by Dan

Pirates know how to ransack, they know how to deliver Black Spots and cut throats. They can sometimes sail a ship in the right direction. However they aren’t great at valuing treasure. Left alone with a treasure chest they are likely to try to fry to a Faberge egg whilst gazing in wonder at a plastic toyshop crown.

This was why, of all the parrots Bradleigh Salterton had owned, “Henry Sandon, Pottery Expert from the Antiques Roadshow” (as it liked to be addressed), was by far the most useful. Within six weeks of coming into his possession the avian antiquarian had made Salterton, hitherto a minor figure in piracy circles, the envy of the high seas.

The bird’s powers of assessment attracted the envy and fury of Salterton’s rivals whilst making him rich.

Their mood darkened further when they heard he’d somehow captured The Esmeralda, flagship of the Armada near Okracoke Inlet. He sent each of them a painting of himself, a “sailfie”, standing upon it’s prow dressed in fine new silk threads.

They rushed to their ships each vowing to capture the brilliant bird for themselves.

Fakebeard the female pirate was having a luxuriant and convincing new beard fitted when she heard. She’d been meaning to rebeard for years as her old one was obviously just a brown flannel. They hadn’t got the mouthhole cut when she rushed from the shop mid-fitting determined to capture “Henry” for herself.

Cap’n Salterton stood on deck feeling very self-satisfied, blissfully unaware of the angrily hirsute pirate captains converging upon his idyll.

From the hold he could hear the fruity tones of Henry Sandon.

“A marvellous piece of Clarisse Cliffe” it declared “where did you come across it?”

“Over there in the chest” said the confused crewman in charge of Treasure. “At auction this would be worth 400-500 doubloons!” concluded Henry confidently before assessing a musical saw, a Moderniste snuffbox and a repulsively ugly pewter owl. Just then, as the crew member was bringing him an unprepossessing flowery bowl, a rough voice shattered the peace outside.

“Avast behind” shouted Bluebeard.

Salterton turned, stung at this slur on his posterior size, only to see 30 ships arraigned before him.

“Your parrot or your life” Roared Eggbeard ferociously.

“Gnnrarhhhhhghcol!!” shouted Fakebeard through her uncut hairpiece.

A crew member mistook this for the word “Fire!”

A furious battle ensued.

With cannon to the left and right Salterton bellyflopped into the sea and scrambled onto the deck of Fakebeard’s ship where he lay whimpering and asking if he was dead.

“Never mind that idiot” barked Blackbeard “where’s the parrot?”

The buccaneers looked across at the sinking Esmeralda as the cannon smoke dispersed

and the noise of battle subsided. They could hear an excited voice in the hold

“The Wilted Rosebowl, I’ve waited all my life to see it!!....Quite ......literally..... priceless….!” Henry Sandon was quite overcome.

Then, as the pirates watched sadly, ship, parrot, crew member and Wilted Rosebowl disappeared beneath the waves, never to be seen again.