Ol’ Barracuda stood in the centre on his small punt, his hands were lowered from his initial position showing he was not brandishing any weapon but he still did not reach for a mooring rope. Whether he was welcome to moor to the jetty directly behind the looming hulk of a ship that was the Revenge he wasn’t sure but he was also not taking any chances of offending the pirate crew.
After multiple days following the two ships across the oceans, staying far enough out of sight not to be seen, Ol’ Barracuda had arrived in port, anchored his ship and taken his punt to shore in the hope of a meeting with the captain he’d seen exiting the tavern in the wee hours of the morning all those many sea miles ago.
“Wha’ be yer business wit’ th’ cap’n?” Squiffy Teabooter called down to the small boat floating ten feet below the jetty.
Ol’ Barracuda pointed his hand at the Revenge. “I mean ye no harm. I stand afore ye wit’ no weapons requestin’ permission t’ moor t’ yer jetty. I mean ye no disrespect me laddie but me business be wit’ th’ cap’n o’ this mighty fine ship.”
The strangers voice had brought a small circle of the pirate crew to the leading edge of the jetty, their only purpose, to stand by their crew member in a show of unison. There was no swords raised, no pistols aimed but the threat was there, a threat no single man would be brave enough to take on alone.
“I understand wha’ ye be sayin’ ole pirate, but th’ cap’n’s time be valuable. He does nah ‘ave th’ time t’ speak t’ a wayward seafarer.” Squiffy said.
He may not have held any position of authority on the ship but Squiffy knew the way things worked. The captain did not need to give the order to not be disturbed it was unspoken and unneeded. Even whilst the ships were in dock each and every pirate had their jobs to do and that included the two captains, disturbing either captain unless proven to be necessary was always frowned upon.
Being the first one on scene Squiffy knew the protocol and was following it to a tee.
As a pirate captain of many years long since past Ol’ Barracuda didn’t expect to be greeted with open arms and cheers, in fact the pirate on the jetty above him was handling the situation exactly as he himself would have demanded of his own pirate crew when he was a captain. That aside Ol’ Barracuda wanted to speak to the pirate captain he’d see exiting the tavern and with his life expectancy being counted in hours not years, months or even weeks, he was not going to rest until he got to fulfil his task.
“I understand that yer cap’n be busy, young pirate. I understand that ye be doin’ th’ job required o’ ye. ‘n I understand this show o’ strength by th’ crew. I also respect it.” Ol’ Barracuda said definitely showing no fear of the situation or the crew of pirates before him.
“If ye respect our actions ‘n respect our methods then ye will also understand me reluctance t’ seek out th’ cap’n.”
Ol’ Barracuda didn’t want to explain to the pirate crew before him that his time was limited, that he needed to speak to the captain before that time ran out, it was no other pirate’s business. But as the conversation went on and it was clear that the pirate before him, who had still not introduced himself, was not going to deviate from his rule, he was going to have to try something.
“Wit’ which moniker may I address ye young pirate?” Old Barracuda asked, his boat still floating without being moored to the jetty.
“Th’ moniker be Squiffy. Wha’ be yers?”
“Barracuda Rattlebones be th’ name.” he replied knowing full well that the made up name would mean nothing to those before him. “I be pleased t’ meet ye all!”
There was a few moments of silence as both sides weighed up the situation and decided what their next moves would be. For Squiffy he was prepared to show force, despite not having a position of power a call to force from him against a perceived threat would be treated like a request directly from the captain. For Ol’ Barracuda he was simply prepared to not give up.
“Well Barracuda Rattlebones, if ye be willin’ t’ announce yer purpose fer seein’ th’ cap’n, yer reasons fer anchorin’ in our bay I shall be prepared t’ listen ‘n judge th’ worthiness o’ yer request.” Squiffy said defiantly.
Ol’ Barracuda thought carefully before answering.
“As I told ye me young pirate, I needs t’ see yer cap’n but wit’ th’ most respect I can offer ye me lad I do nah wish t’ share th’ reason why, fer they be between th’ cap’n ‘n meself.”
Squiffy was not convinced and told the old pirate in the boat below him that the story was not good enough.
“Perhaps if ye allow me t’ moor t’ yer jetty ‘n come ashore I can share wit’ ye, ‘n ye alone, th’ reasonin’ fer me request ‘n ye can relay that directly t’ th’ cap’n.” Ol’ Barracuda said realising he needed to give up something to get what he wanted.
Squiffy stood thinking about his next response for more than a minute. He could see there was no arms in the old man’s boat and the man did not appear to pose any risk, perhaps there was some leeway he could offer the old man who seemed desperate to speak with his captain.
“How about ye open yer coat, prove ye be in fact unarmed ‘n I come aboard?” Ol’ Barrcuda agreed. “Me maties here will be standin’ guard, ye will be shot without question if ye try anythin’. Do ye understand?”
Less than five minutes later Ol’ Barracuda was standing on the jetty circled by the crew which had suddenly grown in number. None had their weapons drawn but all were ready should the old stranger do something.
Ol’ Barracuda did not feel threatened, he knew his life could be taken in the flash of a single blade but Squiffy had given his word before leaving that he would not be harmed should he stand still while he fetched the captain and that’s what he planned to do. Just then he heard a voice coming from beyond the crowd that was circling him.
“I be Cap’n Seawolf Bildgepoole, who shall be requestin’ me attention?”
The crowd parted and in less than a second Ol’ Barracuda was standing face to face with the captain. He stared at the man before him, looked him dead in the eyes without blinking. Then quickly turned to Squiffy and said
“Wha’ be this trick ye playin’ on me lad? Where be th’ cap’n? I was honest wit’ ye, can ye nah be honest wit’ me?” Ol’ Barracuda said without fear of reprisal.
“Wha’ are ye on about ole scallywag, ’tis be th’ cap’n.”
Concern suddenly filled Ol’ Barracuda’s head, had his captaincy skills really failed him that badly? Had he been following the wrong ships all this time? Even through his alcohol haze on that jetty back at the tavern he clearly remembered seeing he word REVENGE across the rear of the ship. Then he realised his mistake.
Speaking directly to Captain Bildgepoole Ol’ Barracuda said.”Who was th’ man ye left th’ tavern wit’ last week? Th’ cap’n wit’ th’ fair maiden on his arm? It be ‘im I be wishin’ t’ see.”
Previous Pirate story here.