Being a tale of Thanksgiving peril and plunder on the bloody tides of fortune! And now that the Cap’n’s logbook has been recovered from the clutches of the briny deep, the tale can finally be told complete! Yo ho ho!
We arrived seaside, full of pluck and plumduff, and set eyes on our trusty ship, the Thankful Belle. What beauty! Her keel laid strong and true, her hull and tumblehome sturdy enough to turn away the cannonade of the fiercest Mohammedan or Hun. Little could we imagine the adventure that awaited!
The crew, slack jawed and struck dumb, stood awed and agape at the Thankful Belle’s majesty. Timid but eager, they boarded. A hearty and hale crew they proved, with vinegar and sand to spare! We lost young Abraham that day. Preparing the sails for departure, he tumbled from the rigging and dashed his head to pieces on the deck below.
The sea was angry that day, my friends – like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli. Our beards flecked with foam, we set off amid the fury and spray, our sails fat with fortune’s wind. The briny deep took MacMannis that day. A rogue wave, as cold and sinister as Neptune’s right hand, pulled him overboard. We sounded for the body, but ’twas in vain; his corpse was claimed by Davey Jones’s Locker.
The skies were ablaze with the Devil’s own lightning as we said our fare-thee-wells to the land. The tempest bellowed, and our courage answered! We were off! Fredericksen fell that day. Standing too close to the mast, he was burned by St. Elmo’s fire, his charred boot prints seared forever into the deck, an eternal memorial.
‘Twas on day five that the storm broke and we first smiled upon the open sea. The horizon stretched as far as the eye could see, promising a bounty of hidden riches untold! We lost Hanrahan that day. His finger, smashed as it were by a belaying pin, had turned gangrenous and wet. The good surgeon took his arm in an effort to save him, but the rot had made its way to his heart. He died in a bilious fever.
Ah, the sea! As blue as the skies of Aberdeen, we wondered at its sapphire lustre! ‘Twas a man’s job discerning the horizon from the sky, so blue was the water we sailed upon. Indeed, it seemed as if the Almighty himself had so favored the azure hue that He, in His infinite wisdom, divided betwixt His two greatest creations, the sea below and the cerulean heavens above, all of His most glorious blue. Deep, beautiful blue.
On the fiftieth day, our bowsprit broke the fog and we espied land. ‘Twas the New World! Wary of the inclinations of the natives of this strange place, we sailed on, seeking the warmth and surety of decent Christian men. We lost Hillborough that day. Overtook with youthful lust, he jumped ship and swam to the hopeful embrace of naked nubile women on shore. Betrayed, he was set upon by the savages, who cruelly spurned his boyish advances and saw fit to dash his head upon the rocks.
As the sun broke on the fifty-third day, the morning greeted us with a sobering sight. ‘Twas the wreck of the Black Grousse, the doomed ship of legend. Entombed within her damnable bowels lied the bodies of Captain Hargrave and his woe-betided crew. ‘Tis said their spirits walk the blackened and splintered planks still, waiting to deal bloody justice to any man who dare attempt to plunder the wreckage. Malone died that day. His matchlock was set of by an errant cinder from the smithy’s forge. The ball shattered his femur, and he bled out below decks, doubtless a trick played by the bloody ghosts that plague this haunted place.
On the sixtieth day, having sighted dry land, we crept ’round unnamed capes and shoals, slowly feeling our way home. The shores were beset with savages watching hungrily, mouths a-slather with hope that the Thankful Belle would be broken open like an egg upon the rocks to spill forth her human yolk. Not being a-feared o’ these cannibal hordes, our trusty cook brought forth a celebratory feast fit for kings! Our cabin boy – the first of our cabin boys to survive one of our voyages! – was permitted to join us for his supper. Having no Christian name, we dubbed him Lucky and saw him baptized by the Cap’n at sundown, thus assuring his place in the Almighty’s Kingdome should the Godless savages overtake us and feed upon his bones.
The sea was all rough chop and thunderheads during our feast. No-one, not even our benefactors, the gentlemen whose moneybags yawned wide to fund our venture, were spared the internal unease of a meal on the rolling waves. But green though their gills were, these fine and fancy gents did resist the urge to chunder, leaving our deck and table finery kindly unsoiled.
Despite the howling gale, our benefactor’s mother, a Lady of noble birth and landed parentage, brought forth the indentured servant she had purchased in some dusky Oriental flesh market. From the litany of his incoherent babble, even the best of us failed to suss his name. Despite his precarious predicament, his temper was as sour and foul as the rolling waves outside, so we deigned to call him the Salty Chinaman. But, being too grande a moniker to fit easily in one’s mouth, the crew, as sailors are wont to do, soon devised for the poor devil a name more friendly to the tongue. Thereafter he was known to us as Chop Salt.
On the sixty-fourth day we landed, home and dry! Being keen of eye and deft of hand, our bosun’s mate captured in paint and sailcloth our joy at seeing our home port. With full bellies and heavy purses we debarked the Thankful Belle, better men and more able sailors than had set foot on her those many moons before. Neptune’s hand had guided us to fortune and prosperity, and we drank and sang his praises deep into the night!
We lost olde Henderskütt that night, the last of our crew to be taken in the name of this voyage. Deep into his cups, he besmirched the honor of a local tavern wench, and ended his revels with her husband’s blade in his belly. The crew answered this insult with steel and powder, cutting the killer down and earning the ire of the local constabulary. Being permitted to sober in the local gaol, ’twas eventually agreed upon that the crew’s freedom would be bought with Henderskütt’s sundries and shares, to be paid to the young widow for the loss of her man. Being mutually agreeable to all parties, the deal was struck, and those crew what could set off to their homes and families, or found new employment once more sailing the foam crested waves of fickle Mother Ocean!
The Cap’n, on the open sea, at one with the wind and the waves.
From all The Sci-Fi Guys, may you and yours, kith and kin alike, have the warmest of Thanksgivings, with calm tides and smooth sailing to ye all! Drink up, me hearties, yo ho!