The night is cold and wet as the thunderstorm begins to worsen and to pound the English shore. Not far from the harbor there is a pub where two rugged men are sharing a table and a large mug of beer to keep filling the flagons they have in their calloused hands. Despite the late hour the barkeep doesn’t mind these two, or to be more precise, he knows better than to try and enforce rules on them. Pirates after all can be a problem if they are angry; but serve them what they want and keep them drunk and happy? They’ll cause no trouble and if they are especially pleased will even pay for what they eat and drink. The barkeep, a shrewd balding man of short stature, has dealt with these two before and knows how to keep them in good spirits. He even likes them a little bit as they seem to be decent fellows as pirates go.
The first pirate, a tall and lean man with the beginnings of a pot belly, a short well trimmed beard, and small scar on his chin, takes another swig of his beer. With a laugh he says.
“This is a good night for a drink what with the weather be’in too bad for us to sail eh’ Rum Jon?”
Jon, a large, hulking brute of a man with long scraggly hair that hung over his dirty face that showed a grin, replied.
“Oh aye Captain Scurvy, every night no matter the weather is a fine night for drinking!”
They laughed loud and heartily at this and both took another long drink of their flagons.
“Tis true, very true indeed mate”
Scurvy says as Jon refills their flagons and motions for the barkeep to bring them another mug.
“Hey Jon, we been through a lot together ain’t we?”
Still with a grin Jon answered
‘Indeed we have. We seen some sights that many a man have never dreamed of. Like when we got lost on our way back home from Morocco and we ended going around in circles.”
“Ah yes because my dratted compass had gotten waterlogged.”
Finished the Captain with a laugh as he recalled how he and his crew practically had to start a war with the natives
to get a replacement.
“How about the time when you and I were lads and we set off to find treasure?”
Jon smiled as his memory went back to the days when they were children. Even then they were both obsessed with adventure and the thrill of discovering treasure, both large and small.
“That little raft we made of driftwood that we used to cross the stream just out of town. That was the real start of all this. How you came about a map is beyond me but sure enough it led us to our first chest of treasure.”
“Oh aye treasure it was, just an old trunk with some clothes in it. Not worth a thing to anyone but us.”
Said the Captain. He then turned to the barkeep and shouted.
“Bring us some food on the double! Roasted pork will do us fine and don’t hold back non on the dressings.”
“Give us some bread too”
Added Rum Jon. The barkeep nodded and quickly went to the kitchen to get them what they wanted. He did not want to miss their conversation. Talk of adventure, pirates, and treasure always excited him.
“Captain, where did you get that map anyway?”
Scurvy smiled at his old friend.
“Jon I drew it on some paper. I’ve always been good at drawing up maps and I did it just for fun. I had no idea we would actually find
somethin’. It’s a wonder how things turned out for us since that. We even joined the royal navy together.”
Jon chuckled at learning that their discovery had been by chance.
“Aye the RN taught us the sea and now we either fight or run from them.”
Their food now in front of them they begin to feast while they talk.
“Say Jon, where did your nickname come from? You never drink rum. It always disagreed with you. ”
As he wiped some juice away from his mouth he replied.
“While in the navy I used to break rum bottles over my head for a laugh. The name just stuck after that. I always had me a hard head.”
They both laughed at this and continued to eat. Jon knew about his Captain’s name. Chris Mattern, while serving on board his first naval ship learned the hard way on what to eat while at sea. He got so sick that the navy nearly discharged him once they got him back on land to recover. Since then he took the nickname as both a joke and a reminder of hard lessons learned. With the food now gone the two pirates began to gather up their things. To show the barkeep that they meant no harm they had always left their weapons at the door. Their coats and hats however were on the floor near the table and these they now picked up.
“Say Jon, why do you always have to be so formal? You needn’t call me Captain when it’s just you and me here. I appreciate it when its in front of the crew, but we been mates for as long as I can recall.”
“I just keep to habit is all. If I started calling you by your first name all the time I would forget to keep to titles later. Besides Chris Scurvy doesn’t have the same ring to it. Speaking of the crew, we need to do some recruitin’ soon. Our last fight with those French dogs hurt us plenty it did.”
Before Captain Scurvy could answer they both turned in surprise when the barkeep leaps from where he stood and begged to be let on board. The pirates stood looking at him for a minute in silence and glanced at each other. Both broke out in laughter.
‘Captain we have ourselves an adventurous one. What say you?”
Laughing loud Scurvy ordered:
“We can always use a man like that, bring everything of value from this place and get it on the ship on the double. We’ll make a
pirate of you yet!”