Pirates By D. I. Jolly (A Pirate Story – Part 1/8)
Jack hung over the side of his new boat throwing up everything he’d ever eaten in his whole life, or at least that’s how it felt to him. In between each retch and heave, he took a moment to wonder what made him buy a boat, curse the man who sold it to him, and curse his brother even more for talking him into the idea of being ‘an adventurer’. Thomas, on the other hand, was loving every moment. He’d spent the morning with the crew trying to learn all the terms and knots and anything he could. He’d helped put up the sail, even steered the ship out of the dock. He was now sitting on the deck next to his brother excitedly explaining his big plan.
“…You’ll see Jack, once you get your sea legs, you’ll see, this is the best decision you’ve ever made. We would have died at those desks working for Mr Tealeaf. Now we’re our own men. Fortune awaits us.”
“Oh don’t be like that.”
“Oh get off, you’ll be fine! Here, I’ll get Tiny to carry down to your room and fetch you a cup of water and when you wake up everything will be fine.”
Thomas jumped to his feet and waved a hand at the largest man on deck, whose name was actually Johnathan Small, but Thomas had instantly decided that he should, in fact, be renamed Tiny, and so that’s what he called him.
“Tiny, please take my brother to his bed and fetch him some fresh water, and probably a bucket.”
Tiny effortlessly lifted Jack onto his shoulder and carried the ever-greening man below deck. Annoyingly, Jack discovered that lying down and drinking some water did make him feel better but was reluctant to give his brother the credit of being correct. It had been a frantic morning organising everything and making sure they were fully and correctly stocked before departure. Thomas was good with people and the crew, but lousy when it came to forms, paperwork and organisation, which is where Jack truly excelled. Between a morning of heavy organising and an afternoon of constant vomiting, he thanked Tiny from the bucket and decided to let the gentle sway rock him to sleep.
To Jacks further annoyance, Thomas had once again right about getting sea legs and found that in the morning he could walk around quite easily with far less nausea, on top of that his brothers continued enthusiasm had become infectious. By the end of the day, Jack was once again confident about their choices and excited for their adventure.
Four weeks later and with no land in sight, even Thomas had started to feel the strain of ship life, and no wind was making it hard to stay enthusiastic.
Jack looked up as the door to his room opened and Thomas stepped in.
“Well brother, I have good news and bad news.”
“What’s the bad news?”
“There’s a massive storm approaching.”
Jack flushed a shade of green.
“W-what’s the good news?”
“Storm clouds mean wind and land, and land out here means that the map I found is right.”
“Wait – found? You told me you’d bought it.”
“Yes, well, that was a lie, buuuuut, looks like it was correct so, no harm done.”
“No harm done! We sold everything to fund this adventure of yours! Risked everything on a map you found! Where did you find it?”
“Underneath a drunken privateer outside the dockside pub.”
For a moment Jack considered throwing something heavy and sharp at his brother but the approaching storm was far more the critical matter. He frowned deeply and levelled his gaze.
“This conversation isn’t over. Now get the men from downstairs and make them do whatever needs to be done during a storm.”
“Tiny said you’ll need to lock up your cabinets and books and papers in the chests so that they don’t fly around during the storm.”
Jack nodded and started doing exactly that while Thomas got the ship and crew organised. The storm hit with a bang as water and hail stones slammed into the deck, and winds so strong that for a moment Jack thought the ship might take off flying. He had managed to lock everything away and with Tiny’s help had secured himself and his bucket to a bed post, but that didn’t stop him from lifting off and bring thrown around whenever the ship suddenly dropped off a wave. Thomas on the other hand was on deck at the wheel cat calling the storm and riding the ship like a surf board along the waves. With every insult he hurled at the clouds and lightening, the crew crossed themselves and prayed a little harder. But the smile on his face only grew with every crashing wave and as lighting narrowly missed striking the mast his laugh was loud enough to be heard by the whole crew. Eventually though, after what felt to Jack like days, the storm broke, and the ship and sea settled down enough for him to untie the rope and stagger up on deck to confront his brother. Thomas stood triumphant, pointing out to sea with a now smug smile. Jack followed his brother’s arm to see an island on the horizon growing larger.
“Oh balls, there will be no living with you now.”
“I knew that map was real.”
“Did you really steal it off a man asleep outside the dock pub?”
“Well, he wasn’t using it.”
“And that’s why we had to make plans and leave at such short notice, in case he figured out who took his map? Because it’s possibly a treasure map that you stole from a pirate?”
“Yes, well, pirates are criminals.”
“So what does that make us?”
Thomas’s smile broadened.