, our Carrie looks on me as a kindly, grandfatherly, freakishly twitchy old fool what's just waitin' for that day they sew him into his hammock, cannonball at his feet and ignore his protestations as they plunge him into his watery grave.

She has, however, taken a shine to a few o' the lads; our devilishly clever young directionally challenged navigation officer, Pauly "Wrong Way" Watts and our rakishly handsome, tea-totteling, newly acquired officer of punishment, Deano "Leatherlegs" Keeling. In fact, they are following her around the deck asking if they can be of any "revenge assistance" should we ever find her mutinous crew. Lieutenant Keeling has been devising brave punishments for Carrie's former crew, up to and including letting Cementhands McCormack play a "no holds barred" game of Whoops-Where's-Your-Bloomers-Lady-Mountworthy with them. He was even willing to overlook Cementhands' "Lifetime Ban" on the sport from the International Whoops-Where's-Your-Bloomers-Lady-Mountworthy Governing Body. Ah, yes, BRAVE PUNISHMENTS indeed! Doc Burgess, however, is protesting this as he has been tirelessly working with the international committee to lift McCormack's lifetime ban and allow Cementhands his rightful place in the Whoops-Where's-Your-Bloomers-Lady-Mountworthy Hall of Fame in Liverpool, England.

But no matter. I think that if revenge is the game, Sir Nigel is the name! What say we meet next Tuesday evening in the "Salty Maggie's Privates" pub in San Juan and plot out Cracked Carrie's triumphant return to captaincy? And also...do something about her impractical wardrobe. She'll listen to you. You know "Salty Maggie's Privates" don't you? It's just around the corner from the Starbucks coffee shop ... just before you get to that other Starbucks coffee shop.

Well, I must get back to it. The lads are scuffling again over who gets to sit next to her during delousing.

- Cap'n Slappy

Dear Cap'n Slappy,

Ye may find this difficult to believe Cap'n but another fella in me crew has unfortunately died. Only this time there wasn't no natural causes involved, it was clearly just an unavoidable accident and nobody's fault at all.

I regret to announce that the Tyrolean Alphorn player in me band - Herbert 'The Hun' von Geschinkengruberunterdenlindenblitz - suffered a regrettable misfortune in the Satiated Trollop tavern and is sadly no more. The injuries he received after accidentally falling down the stairs proved to be fatal.

He might have survived his headlong plunge had he not, in the process, accidentally impaled himself, full length, upon a large shiny meat skewer which some thoughtless, inconsiderate oaf had left propped against a chair in preparation for the evening's Ox roast.

Even then, with some urgent medical attention he might still have survived had he not subsequently tottered unsteadliy towards the fire and through sheer, astonishing, bad luck, toppled onto the spit which, being powered by some accursed, new-fangled, automatic, mechanical contrivance, then slowly began to revolve of its own accord over the blazing kitchen fire.

Sadly, what with him being completely alone, there were no witnesses to his misfortune and his prolonged and anguished cries for help went completely unheeded due to the noise of the roistering in the room next door. It was a good few hours before his absence was noticed and by then it was too late. He was not only alas quite dead but burned to a tragic crisp also. A sad, gruesome and extremely slow and painful end, made all the more tragic by it bein' such an unlikely sequence of easily avoidable events.

Still, that's the way it goes. So never again will the lowly pirate haunts of the Caribbean islands echo to the mournful, bovine tones of his Tyrolean Alphorn and never again will the cloth-eared bratwurst-for-brains be able to insist on repeatedly playing a friggin' E FLAT when it should QUITE PLAINLY be an E NATURAL!!

May he rest in peace.

Though in truth he won't rest nowhere 'cos the scurvy, unscrupulous, though admittedly half-blind landlord then blithely served him up as Crispy Ox Surprise on the specials menu and he'd sold out afore we could raise the alarm. But don't worry, luckily for me I had the lobster that night.

I've spared ye none of the horrific details in the hope that this tragic episode may act as a safety warning to yourself and others: So always remember to take care on apparently safe-looking stairs, beware of carelessly propped skewers and never, ever totter precariously in the vicinity of automatic rotisseries.

And it goes without saying that if you choose to take up a musical instrument you should always try to be flexible and open to advice from your fellow musicians. And avoid any instrument that sounds like a disconsolate water buffalo in labour. Not that that has anything to do with anything you understand, just thought I'd say.

Even sadder is the news that I've had to bid farewell to the fair Lady Clarissa. Saucy temptress though she was, she was beginning to question whether I really needed to go to the Pirate Quilting Festival this year and asking who is this Salty Maggie anyway and what was she thinking of giving her pub such an unfortunate name and I hope you don't think you're going to be out gallivanting 'til all hours and coming home roaring drunk and relieving yourself noisily in your sea chest again ..... That sort of thing.

But, of course, 'gallivanting' as you well know, is my middle name, the gallivanting gene courses through my veins (or wherever genes go) and if you will, gallivantationism is my calling. So, regrettably the lady had to go.

Yours, a little blue but there are ways of getting over it,

Cap'n Sir Nigel Blackheart

PS. Anybody want to buy a Tyrolean Alphorn? Slightly soiled but still playable. A little dented also. And some restoration needed to return it to its original tubular construction. Will Deliver. 25 Gold Dubloons or willing to barter for something nice.

Ahoy Sir Nigel!

This is sad news indeed. The passing of Herbert 'The Hun' von Geschinkengruberunterdenlindenblitz marks the end of the Golden Age of Tyrolean Alphorn music. Indeed, I may have a buyer for that horn, though. Doc Burgess is trying to put together a band of hearty Alphorn players to do "Tijuana Brass" covers. His Alphorn version of "A Taste of Honey," while requiring monumental patience on the part of the listener has been a hit with fog-horn enthusiasts from near and far. Preferably far. Although he is a man of science, Doc Burgess's ear for music achieved notoriety when he performed the William Tell Overture by popping "kelp balloons" with a wooden hammer. His only artistic miscalculation seems to have been his unwillingness to drain the sea-weed before the performance thus soaking the front of his audience with brine. To make matters worse, the front rows of his recital were occupied by the "Critical Middle-aged Music Teachers Ladies Auxiliary." They gave him high marks for "artistic achievement" but low marks for hygiene and he was thrust from the recital hall ignobly and left sitting in a pile of kelp in the street.

Still, Herbert 'The Hun' von Geschinkengruberunterdenlindenblitz was and is the all-time "godfather" of the Tyrolean Alphorn and no one, not even the talented Doctor Burgess recognizes that he stands in the shadows of the greatness that was Herbert 'The Hun' von Geschinkengruberunterdenlindenblitz.

Sad I am also at Lady Clarissa's fade from emotional greatness. When a pirate cannot urinate freely and unquestioned in his sea chest after a night of drunken debauchery without the questioning and judgmental glances of refined lady, then the dew is off the rose and all that stands between beauty and decay is time itself. Cracked Carrie also was struck by your loss. When I informed her that Lady Clarissa had "moved on," her response was a thoughtful, empathic, "Oh, Goodie!" Which I can only assume means that while she is sad for the death of something lovely, she is glad that for a brief and shining moment you know what it was to be truly happy with a woman. Or, perhaps she was just happy. I am not sure.

I look forward to seeing you soon, my friend. In the meantime, tell your crew to be careful on stairs and around pointed objects.

Yours for Stair and Pointed Object Safety,

- Capn Slappy

Cap'n,

Just for something to do I’ve recently been renovating the cabin adjoining mine - we’d been usin’ it as a store room for cheese and old body parts. I’ve cleared it out now, swept the floor and made it nice and comfy with a giant, heart-shaped bed in the middle, draped in red satin, some discreet lighting and the fluffiest selection of fluffy sheepskin rugs ever to cover a pirate’s floor.

And now that I’ve finished I’ve been a-scratchin’ me head and a-thinking what to do with it, and wonderin’, just out o’ the blue, off the top o’ me head, if the lovely Cracked Carrie might like to make use of it for a while - what with her havin’ no boat, no roof over her head, only the clothes she stands up in and no friends at all - excepted yerself obviously. Whilst I appreciate she may find it difficult to tear herself away from you and yer legendary hospitality - I know ye must be providing her with only the choicest cuts of hand-picked vermin that yer crew can ensnare and yer wine is watered with only the finest Evian plus of course the reputation of yer Chum stew reaches far beyond the pirate community and out into many branches of the medical, legal, scientific and law-enforcement professions - but she may fancy a change of scenery and indeed, air.

If she likes, I can arrange for the walls to be painted a fetching shade of pink too - she’d probably like that, what with her bein’ a girl. She can also have the pick of me extensive wine cellar and can feel free to partake of me specially imported selection of hand-made luxury liqueur melt-in-the-mouth chocolate fancies shaped like infamous pirate members. Oh and old Paddy "Three fingers but can still play the fiddle" Muldoon has been learning some Barry White numbers, if she ever wanted to create the right mood for anything, should her tastes run that way.

She shan’t want for clothes either as didn’t we relieve the SS Victoria’s Secret of its cargo of ladies attire on its way to the New World last year. I haven’t opened the packing cases yet but she’s welcome to have her pick. I’m sure the collection’ll be modelled on her late Majesty Queen Victoria’s preference for the prudish and starchy but I’m sure Carrie’ll be of a mind to leave a few buttons undone if the long formal frocks turn out to be unsuited to the tropics.

And she needn’t worry about bein’ thought of just ‘Another One of the Captain’s Bits of Stuff, Yawn, Do Ye Think He’ll Remember This Ones Name’ or anything like that. No, she’d be a special non-executive member of me crew with responsibilities for morale and stress relief with the honorary rank of Captain’s Mate and Right Hand Woman.

The position would be on a strictly no-obligation short-term contract basis to last until the novelty wears off and I …or should I say we decide to call it a day and move on to pastures new. Or just ‘need some space’ or something. Whatever that means. I think that’s what lubbers say, rather than simply heaving their rejected former paramours over the side with a terse farewell. It goes without saying that I expect no financial recompense for this generous offer. Although she would be perfectly at liberty to express her thanks in any number of adventurous ways other than the merely monetary. Eternal gratitude (paid off in regular instalments with interest) is very often enough. Again, absolutely no obligation although I did, ye know, put a lot of time and effort in.

Yours in expectant hopefulness,

Cap'n Sir Nigel Blackheart

Ahoy Sir Nigel,

Whilst I hold Carrie very dear, it does seem time for a parting of the ways, so to speak. I took the liberty of reading yer fine letter of invite to her and when you mentioned that I served only the choicest cuts of hand picked vermin and watered down the wine with only the best Evian water (actually, the bottles are from "Evian" the "water" is from Cementhands - it's strained and boiled - and I didn't let that particular cat out of that particular bag for reasons that will shortly become crystal clear) she became mightily offended. When I told her it was Italian Sausage I was taking a guess. Who knows, maybe the mice that comprised the contents were from Rome. And frankly, I don't have time to check their passports.

I quipped, I jested, I jostled, but it was to no avail. She was hell-bent on getting off the Festering Boil. So, at our rendezvous tomorrow evening, prepare to take on a new crew-person. Oh, by the way, she has made us stop using "antiquated, oppressive, sexist-centric" (she spits the words out faster than I can look them up) language in our day to day speech. We no longer have "crewmen" we have, "crewpersons;" we no longer slug it out with policemen after a night of drinking, we slug it out with "police officers" and the list goes on, and on, and on. Hell, we can't even say, "straight" anymore ... it must be "forward."

Aye, we've loved havin' our Carrie on board, but when it comes time to part the way, our friendship will be better for it. Last I heard, Cementhands McCormack was trying to cheer her up by doing his Happy Dance, but she dismissed him, telling him that she couldn't look at him without thinking of the '65 Bordeaux that tasted just a little too well-traveled. He tried to explain that he had had beets earlier in the day when his water was harvested for that vintage, but she would hear none of it. Don't get me wrong. She's a lovely girl. But life aboard the Festering Boil seems to move more easily when it is estrogen free.

Best of luck!

... Continued ...


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