Monday, September 12, 2016

A Right Proper Pirate Raid

Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock, tick tock, tick, tock, tick, tock…

The room was mostly austere. There was a small table in one corner on which sat several small casks of gun-powder with black boot logos painted on them. There was an off-white canvas sheet covering a small heap of junk or clutter or something. There was a small window on one wall, through which one could see the entirety of the Black-Booted Bay, so called because it was the location of the Black-Booted Fortress, headquarters of that scurvy rapscallion of a pirate, Black-Booted Bernie the 3rd. There were two wooden doors on two of the other walls. And on the fourth and final wall yet to be described there was not a single thing at all, except for a picture of some pretty flowers in a purple vase and a lightswitch with a little skull and crossbones themed border around it and two ornate black cast-iron sconces with five glowing light bulbs each mounted in the corners and the clock ticking and tocking and like a single scrap of torn wallpaper hanging off the wall.

Well, the clock on the wall went on ticking and tocking and ticking and tocking. It’s what clocks did while they were waiting for something to happen, and this clock was certainly no exception to that rule. The rule to which this particular clock was an exception was the rule that clocks usually are not persons. This was the Fabled Tick-Talking Clock of Person-Being. It opened its eyes and looked this way, and then thattaway, and then thissaway again. And then it sighed. Nothing was happening in this small room. You’d think the Black-Booted Fortress of a Black-Booted Evil Pirate Captain Lord would have a lot more of interest going on.

But no, all that was going on for this clock to listen to was its own unending mantra of tick tock tick tock tick tock. Even talking Clocks can’t shut up their own ticking. That would be kind of like stopping one’s own heart from beating and we all know how that usually turns out.

So the Clock looked out the window and saw nothing but a bunch of boring clouds and a bunch of boring water and a boring ol’ pelican grabbin’ a boring ol’ fish. The Clock sighed again and shut its eyes. Wow, it was bored.

Then it opened its eyes again in surprise when one of the wooden doors opened suddenly and a very out-of-breath pirate ran into the room. He had spectacles on and black boots and was not smiling. He shut the door again and ran through the room and opened the other door and ran through it right on out of the room again.

The Clock blinked. And then it blinked again. And then the pirate poked his head back into the room and shut the door, leaving the room as it had been before he had entered.

The Clock blinked again. But then it heard something. “Get back here, Black-Booted Bernie, you dirty pirate of a rascal!” shouted someone from somewhere beyond the first door. Then that someone burst into the room, knocking the door clean off its hinges with a single kick. It was some kinda pirate with a plain ol’ small regular pirate hat and a golden cutlass in his hand. Well, he ran through the room and also kicked down the other door and went through it.

“Gotcha!” the Clock heard the pirate say. “Stop right there, Black-Booted Bernie!”

“Curses!” came the response from the other pirate with the spectacles and the black boots. “It’s Captain Arrrrenan!”

The Clock’s eyes widened and it gasped. “Wow!” it said.

~   ~   ~​

Captain Arrrrenan ran through the small room and into the next room. It appeared to be a luxurious pirate captain’s quarters with a big Black-Booted bed and gold coins and rubies and treasure maps and assorted skull and crossbone themed paraphernalia scattered all around.

There was also a Black-Booted bespectacled pirate standing in the middle of the room.

“Gotcha!” said Captain Arrrrenan. “Stop right there, Black-Booted Bernie!”

“Curses!” said Black-Booted Bernie. “It’s Captain Arrrrenan!”

“Ye got that right, ye scurvy ol’ rogue of a scourge! For ten minutes I been chasin’ ye all o’er this here Black-Booted Fortress o’ yours and now I gotcha rightly cornered! So it’s time for ye to die or else beg for mercy!”

“Wait!” said the Black-Booted pirate. “I’m not Black-Booted Bernie!”

“Ye can’t fool me, Bernie, ye ol’ scoundrel! I see them Black-Boots o’ yours.”

“Nay, ‘tis the right and proper troof!” he insisted. “Me ain’t no Black-Booted Evil Pirate Captain Lord.”

“If what ye says is tha troof, then why doncha proof it to me ‘stead of yammering with that ol’ jaw’ve yers? And maybe I won’t skewer ye to death.”

The lyin’ dog of a pirate turned and hung a large black-framed picture frame on the wall over the big Black-Booted bed. He stood back, and when Captain Arrrrenan looked upon the picture frame he saw that it was a large full body portrait of his scourge of a nemesis, Black-Booted Bernie, complete with spectacles and Black-Boots and everything.

Then Captain Arrrrenan looked at the pirate he’d been chasin’ and gasped!

Without the large black-framed portrait in the way, he could see this truly weren’t no Black-Booted Evil Captain Pirate Lord at all. T’were a plain ol’ scurvy underling of a pirate! His boots were regular ol’ brown, and he had no spectacles upon his face at all. He didn’t even have a pistol or cutlass or nuthin’, just a dirty ol’ feather duster in one hand and a bottle've off-brand chemical cleaning agent hangin’ from his hip.

“Curses!” said Captain Arrrrenan. “Ye fooled me with yer’ tricksy disguise! Where’s yer Evil Pirate Captain Lord?”

“I’ll tells ye,” said the plain ol’ pirate. “He’s on sabbatical from pillagin’ and plunderin’ so’s he can be searchin’ for a new Great Gunsmith since that ol’ master of a gunsmith Grant Granterson retired last week. Black-Booted Bernie told me he was leavin’ to do that and I was to mind his pictures and his favorite casks of gunpowder and dust ‘em twice a day. He ain’t here, so just set the thought’ve murderin’ him outta yer mind!”

“Curses again!” said Captain Arrrrenan. “I done successfully raided this here Black-Booted Fortress all by meself and not a single right defeated and proper slain eternal-sworn arch-nemesis of a Black-Booted Foe t’ show fer it. S’enough te drive a pirate right up the wall with anger!”

As if to punctuate the point, Captain Arrrrenan casually swung his golden fightin’ cutlass and chopped that great portrait in two right down the middle and two half Black-Booted Bernies fell down on either side of the room.

“Arrrrrrr!” cried the other pirate. “Me handywork! All that dustin’ and cleanin’ for naught!”

And the pirate drew his bottle of chemical cleaning agent and starting sprayin’ it at Captain Arrrrenan with all his might! But Captain Arrrrenan just knocked it out of his hand with the hilt of his golden fightin’ cutlass.

So the pirate swung his feather duster hither and thither with great gusto, but once more Captain Arrrrenan knocked that out of his hand with a well-placed front kick.

But the pirate, right and proper enraged by the destruction of his Evil Pirate Lord’s favorite portrait, still didn’t give up! He started kickin’ and punchin’ and just generally floundering with his lame pirate fightin’ skills. And so Captain Arrrrenan got so frustrated that he stuck out one thumb and poked him right in the eyeball.

“Ow ow ow ow!” said the pirate, holdin’ his face.

“There!” said Captain Arrrrenan. “I done poked outcher eyehole. That makes me yer new master pirate lord, them’s the rules.”

“Yessir, so’s they are and fair’s fair,” said the pirate, nodding his head and pullin’ an eye-patch out of his pocket and puttin’ it on over his ruined eye. “Ye poked out me eye fair and square and that means from today until the end of all piratey days of piratey doin’s, this here scoundrel by the name o’ Custodial Skip is yer good and loyal servant.”

Captain Arrrrenan sheathed his golden fightin’ cutlass and smiled a big piratey smile. “So’s ye are, but from now on yer name’s One-Eyed Skip. By the by, I got me a bully custodian a’ready, so ye’ll be on fightin’ duty once I get ye right proper trained.”

“Yo Ho Ho!” said One-Eyed Skip.

~   ~   ~​

The Clock was still busying itself being a person and just generally eavesdropping on the previously described encounter since it couldn't really do anything else except just passively go tick tock tick tock and so on and so forth, when the two pirates came back into the small boring room.

“Okay, One-Eyed Skip,” said Captain Arrrrenan. “Ye keep a lookout on that door o’er yonder while I help meself to these here casks of gunpowder. I had me eyes set on nemesis-destroyin’ but seein’ as that ain’t possible, I’ll settle for doin’ a little gunpowder stealin’ instead.”

So Skip set about pointin’ his looker at the door while Captain Arrrrenan turned his back and started to pack up the casks.

Well a moment later, the Clock saw someone come through the door. It was a large dangerous looking rogue, to be sure, with thirteen single shot pistols hangin’ all over his muscular frame and a silver killin’ knife hangin’ from his side and a big wide-brimmed leather pirate captain’s hat on his head. The Clock looked at this scoundrel and raised its eyebrows. Then it looked at One-Eyed Skip, and raised its eyebrows a little more. Skip was lookin’ at the door into Black-Booted Bernie’s private bedchamber, not the door out into the Black-Booted Hallway, so he didn’t even see the new pirate come in. And so the Clock looked back over at the newcomer and raised its eyebrows again ‘cause this big villain of a scoundrel drew one of his single shot pistols and leveled it right at Captain Arrrrenan’s backside and pulled the trigger.

“Yow!” said Captain Arrrrenan, takin’ a bullet right in the back and spinnin’ round and facing his attacker. “Who’re you?”

The big pirate smiled a big piratey grin with several gaps in his big ugly pirate teeth. “I’m Thirteen Bullet Barry, the nastiest ol’ nasty ye’ll ever meet! And the one to be killin’ ye! I heard about how ye got offa that deserted island me ol' master Evil Pirate Captain Lord Black-Booted Bernie the 3rd right proper deposited ye on and ye didn't die like ye was s'posed te nor even lose an ounce a weight from right proper starvin'. But if ye thought all ye had comin' to ye was a little island starvation then ye'd better think again!” The Clock raised its eyebrows a bit more as Barry drew another single-shot pistol and fired it right into Captain Arrrrenan’s chest.

“Oy!” said Captain Arrrrenan, “Stop it, that hurts! Skip, ye scurvy rogue, why didn’t ya warn me ‘bout this scallywag afore he shot me?”

One-Eyed Skip shrugged. “Sorry, Cap'n. S’only one eye on me face now so’s I couldn’t watch both doors all at the same time. And ye didn’t really specify which door ye meant so I did the ol’ eeny meeny routine and alas it came up the wrong way.”

“Aye, s’a fair point, so’s it is. Nevermind.”

Thirteen Bullet Barry fired a couple more single-shot pistols on Captain Arrrrenan and after an “Ow” and an “Ow” Captain Arrrrenan asked, “Skip, why ain’t ye helpin’ me fight off this here ruffian?”

One-Eyed Skip shrugged. “Sorry, Cap'n. Ye ain’t done me fightin’ trainin’ yet and I don’t wanna mess this up, and besides, ye right proper emancipated me from me best weapons a second ago.”

“Aye, s’a fair point too. Nevermind.”

Well, the Clock watched as the big pirate kept drawin’ his single-shot pistols one by one and emptyin’ their chambers into the pirate captain, and each time a bullet was fired the Clock raised its eyebrows a little more until at last after thirteen bullets had hit Captain Arrrrenan the Clock’s face was really starting to cramp up with the strain. Captain Arrrrenan fell backwards onto the small gunpowder cask table and clutched his chest and stopped moving.

“Arrrrrrrr!” said Thirteen Bullet Barry, walking over to the fallen pirate captain. “That ought’ll teach ye to be burglin’ me favorite Black-Booted Evil Pirate Captain Lord.”

Well, the Clock’s eyebrows weren’t done raising yet, since just as T.B. Barry got within punchin’ distance of Captain Arrrrenan, the brave pirate captain’s eyes shot open and looked right into Barry’s villainous eyes. “Ye think a mere thirteen bullet wounds to me body’s gonna stop me, ye ol’ fool of a joker?” Then Captain Arrrrenan, still clutchin’ a cask of gunpowder, punched Barry in the gut so hard that his belly was right proper punctured and then he pulled his hand back out again without the cask.

“Take this, ye nasty ol’ scurvy dog of a Black-Booted Evil Pirate Captain Lord’s rogue of a second-rate miscreant of a crony!” shouted Captain Arrrrenan. Barry reached for his killin’ knife, but Captain Arrrrenan was a touch faster and when Captain Arrrrenan punched him again right in the gut, he punched with such force that the gunpowder ignited and Thirteen Bullet Barry exploded into thirteen little Barry pieces scattered all over the small boring room.

The Clock’s eyebrows just lifted right off its face at this point and fluttered gently to the ground. Captain Arrrrenan spotted them and then looked right at the Fabled Tick-Talking Clock.

“Whoops,” said the Clock. “Busted!”

“Aha!” said Captain Arrrrenan. “One of Black-Booted Bernie’s spies! I’ll hand it to me ol’ nemesis, he surely knows how to get his spies into the most remote and exotic of places. I can’t never keep the scallywag outta me business and so’s he’s always figurin’ out me plans and—Skip, why ain’tcha lookin’ at this here magic Tick-Talkin’ Clock with me?”

One-Eyed Skip shrugged. “Sorry, Cap'n. Me eyesight ain’t so good as it used to be since me vision range got right proper halved in half when ye done poked out me favorite eye-hole.”

“Aye, s’the fairest point ye’ve made so far, me bucko. Nevermind.” And Captain Arrrrenan walked over to the Clock on the wall and delicately cleaned a chunk of Barry’s guts off its topside and looked right into its two beady little magic Clock eyes and frowned.

“Ye listen well, ye good-fer-nuthin bilge-rat of a Black-Booted Pirate Lord servin’ magic Clock of a villain,” said Captain Arrrrenan. “Why ain’tcha announce yer presence sooner like a right proper polite buckaroo?”

The Fabled Tick-Talking Clock of Person-Being answered him in a right proper dignified fancy English professor accent. “My apologies, Captain Arrrrenan. The issue is that I've had such a scarcity of recreation for so many months and become so thoroughly accustomed to having nothing to fill my time nor even so much as a single civilized person to speak with, that I found my enthusiasm for speaking had drained right out of me, leaving me but a veritable shell of a Magic Talking Clock rather than the loquacious fellow you would be perfectly reasonable to expect.”

“Well, I ‘spose that makes sense,” Captain Arrrrenan said, scratchin’ his chin. “S’prolly right proper boring to hang on a wall all the time, ain’t it?”

One-Eyed Skip came over and eyeballed his last remainin’ eyeball at the clock as well. “Wow, lookit the time, Captain Arrrrenan, it’s four-thirty already?”

“Curses!” said Captain Arrrrenan. “I meant to be done with me dirty deed and outta here by quarter to four and here I am foolin’ around explodin’ Black-Booted Evil Pirate Captain Lord servin' enforcers and chattin’ up the local magic timepieces.”

Captain Arrrrenan turned and found Thirteen Bullet Barry’s head and plucked off his wide-brimmed leather pirate hat and took off his own ol’ stinkin' dungball of a hat and tossed it out the window onto the water of the Black-Booted Bay where it was immediately eaten by a great white shark. Then he put the new right proper hat on his head and gathered up the rest of Black-Booted Bernie’s favorite casks of gunpowder and turned again and said, “come on, One-Eyed Skip, time to go.”

But he stopped at the door and turned to look at the Clock, “Hear me well, ye ol’ dirty snake of a Clock. I ain’t done with yer master Black-Booted Bernie. Ye best be warnin’ him I’m comin’ for him again once he’s done romancin’ gunsmiths or whatever right proper villainy he’s up to. And he’d better have more up his nasty ol’ sleeve of his’n just thirteen bullets and remote desert starvation islands or he’s gonna have a hell of a bad day! And ye too if ye don’t mind yerself! Don’t think I won’t smash a clock just cause I feel sorry fer ya that ye can’t walk or play cards or nuthin, but seriously though that sounds pretty boring and I feel right proper sorry for ye.”

“Don’t worry about it,” said the Clock.

And then Captain Arrrrenan walked right on out of that Black-Booted Fortress with One-Eyed Skip followin’ behind him.

Then the Fabled Tick-Talking Clock of Person-Being blinked and blinked and ticked and tocked and got right back into its unending mantra of tick tock tick tock tick tock.

“Best day ever!” said the Clock. “Wow!”

The End.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Small Pirate Spiel

Once upon a time there was a small pirate ship with a small crew of ten small pirates living on it. One day, one of the crewmembers by the name of Ol' Jim Crankyface found that his chest full of rusty old bent up bottle caps was missing.

"Arrrrrr!" croaked Ol' Jim, "some scallywag's pinched me favorite treasure box!" He raised the problem to the rest of the crew and demanded to know who the thief was.

"S'just bottlecaps," said One-Eyed Skip. "No great loss or nuthin'."

Ol' Jim found this quite an irksome attitude. "They's was me own treasure, so's they was! How'd ya feel if'n I stole ye torn up scraps've ol' newspapers?"

Skip laughed. "Ya think I care 'bout them scraps? They's just lining me parrot cage so's to facilitate cleanin' up the dung."

"I'll cleave ya to the brisket!" shouted Crankyface.

But Captain Arrrrenan put a prompt end to the bickering before any swords could be drawn with a tip of his wide-brimmed piratey captain's hat and but a few well-chosen words:

Me buckos

Treasure's treasure and dung is dung
A bottlecap pilfered's a rogue's heart stung
Now hear me well and do mind yer true duty
Ye'll search this small ship and find the lost booty
Ne'er a rogue's things should e'er go gone and missing
So if the thief be found, Davy Jones he will be kissing

You see, while they were truly pirates of a most reprehensible breed, the captain ran a fair ship according to rightful libertarian pirate principles. Never a pirate of his crew or a free passenger on his ship should ever have their private effects damaged or stolen or they'd be answering to the captain directly, and he wasn't a merciful man. 'Course the ship's law ended right there and so a violent hand raised against man, woman, or child outside the ship was good pirate form fair and true. But between brother rogues there was to be no violence or theft.

And so with a hearty "Yo Ho Ho" the ten small pirates searched the small pirate ship and quickly found the chest of bottlecaps hidden under the wooden steps leading down into the galley. The thief was not found. And that was that.

Until the next day when the bottlecaps went missing once more. Ol' Jim complained all the louder and Captain Arrrrenan gave the same speech as the day before and the ten small pirates resumed their Yo Ho Ho-ing and searched the small pirate ship and once more found the bottlecaps hidden under the wooden steps. And once again the thief was not found. And that was that.

Until the next day when the bottlecaps went missing yet another time. This time, however, Ol' Jim rose in the night and found them gone and ventured out onto the deck where he spied a dark and shady figure holding the chest. "Caught red-handed, ye arrrrr!" And Ol' Jim shouted, "Buckos! Me buckos! Avast! To arms, the thief!"

He couldn't tell who the thief was because he was wearing a mask. In fact, he was wearing a full body black latex costume with a black cat theme.

As the other pirates emerged from below deck they saw the villain and shouted "The thief! The thief! Who be the thief?"

"Ye'll never figure out who me is!" the roguish rogue declared! "Ye'll never see through me super-villain cat-burglar costume!"

"It's One-Eyed Skip!" said Two-Eyed Joe.

"Wuzza?" said the thief. "How'd ye see through me costume ye veritable super sleuth!?"

Captain Arrrrenan handled that one:

Me buckos

A scoundrel's a scoundrel, a thief is a thief
Mysteries and quandaries put pirates through grief
But counting is easy and we men count ten
Yet nine do I count and I'll count 'em again
There's one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine!
I know all yer names, and I surely know mine
One face is not here now, that is easy to see,
whether wearing one eye-patch or zero or three
The pirate now missing ain't Joe, Jim, or Zip
'Tis plain the masked villain is named: One-Eyed Skip!

The thief pulled off his mask and sure enough it was a one-eyed pirate with but a single eye-patch and a face that surely belonged to the rogue named Skip. He shouted, "Curse ye and yer basic logic, ye scurvy nerds!"

The scoundrel made for the mainmast and clambered as clamberingly as he could up the ropes towards the crow's nest. But a dearth of eyes made for a dearth of depth perception and while his effort was truly impressive, his inability to find sure footing on the ropes made his climb quite the challenge. And so he slipped and found himself dangling helplessly with his foot caught in a tangle.

"Help me, me buckos!" he cried. "I'm caught!"

So they climbed up and cut him loose and brought him down and took away the chest of bottlecaps and gave it back to Ol' Jim.

"Ye stole me bottlecaps," said Ol' Jim.

"Yarrr," said One-Eyed Skip that thieving scurvy dog of a thief.

"Why fore'd ye do it, ye scallywag?"

"Yarrrrrrrr," said One-Eyed Skip, "yarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..." he said, scratching his chin, pondering his response, "yarrrr..."

And at last he answered:

A pirate has dreams
A scoundrel has wishes
Me wishes ye not makes me sleep with the fishes

For wishes be pow'rful
And dreams not relenting
Do goad, push, and prod me to deeds now repenting

Tis always me hunger
Since I's but a child
To bag a bit o' glee 'n be a wee bit o' wild

To adorn a cat costume
And burgle me best bucko
And pinch his paltry treasure and (alas) press me lucko

So be ye not vengeful
Me most fairest of friends
Tha's me dark secret, and there's me tale ends

The other pirates blinked. And they stared. And then they stared and blinked and stared some more. They didn't know quite what to think, so they just blinked and they blinked and they stood there and stared. Well, at last they took pity on him because he seemed quite pathetic. And besides, each one of them would be lying if they'd said they hadn't thought seriously about experimenting with illicit latex-costumed cat-burglary.

And Ol' Jim Crankyface, though his crankiness was legendary, came forward and was the first to lay a hand of forgiveness and understanding on the shoulder of the villainous man who'd taken his most trifling of treasures. And with tears streaming down the deep cranky wrinkles of his cracked and knotted face, he said, "Surely ye be me best bucko still now, and forever ye'll be me friend though ye stole me best box o' nuthins."

"Yo Ho Ho!" they all cried, and again, "Yo Ho--"


A huge blast of a cannon burst broke up the merry scene and then a cannonball tore right through the railing on one side of the ship and struck One-Legged Jonesy right in the back of his one remaining leg and he flipped over and flopped all around like a little pirate rag doll that had just been hit by a miniature cannonball.

"Avast!" cried Captain Arrrrenan. "It's that scurvy dog of a dirty rapscallion Black-Booted Bernie the 3rd. Arrrrrrrrr, me good-fer-nuthin' lost long half-brother of an arch-nemesis!"

Captain Arrrrenan was so angry that he himself readied his favorite pirate cannon for firing. First he carefully poured in the powder, and though he was super angry he was a pretty solid pirate captain so he kept his cool and was careful to load just the right amount. Then he pushed in the wad and then the biggest most deadliest cannonball he had with a red skull and crossbones painted on it even, which he'd been saving for just this very occasion. He rammed all that stuff down in there to the breech, and then he took the lit cigar out of his mouth and paused to say "Take this you dirty ol' sunnuva nasty rotten scallywag!" before he lit the fuse and turned around and put his fingers in his ears. (Safety first. Maintaining healthy ears is very important.)


The cannonball soared through the air over the water and for a few seconds there right smack dab in between the two small pirate ships the cannonball drifted in slow motion and it might have seemed to an observer who was watching a movie that there was a brief moment of calm and serenity and peace where the sweet-ass pirate theme music faded away to leave the soothing sounds of the ocean churning its pleasant little song of water lapping against the wood of two small pirate ships and maybe the call of a seagull or two, and strangely enough it was as though the red painted skull and crossbones was smiling a little piratey smile. But then the cannonball snapped out of its little slow motion calm before the storm moment and careened smoothly over and crashed right through the mast of Black-Booted Bernie's ship. First there was a little creak, and then a little crack, and then the mast started tipping over, and then it really started falling down, and though a couple badguy pirates tried to hold it up, it was just too heavy and it fell down and pinned a couple badguys under it. "Owwww!" they cried. "Arrrrrrrrr! Ow."

Well, the ships were right next to each other now, so all of Captain Arrrrenan's crew grabbed their swingin' ropes and swung right on over there to the other ship. Arrrrenan himself firmly held his rope with one beefy muscle arm while mid-swing he expertly drew his golden fightin' cutlass with the other and deftly lopped off three of Black-Booted Bernie's underlings' heads with a single swipe.

"Get over here, Bernie!" Captain Arrrrenan shouted. "You broke my ship's railing! And you're gonna pay for it to be repaired!"

"Oh yeah," shouted Bernie, "well, you broke my mainmast, so maybe you should pay for that, huh?"

"Psssh," said Captain Arrrrenan. "That was done in self-defense, that doesn't count! Now get over here and gimme your coin-purse!"

"Ha ha ha ha!" laughed Bernie. "No way! Come and get me!" And he scampered off towards the poop deck.

Captain Arrrrenan made a motion to One-Eyed Skip and Ol' Jim Crankyface to follow him and the three of them made a Triple Pirate Flying V Formation and chased after the nefarious black-booted pirate. A scurvy dog wearing a bandana and holding a knife in his teeth leapt out of a nearby barrel going "YARRRR!" and swingin' his cutlass at Ol' Jim, but luckily this guy was coming from the side of One-Eyed Skip's face that still had an eye on it, so Skip managed to turn in time and chop him hard right in the brisket, whatever that was.

"Skip," said Ol' Jim Crankyface, "ye saved me life!"

You see, thought Captain Arrrrenan about not having executed Skip for his wrongdoing. That's why forgiveness is always the best policy. Just as he finished thinking the profound thought, he hacked a couple of Bernie's pirates down and rushed towards the poop deck.

Just as he almost got there he saw a big pirate coming down the stairs.

"Aw crap," said Captain Arrrrenan to his two teammates. "This'll be Bernie's number one best UFC Fightin' Shaolin-Trained Champion First Mate Gun-Totin' Gary!"

"That's right, Captain Arrrrenan," said Gun-Totin' Gary. He pulled out his two seven-chambered silver revolvers, one with a glistening ruby handle and the other with a shimmering emerald handle, obviously taken very well care of and polished regularly even though this guy was a lazy ol' underachieving pirate first mate and not even a proper ship captain like any respectable pirate fightin' champion ought to be. He went on, "I've got fourteen bullets here with your name on them, and (Nota bene) I made absolutely sure to get fourteen shots ready for you 'cause I heard about you and how you survived that encounter with my cousin Thirteen Bullet Barry. Well, if you thought all you had comin' to you was a mere thirteen bullets then think again!"

And with that Gun-Totin' Gary pointed his revolvers and started alternately pullin' the triggers on both the ruby and the emerald handled weapons as quick as fourteen quick little lightning bolts. He made sure to count carefully so he didn't look like a doofus pulling the triggers on empty guns after he'd fired all the rounds. And then he spun his dual revolvers on his fingers and slotted 'em back into their proper holsters. And finally he looked at Captain Arrrrenan to make sure he had died.

And then he gasped!

Captain Arrrrenan had simply pulled off his hat and held it in front of his chest and caught all fourteen bullets with it.

"What the...?" said G.T. Gary. "How'd you survive? What hat is that?"

"Ha ha ha," said Captain Arrrrenan. "Yes, the stories are true. I can only survive up to and including thirteen bullet wounds, and of course that means that a full course meal of fourteen lead bullets would surely be my last. But you failed to realize one thing."

He paused for effect.

"You see, Gun-Totin' Gary," he said. "After I pulverized that cousin of yours, Thirteen Bullet Barry, I helped myself to his hat, which in my infinite knowledge of esoteric artifactual magic items I'd instantly recognized as the Legendary Impenetrable Leather Pirate Hat of Bullet Immunity.

"Later on I'd asked around the grapevine and learned the story of how he got it. He'd taken it from his brother Sharp-Eyed Rifle-Wielding Randy after pushin' him down the stairs and shootin' him thirteen times in the back, which, as you know, was his signature move. See, Randy had drunk all of Barry's rum and when Barry decided to make a mojito he found his rum cask empty and figured out who had done it and killed him in a crime of passion.

"Well, then their father the Great Gunsmith Grant Granterson was pretty mad 'cause he'd given Randy the hat as a birthday present, not even realizing that it was an ancient magical artifact of mystical usefulness. Plus, one of his sons had just killed his other son, so there's that too. Pretty annoying for a dad.

"Anyway, Barry fled and wound up hiding out in Bernie's stronghold, the Black-Booted Fortress, having joined up with Bernie's crew long before you had worked your way up to being Bernie's First Mate. Well, since you were there, you probably know this part of the story, so wait a sec, lemme go back to the part about how Grant Granterson even got the hat in the first place. You see-"

"Shut up!" Gun-Totin' Gary leaped forward and drew his larger-than-normal scimitar. (He was a large guy though, so it looked like a regular sword when he held it.)

But Captain Arrrrenan ducked out of the way and spun around to G.T. Gary's back side and slashed him open on one side with his golden fightin' cutlass. Half of Gary's muscles fell out through the hole and one arm deflated to become the arm of a wimpy little teenage nerd.

"Hey!" G.T. Gary said. "I need those muscles to fight!"

"Yeah, well, tough beans!" said Captain Arrrrenan, and as G.T. Gary turned to smash him with his other arm, Captain Arrrrenan promptly slashed open the other side of G.T. Gary's torso, and all the rest of his muscles fell out, and then G.T. Gary wasn't nearly so tough any more. G.T. Gary tried punching Captain Arrrrenan, but his punches just kept bouncing off 'cause he was all out of muscles and had no more strength.

"That's what I call a... a..." started Captain Arrrrenan, but he couldn't think of a clever one-liner, so he shrugged and just nudged G.T. Gary off the side of the ship where he splashed into the water and immediately got eaten by a great white shark.

Then he turned and raced up the stairs to where Black-Booted Bernie was waitin' for him up on the poop deck.

"Now," said Captain Arrrrenan, "you're in some deep poop!" Hey, he tried, okay?

"I don't appreciate your tone, Arrrrenan!"

"That's Captain Arrrrenan!"

"Oh right, Captain Arrrrenan, sorry. I don't appreciate your tone, Captain Arrrrenan, you dirty ol' dog of a scurvy pirate!"

"Well, too bad!" said Captain Arrrrenan. "I'm here to get repayment for that railing you broke on my ship!"

"I'm not paying for that! It was broken when I got here! It would have just fallen apart anyway."

"No, Bernie-"

"That's Black-Booted Bernie!" retorted B.B. Bernie.

"Oh right, my apologies," said Captain Arrrrenan. "Black-Booted Bernie. You broke my pirate ship railing! Why'd ya do it for?"

Black-Booted Bernie got a serious look on his face. He grimaced and he straightened his spectacles, and then turned and faced away from Captain Arrrrenan. Then he said in a stern voice, "you raided my Black-Booted Fortress and stole all my favorite casks of gunpowder. I didn't appreciate that very much, Captain Arrrrenan, I surely did not. Besides, I thought you were, like, some libertarian or anarcho-capitalist or something. What ever happened to the NAP?"

"No, no, no," said Captain Arrrrenan. "This is a really common misunderstanding. I'm a pirate libertarian. It's totally not even the same thing at all."

B.B. Bernie turned and scoffed. "What?"

Captain Arrrrenan explained. "In my little fantasy world, the NAP only extends as far as my crew and any other free passengers on my ship, like old college roommates or my lawyer friend who lives back in Port Royal, sometimes they come and get a ride on my ship, you know?"

"Seriously?" said B.B. Bernie.

"Yeah, I explained this at the beginning of the story, did you forget? Oh, uh... uh... I mean... you scurvy dog of a scallywonk?"

"I think you lost track of what this story was supposed to be about, Captain Arrrrenan."

Captain Arrrrenan scratched his chin. "Hmmmm, maybe you're right. Let's try this conversation again."

And he turned around and went right back down the stairs off the poop deck and then came right back up.

"Gotcha, Black-Booted Bernie!" said Captain Arrrrenan. "Gimme that coin-purse!"


"You broke my pirate ship railing! Why fore'd ye do it?"

B.B. Bernie straightened his spectacles, turned and thought for a moment, then turned and answered:

My friend

Sometimes in this pirate life
A pirate does what a pirate must do
And when a pirate does do what a pirate does
Then a pirate...

Captain Arrrrenan leapt forward and chopped off B.B. Bernie's head mid-stanza and caught the coin-purse before it hit the ground. He punted B.B. Bernie's head and it landed in a cannon on the main deck, and Captain Arrrrenan signaled to Fuse-Lightin' Fred to let 'er rip. He lit the fuse and the cannon fired and B.B. Bernie's head soared through the air over the water and for a few seconds there right smack dab in between the two small pirate ships, the pirate head drifted in slow motion and it might have seemed to an observer who was watching a movie that there was a brief moment of calm and serenity and peace where the sweet-ass pirate theme music faded away to leave the soothing sounds of the ocean churning its pleasant little song of water lapping against the wood of two small pirate ships and maybe the call of a seagull or two, and strangely enough it was as though the face on B.B. Bernie's head was smiling a little piratey smile and gave a wink even.

The End.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Legend of Derrick the Terrible

The Legend of Derrick the Terrible
in which the lamest underdog loser teaches the greatest grandmaster an important life lesson

Master Buffman Tuffgai and his three pupils, Gregory the Strong, Camilla the Very Attractive but also Strong, and Derrick the Terrible were standing in front of a great passageway at the bottom level of the famous Dungeon Full of Treasure. They'd fought their way through hordes of monsters, skeletal warriors, evil beasts, bandits, pirates, skeletal pirates, pirate bandits, skeletal pirate bandit monsters, and dangerous robo-monster-bandit-beasts just to get here, the last treasure chamber on the last treasure floor of the last treasure dungeon in the entire world.

Well, honestly Master Buffman, Gregory, and Camilla had done all the fighting. Derrick the Terrible had truly lived up to his name. He had been terrible, and not in the evil warlord sense where you're considered terrible for killing lots of people or whatever. No, this guy was called terrible because he was actually just kinda terrible at killing stuff. The others mostly just let him tag along as a favor to his dad who happened to be Buffman's uncle the King. So Derrick basically just carried their food and bags full of money and weapons and extra underwear and stuff like that.

"Derrick, hurry up and get over here, you worthless dummy!" said Buffman. "I need that magic sword to slay this Ultimate Guardian so we can get the last of the world's secret hidden treasure."

Derrick, in his infinite lameness, had not even noticed the Ultimate Guardian that Buffman referred to. Well, there he was, a big ol' giant Minotaur Dude with a bull head and like twelve horns and giant golden armor and big bloody spikes for knuckles and stuff. Actually, at the moment, he didn't seem to Derrick to be especially threatening because he was just sort of sitting there eating a sandwich. He finished the sandwich, and Derrick watched curiously as the monster reached over and delicately grabbed another sandwich right off the top of a big pile of these sandwiches.

"He's just eatin' a sandwich..." Derrick said.

"Shut up, you dummy!" said Buffman. "It's a monster and it's in our way. I'll just kill this guy and then we'll take his treasure, okay?"


"Just gimme that sword."

But when Derrick looked in the weapon bag, he found that there was no magic sword.

"Um, the sword appears to be--Wait-a-minute, you have it!"

Yup, Buffman already had the sword and was juggling it and twirling it and doing all sorts of cool tricks that made him look totally awesome. "Yeah, you slow idiot. While you were lolly-gagging over there daydreaming about sandwiches or whatever I snatched it outta there myself, and you didn't even notice. I'm just that good!"


"Anyways, time to get to Ultimate Guardian stompin'."

And so Master Buffman headed over to where the Minotaur Dude was sitting and started swinging his sword all slick and cool. But then the Minotaur Dude stood up far more quickly than any of them had ever seen even Buffman move and punched Buffman right in the face with his bloody spike knuckles! Buffman flew backwards and landed on the ground and said "Oooof!"

The others ran over to the fallen Master Fighter and helped him up. "Wow, that guy means business!" said Master Buffman. "A lesser man would be dead right now for sure, but well, I'm buff, you know? Hey, come to think of it, maybe you guys should take this guy out, as like, a final test of your skills. Gregory, why don't you start?"

Gregory was a little unsure about taking on a Minotaur Dude who had just clobbered the great and mighty Master Buffman Tuffgai, but he had no choice. So he pulled out his favorite Double Fiery Ninja Swords of Death and charged at the big ol' monster yelling "YEEEAAAARGH!" In a moment, Gregory was right back where he started with a couple of big spike knuckle shaped dents in his forehead.

"Owwww!" he said. "Owwwwwwwwwwww!" It looked painful, but big picture, he was fine. He was pretty buff himself, after all.

Camilla stood there staring at the dents in Gregory's face with her jaw hanging open, like WOW those are deep dents, but then suddenly she realized Buffman was staring at her and tapping his foot with his arms crossed, kinda like, "Weeeeeellllllllllllllll, I'm waiting..."

So Camilla grabbed her Lavender-Scented Super Spear of Feminine Ferocity and ran toward the Minotaur Dude. She was considerably faster than Gregory, so she jumped here and there and darted her spear at the Minotaur Dude's eyes like a hundred times per second, but the Minotaur Dude just swatted her with the back of his hand and she fell down. But wow, she was determined. She got up and came at him again, but again she just got shut down with the back of a giant hand. So she let out a ferocious scream and charged at him doing flips and zipping around like lightning. Derrick thought it was kinda funny watching the Minotaur Dude's eyes rolling around trying to keep track of her, but then he just like, stuck out his arm and suddenly Camilla had stopped and was stuck to one of his giant knuckle spikes. The Minotaur Dude peeled her off his fist and threw her back over to the others and she just lay there with stars twirling around her head.

"Camilla, wow, are you all right?" asked Gregory.

"Yeah," she said, "I think so, but I don't think we're gonna get past this guy. His knuckles are just too spikey."

"Psssssh," said Master Buffman. "You two idiots don't even know how to kill an Ultimate Guardian Minotaur Dude? That's like, something from Master Combat Fighting Kindergarten! Here, let me show you."

So he shut his eyes, sat down with his legs crossed, and started chanting some kinda mumbo jumbo until he starting glowing and levitating in the air. Then all the weapons in their bag started levitating too and flying around him this way and that. The others made space so they didn't get an accidental murderin' dagger in the ear or something, and then Master Buffman's eyes shot open suddenly and he flew towards the Minotaur Dude with fire streaking behind him like a Hellfire missile had just been fired from an AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopter.

The Minotaur Dude swung his arms one way, stopped for a second, and then swung them the other way as fast as he could, sending himself spinning on his heels like a spikey top of spikey knuckley death. Buffman's weapons all tried to stab him and slice him and poke him and chop him and mince him and fillet him and carve him and finally kill him, but not a single blow could get through this new Ultimate Minotaur Tornado Move. Master Buffman opened his mouth and started breathing fire at him, but the Minotaur Dude just zoomed out of the way. Buffman fired a giant blast of mystical ice summoned from the ethereal spirit realm, but the spinning Minotaur Dude hopped over it in a single deft spinning hop. Buffman fired lasers out of his eyes, but the Minotaur Dude stopped spinning and punched the lasers with his spike knuckles, and the lasers bounced right off, right back into Buffman's eyes, and he went "YOOOOWWWWW, that smarts!" and flew backwards and landed at the feet of his students with smoke coming out of his eyes. The Minotaur Dude went back to eating his sandwiches.

"No, you're right, Camilla," he said. "This guy's knuckles are too spikey even for me. Let's go back to town and just tell the King that there weren't any more treasure rooms. He'll never know the difference."

They started to leave, but then they stopped and looked back. Derrick was just standing there scratching his chin.

"What are you waiting for, Derrick?" said Buffman. "Come on, you privileged moron. If your father wasn't the King, why I'd, I'd, I'd, I dunno what I'd do, but let me tell you, you wouldn't like it."

Derrick turned and faced them. "Don't I get to try?"

"YOU!?" the three great fighters said in unison. "HA HA HA HA HA HA HA," they started laughing, and then they continued with "HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA" and finally concluded with "HA HA A HA HA A HA HA HA HA HA A HA!"

"What's so funny?" said Derrick.

"You can't kill that guy, are you kidding me? Don't make me laugh at you again, Derrick, seriously."

"No, watch this." And Derrick strolled over to the Minotaur Dude, who stood up and glared at him, lifting up his fists to show off their spikeyness.

"Don't worry, bro," said Derrick, "I don't really want to fight. I just thought you'd maybe like a friend to eat with."

The Minotaur Dude just stood there, staring at Derrick the Terrible. The others thought for sure he'd pound him and stomp him and make himself a terrible Derrick sandwich. But then, to all of their amazement, the Minotaur Dude's eyes started watering a teensy little bit. A single tear emerged and rolled down his great bull snout and fell onto the ground at Derrick's feet. The Minotaur Dude reached over, picked up a sandwich and tenderly handed it to the little human standing before him, and later they all swore that they had even seen a tiny inkling of a smile on the Minotaur Dude's big ol' bull face.

Derrick took a big bite out of the sandwich. It was a turkey sandwich on toasted country buttermilk bread, with lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, and mayonnaise. He gave it about a B- in the big picture, but honestly that was actually pretty good for a sandwich found at the bottom of a deep dirty grimy legendary treasure dungeon so he didn't complain.

"Hey, Minotaur Dude," said Derrick. "Since we're friends now, you wanna see something funny?"

The Minotaur Dude looked down at him, and Derrick took another bite, then another, then another, until finally his mouth was just bursting with big wads of munched up sandwich. Then he held his hands up on both sides, both of them made into fists. He paused, and then he punched his own stuffed mouth from both sides simultaneously so all the food suddenly shot out of his mouth and made a big mess all over the dungeon floor.

First, a tiny chortle came from above, then a chuckle and a muffled snort, then the Minotaur Dude finally broke into full on unrestrained bull-headed laughter and he fell down and rolled around laughing and clutching his stomach. Derrick guessed it had been a while since he'd seen any good comedy, cause honestly it wasn't really that funny, but whatever.

Then the Minotaur Dude stood up and grabbed a big giant bull-handed handful of sandwiches and started stuffing them into his own huge mouth until practically the whole giant pile of sandwiches was crammed in there and his cheeks were bulging out like crazy. Then the Minotaur Dude brought his big enormously spikey knuckled fists up and punched himself in the head from both sides at once, and his whole head exploded in a great shower of blood and brains and sliced turkey and tomato and giant bull skull fragments and cheddar cheese and big globs of bloody mayonnaise and buttermilk bread.

Then, with blood and brains raining down all around him, Derrick the Terrible turned around slowly and faced his "friends" and smiled a big goofy smile and the image froze and a hit rock song started playing while the credits rolled.

The End

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Domineering Baby

I was just hanging out in the bar at the hotel when this mafia boss who had somehow been transformed into a baby started threatening me. He kept saying "you'd better X" and "you'd better not Y" and so on. I didn't want any trouble, so I kept responding "okay, sure" and "okay, all right, no problem" and "yeah, I can do that" and "don't worry, I wouldn't do that" and so on and so forth. But eventually I got so fed up with this guy that I gave up and just started beating him up.

The bartender said, "are you sure that's a good idea?"

"What?" I said. "You think he has a gun in his diaper or something?"

"Well, he might."

"Psssh. In a size 3? If he had a size 5 on I'd be worried. But a 3? Forget about it."

Finally, I kicked him out the door and went back to the bar. But then I saw through the window that he suddenly transformed back into his normal, regular, plain ol', adult, non-baby self, complete with a suit and tie and everything. He pulled a pistol from his inside coat pocket and headed for the bar.

Crap. Well, I started running away. For a while he was chasing me all over the hotel, and I figured eventually he would calm down and the whole thing would just blow over. Or if it didn't I guess I could just hide out in a cave up in the hills with a diaper rifle. I mean, sniper rifle. Dammit.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Wax Michael Jackson and Funny Clothes

Last night I dreamed that I read this news headline somewhere: "Wax museum featuring figures performing 'Thriller' dance moves does not include figure of Michael Jackson."

I woke up and thought it was funny for some reason. Then I went back to sleep. Once I was again in the dreamworld I starting thinking, "I should really tweet that funny headline that I read in my dream. What was it again? Oh yeah, 'Museum featuring celebrities wearing funny clothes does not include Michael Jackson.' What a riot!"

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Joker and the Submarine

I dreamed that I was a crew member on a nuclear submarine. We captured the Joker and forced him to do work for us. You know, free labor, like the Suicide Squad or whatever that's about. Anyway, we sat him down at a work station and gave him clear instructions NOT to push the button that fires the nuclear missiles. But he did it anyway! Some people just don't listen, you know?

Actually, come to think of it, it would have been a pretty good gag if pushing the button just made a punching bag come out of the wall and hit him in the face.

*   *   *

This dream was obviously inspired by the scene in Batman: The Movie where the Joker is on the Penguin's sub and is the one who pushes the "fire torpedo" buttons. I showed this movie to my three-year old because he loves Batman but most other Batman media is a little too scary for him. He seems to have liked it a lot. Occasionally he asks me if he can watch it again.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

5000 Page Views!

And it only took me four and a half years! Plus, I think a lot of those page views were from bots or something. :P

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Catchup - Abstract Strategy

Catchup - Cool Abstract Strategy Game

This is a new iOS implementation of a cool abstract strategy board game called Catchup. The game was designed by Nick Bentley, and the app was implemented by Martin Grider.

It is good! But these guys need more people to buy the game, so please, if you have any interest in abstract board games and have an iOS device, then consider buying this game!

There's even a well-implemented AI opponent that automatically adjusts to your skill level to keep you challenged.

Go get it!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Catching Up on some Short Dreams

Hi! Just a quick catching up post to describe a few vaguely interesting dreams I had over the past couple of weeks (dreams are what this blog is primarily about, right?).

I had a dream in which I was a policeman trying to stop four teenagers from vandalizing a closed store. When I say vandalizing, I mean that they were inside the store basically destroying all the furniture inside to the point that standing on the street outside the store I heard loud crashing and wood breaking noises. The youths came out of the store, and I told them to get on the ground. They did so, but soon they got up and started running away from me. I pulled out my gun and starting telling them to halt (I think I said "halt," not "freeze"), but they didn't, so I started trying to shoot them, but my gun wouldn't fire. Instead of a trigger, it had a power switch like you'd find on the back of a computer. Like one of these guys:

Eventually, I figured out that it was a revolver with an external hammer mechanism and I was failing to cock it manually, but by this time the hooligans had escaped me.

Another dream I had involved a duck being trapped in a large animal's mouth that looked like a second floor window. I mean, it was like a building, except I understood the building to be a creature of some kind and the window to be its mouth. Weird.

Anyway, the duck was afraid for its life and for the life of its egg, which it was holding in its mouth. I beckoned for the duck to simply jump out of the window to safety, which the duck did. But for some reason the duck neglected to fly and fell to the ground, slamming its head against the pavement. The egg fell from the duck's mouth and rolled away safe and uncracked, but the duck began dizzily sauntering about, clearly seriously injured. I felt bad for having recommended that the duck leap from the window, but I guess it sacrificed itself to save its egg? I don't know. Weird dream.

In a third dream my wife and I were sneaking into a high security warehouse district in search of the new textbooks for the upcoming school year. I guess we wanted a sneak peek? At one point I turned a corner and found myself looking directly into the lens of a security camera, and I was like, "oops." But whatever, nothing happened. We found the books, and I was very excited to look at the physics book. It had a pink cover.

The first dream (the one with the gun and the teenage vandals) was interesting in that normally when I use a gun in a dream, I don't actually have a gun but rather simply pretend to have one and make gun noises and then get frustrated that my imaginary gun is completely ineffectual. Of course, I keep trying, but it never works. In this dream, I had a gun in my hand. Perhaps the difference was that I was a policeman, and so it came with the uniform? Anyway, the gun was ineffectual all the same.