Shiver, kinders

by Dan

Fakebeard , Captain of the Octopus, was old school. She viewed rival pirates like Bradleigh Salterton (of the Seahorse) as unnecessarily touchy-feely in his approach to buccaneering. Unless his crew demanded it, he’d rarely slit the captain of a captured ship from gullet to gizzard, and his keel-hauling equipment was rusty from lack of use. He hoped a cat-o-nine tails was a magnificent sounding coat and preferred dressing-up to unspeakable cruelty. Then there was his stupendously annoying new parrot, who liked to be addressed as “Lawrence Lewellyn-Bowen presenter of BBC’s Changing Rooms” and screeched “lime green with a Louis quinze motif?” whenever it entered her cabin. Fakebeard herself had had to wear drag for most of her career and viewed clothes as no more than “things to keep me warm”. Which was why she couldn’t understand how it had happened in his cabin, on a beach towel with that stupid parrot shouting “up periscope!” and Salterton imploring her to mind his cape. Anyway, now she was digesting the news that she was “up the spinakker”, she’d “a bun in the forecastle”, or to put it simply, was pregnant. A meeting of the pirates ensued. Bluebeard, Blackbeard, Redbeard were in attendance. Each of them kindly offered to take over her ship , “just for a few years, until she was ready to return”, she could even ease her way back as bosun, part time, when she was ready. “What makes you assume I’m giving piracy up!” She shouted furiously, but muffledly, through her beard, smuggled years ago from Toys n Things in Barbuda. “Calm down dear” said the other beards. Salterton piped up: “you know” he said, “I’ve always fancied being a barge husband, raising kids and all that, if you could provide the doubloons I’d enjoy taking it easy!” A deal was agreed! Salterton would take a kind of Piraternity leave, whilst Fakebeard continued to terrorise the high seas. One condition was that he disposed of “Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen, of BBC’s Changing Rooms” who Fakebeard didn’t want influencing her kids.

Over the next few years Fakebeard continued to ransack Spanish galleons (often using only her teeth), freed several slave ships and was eventually absolved of all piracy crimes for extraordinary service in the Napoleonic Wars.

Salterton, meanwhile, attended his local Anti-Naval Class “for pirates about to parent”. When the baby was born his pirate finery soon became covered in sick and biscuit crumbs. On her occasional returns to his barge near Gloucester Fakebeard succumbed to the beach towel on several more occasions. This meant Salterton now struggled to maintain order amongst an ever-growing brood of cut-throat toddlers who “played” pirates with uncomfortably pointy wooden cutlasses and a stuffed parrot with a glass eye for interior design.

When he eventually returned to the sea, vowing to avoid children of all types forever, there was no doubt in Fakebeard’s mind which of them had been most heroic. Reluctantly, she organised a whip-round to purchase him a new Macaw as a back-to-work present.