A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! (Part One Blog five)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part One Blog five)

By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris

Oli flips open the covering to the stairs to the hold.  She doesn’t need to switch the eyepatch yet, there’s enough sun seeping through the canon windows left open by the girls.  “All hand hoy!” she shouts out at the rows of hammocks hanging from the hold’s beams.  Some are two abreast a side.  She slaps the thick wooden pillars and shouts out again “All hand hoy!”  Some of the younger girls wake up with a start and fall out of their hammocks onto the chest below that contains all their belongings. 

She goes farther into the hold, occasionally with her hands above her head running her fingers along the thick ropes that connect the helm wheel to the anchor.  Her eyes methodically check the condition of the overhead rope that attaches the capstan to the chain of the anchor.  Once she reaches the section of the hold where the teenage girls sleep, she shouts, “Zala!” to a tall girl originally from Ethiopia.  “Go immediately to the Captain.  Aarini, you’re with me,” she says shoving the hammock of a girl born to a fishing family in India.

Aarini follows her as she walks farther along.  She finds the surgeons Canneta and Areso already out of their single extra wide hammock.  Canneta is so tall her head nearly touches the ceiling of the hold.  Oli has always been fascinated by Canneta’s appearance.  The surgeon has short orange hair and blue eyes with dark skin that Oli could only wish she could get tanning in the sun.  Canneta was ten in Nigeria when her father took her and her mother on his fishing boat to escape a battle between local tribes.  Areso on the other hand is much shorter than Canneta.  Oli thinks of the attractiveness of Tristan’s crew when she sees Areso.  Long dark hair flows over Areso’s shoulders and her face is mesmerizing.  She too was on her father’s fishing boat to escape fighting in North Korea when a whirlpool in the Japanese Sea sucked them into this world.   Both girls are attractive and smart and yet they cannot continue their hereditary by being together.  Oh well, Oli thinks.  Life is full of mysteries.

Past another set of wooden pillars is ‘Unibrow the Cook’ Nippie and her helper Janice.  Janice tosses and turns in her cot.  Maybe the string necklace the Captain asked ‘Harlot’ Thelma to make with the boy Dirst’s molar will set her at ease.  Nippie was on a ship full of orphans heading from Britain to Australia when it was sucked into a whirlpool.  Nippie doesn’t know her age or just refuses to tell anyone.  Where exactly she’s from is another mystery.  She’s tall and stalky and strong.  Her voice is harsh and boisterous.  Most of the time she keeps to herself so the galley is a perfect spot for her.  However, every girl has to work with her at some time.  Learning to cook and salt fish and other meats, knowing the right amount of beer or wine to add to fresh water to keep it safe, and how much vodka to add to fruits is imperative to survival on a ship.  ‘Unibrow Nippie’ is still snoring so Oli shakes her awake.

Next Oli wakes up ‘Ship Protector’ Umi.  Umi, a Japanese Ama pearl diver was on the ocean floor collecting oysters when she was pulled into a whirlpool.  Tiny and very fit, Umi is the only one who can search the ship for damage or ocean passengers.  She is also the one who communicates with the dolphin-tails and occasionally the fish-tails.

Lastly Oli gets to the stern of the hold where a door leads to the room where the Ship Builder sleeps and works.  She bangs on the door and shouts, “All hands hoy!  The bow of the ship has a funny smell.  Could be one of the sitsees in the Head is clogged!”  Inside the room she hears a thud she is sure is his head hitting one of the overhead beams.  Grinning she returns to the deck with Aarini.

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! (Part One Blog four)

A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates!  (Part One Blog four)

“Lower the Pinnace!” Oli shouts.  Not a single crew member from on the deck or in the hull stirs.

The Captain takes a swig of brandy and says, “We’ll do it ourselves.  Let’s take out the mast first and we’ll row.”

Oli grimaces.  Normally it takes six women to lower the pinnace.  At least it’s tied to the port side of the Nagua instead of flipped over on the deck. 

The Captain climbs down the rope ladder first while Oli and the Navigator hold onto the lowering ropes to keep the pinnace stable.  Once all three are in the boat Oli takes one set of oars while Master Jo Anne grabs hold of the ones nearest the bow. 

“How long to shore?” the Captain asks with her hands on the rudder stick.

“About ten minutes,” Oli replies.  She knows that with two more crew members the rowing would go much quicker.

They slide onto the sandy shore of the cove where Captain “Peg leg” and most of his crew are sleeping around a dying camp fire.

 The Captain stands up and unlatches the lid of her seat.  Oli sees her take out a wooden stake and mallet.  The Captain shoos her and the Navigator off the boat before she follows.  The Navigator throws a rope with a loop at its end from the bow of the pinnace to the Captain.  The Captain hammers the stake through the loop into the beach sand.  Watching the Captain has Oli thinking of what she would like to do to Barthadrow’s rotten heart.

Oli with the Navigator follow the Captain as she saunters over to Captain “Peg leg’s” snoring form.  Captain “Peg leg’s” stump is bare for all to see.  The Captain nudges Captain “Peg leg’s” side.

“What!  Are we being attacked?!” Captain “Peg leg” shouts out as he groggily grabs his detached false limb and twists it over the bottom of his stump.

“That would depend,” Oli hears the Captain say in a voice thick with contempt.

“Captain Alejandra,” Captain “Peg leg” says as he stands up and gives a sweeping bow.  Oli doesn’t miss how quickly Captain “Peg leg” composes himself by combing his grey hair back and pulling the sides of his waxed mustache to regain the curls.  He gives a toothy smile while his eyelids hood his calculating slate grey eyes.

“Captain “Peg leg”,” the Captain replies.

Captain “Peg leg” screws up his face and smooths out his goatee.  “This about the harlot girl?”

“No,” the Captain replies.

“Oh, well nothing really happened there,” Captain “Peg leg” says in a soothing, paternal voice.  “The tall girl with the amazon body.  The, the “Wheel Turner” I heard them call her.  Long brunette hair and eyes that blaze blue.”

Oli smiles as the Captain says nothing in reply.

“Aye, The Helmswoman, that’s who.  The one a man would gawk at but daren’t approach.  She pulled off young, innocent Dirst before the younger lass and he could be as one.”

“Where is he?”  The Captain’s voice echoes Death’s own call.

“Look, I heard the story about what you did to Crazy Bumbee when he tried to force himself on you.  How you slashed either side of his mouth so he had a permanent smile.  But this is different.  And I’m short on capable men.”

“I’ll take that into account,” the Captain says and draws her rapier.  Oli does the same as does the Navigator.

Captain “Peg leg” licks his lips.  He walks over to a young man with tousled dirty blond hair.  “Get up Dirst,” Captain “Peg leg” says in a hushed voice.

After the young man stands up Oli guesses he’s maybe sixteen or seventeen years old.  Tall and Lanky with a handsome grin but the dull blue eyes are miserly. 

“Consent,” the Captain says up into the young man’s face, “is much more enjoyable and safer than forcing oneself on another.”

“Oh, I learned my lesson,” the young man says with a false smile.

Oli sees a blur of motion from the Captain’s rapier.  The next moment the young man is looking at one of his molars lying at his feet. 

Using a hanky the Captain scoops it up.  “It will remind her of your apology.  However, if you still don’t understand the importance of the word consent, I’ll send my Master-of-Arms to visit you.  Oli sees the Captain glance at Dirst’s crotch.  “Perhaps a ball would make a better reminder than a tooth.”  Having said this, the Captain smiles sweetly up at the young man.  “Whether from below or above.”  Oli watches the young man for any rebuttal as the Captain turns away.  “Captain “Peg leg”,” she hears the Captain say.

“Captain Alejandra,” Captain “Peg leg” says with a sigh.

The young man stands frozen with one finger pressed against the gap in his mouth.  Oli turns and follows the Captain and Navigator back to the pinnace.     

Back on the deck of the Nagua the Captain turns to her and says with mischief, “Time to put your eyepiece on.  We’ll pull up the pinnace then I need you to go below into the hold my First Mate.”

“Aye Captain,” Oli replies with a cruel grin.  Out of her chest pocket she takes out an eyepatch and covers her left eye with it.