Friday, December 09, 2005

Captain Scuttlebutt and the Island Fortress

Captain Scuttlebutt stood near the back of the boat, one leg lifted as he surveyed the approaching shore. In the seats below him sat four of the foulest smelling pirates you would ever hope to meet. Each one rowed as hard as they could, grunting as they did so. The crew had been at sea for nearly 3 months and it was time to feel the solid purchase of land. The British navy had been pursuing them the whole while, and they were low on food and needed more powder for their muskets.
Scuttlebutt surveyed the island before him. It was a lush dot in a vast sea, a haven to his band of piratefolk. He had discovered this uncharted spec two decades before when he was a deck hand on the HMS Poppycock. To him that seemed someone else's life, someone else's memory. He had been convicted of mutinous speech and had been sent off in a small boat with Paco Jones, addfrift and without hope. But fate had smiled on them that day and the island had welcomed them with pineapples and fresh Tapir meat. They had lived like pagan kings, swimming by day and making sinful man-love by night. When finally rescued by a passing caravan of native fisherman, they were reluctant to leave. But leave they did, though Scuttlebutt had never forgotten the island. When he took over command of the Privateer Ticonderoga he had searched for the island and when he found it his crew built a vast fortress in the heart of the jungle, a base of operations for their illicit nautical deeds. Now once again he had returned to the island, his island.
The small boat ran aground on beach.
"Stay with the boat Chomp." Scuttlebutt said to one of the pirates, a small man with yellowing teeth and a toupee made of fox hide. "The rest of you come with me." Scuttlebutt and the 3 other pirates moved off the beach and into the jungle. No path was evident, but the Captain knew exactly where he was going. He kicked vines out of the way with his thick leather boots, and used his cutlass to clear the way of overgrown ferns. Bird of all sorts fluttered over head, and their vioces filled the jungle. Behind him silently went the other three; the brothers Ole and Christafør, as well as Joao. The brothers he had found brawling in an Panamanian pub, and took them on board as his muscle. Joao spoke no English, though he constantly spoke in his native language, and was a cunning man of many skills.
"Você cheiro de peixes inoperantes" Joao said as he walked behind the Captain. Ole and Christafør giggled like schoolgirls. Scuttlebutt ignored them and kept going. Ahead the large stone walls of the fortress loomed. Suddenly the Captain stopped. Coming from inside the fortress was a blaring noise, the type of which he had never heard. His mind raced. Someone else had found his secret refuge. He reached into his coat and took out his Blunderbuss. Seeing this the other 3 did the same.
"Eu necessito fazer exame de uma merda," Joao said loudly.
"Be quiet!" Scuttlebutt said between clenched teeth.
"Coma meus testículos," Joao muttered under his breath.
Scuttlebutt ignored him and took slow purposeful steps toward the large wooden doors that marked the entrance to the fortress. He pressed his hand against the door and slowly pushed it open, enough for him to peek inside. What he saw nearly fractured his mind.
Four young men were convulsing in the main hall, bashing on instruments the like he had never seen. Each was dressed in a manner that was foreign to his eyes. Unnatural lights blinked on and off from the ceiling, in many different colors. And the noise, dear Jesus the noise. Screeching and pounding, it seemed to Scuttlebutt that it had come from the depths of hell. He raised his hands to his ears, hoping he could stop the demon noise from entering his head. As he did so his Blunderbuss fell from his hands and landed on the floor. The noise stopped and the four men looked up from their devilish noisemaking. Scuttlebutt took his hands from his ears and picked up the gun. He opened the door wide and waived his companions in.
"Who are ye, and what are you doin' in my fortress?" he asked pointing his Blunderbuss at the them.
"Hi, I'm Eric," one of them said. "We were just practicing."
Scuttlebutt eyed him suspiciously. "Practicing what?".
"Our music," the one called Eric said.
Scuttlebutt laughed. "Ye call that music? That is noise for noise sake!"
Christafør nodded his agreement. "Seriously my Karelian Bear Dog makes less noise when she is in heat."
Eric shook his head. "No its music. Check it out." The four suddenly started in on their instruments again. The horrifying sounds started anew. The pirates recoiled. Joao screamed and let loose a shot from his Blunderbuss. It hit one of the strangers in the chest and sent him hurtling back. The noise stopped and the remaining three strangers stood in shock.
"Oh god," Eric said. "You killed Sebastian."
"Eu necessito ainda cagar," Joao said arching his back. Eric looked at Scuttlebutt hoping for a translation. Scuttlebutt just shrugged.
"Ye have defiled my inner sanctum and you must pay," Scuttlebutt said moving closer to Eric. "Do you speak for these two as well?" He pointed to the other frightened young men.
"Uh," Eric started. "Yeah. That's Bjorn and Hisham."
Scuttlebutt tucked the Blunderbuss back in his coat and smiled. "Well my boys, your now mine."
The frightened young men were seized by the hulking Norwegian brothers and the Joao.
"Take them back to the ship," Scuttlebutt ordered. "And send more men ashore to clean up this place. I be needing some grub tonight. Put them in the hold. Dress them in the finest ladies gowns and bring them back this eve to dance for my pleasure."
He laughed a hearty laugh. Eric, Bjorn and Hisham looked at each other, scared of what lay ahead.

Will this this quartet turned trio escape from the clutches of Scuttlebutt to once again play their peculiar brand of "music"? Find out in Episode 2: The Daring Men of the Ticonderoga