Six days passed at sea, during which the weather did indeed roughen, and I was tempest tossed. It is the case that, were it not for the courage of the fearless crew, the dux indeed would hace been lost. Yes, I would have been lost. The waves rose and crashed, the hamerheads circled and entreated, dully bumping against the wrecked shell of my charred heliocopter, banging snout-wise against my plexidome. It was indeed harrowing, as well as intensely boring. Believe it or not, hammerhead sharks have few interpersonnal problems in need of address. In short, there was little work for me among them.
(Though there was one, Snark the littlest Hammerhead, who wanted to know how he could convince the others that he was just as great as any of the sharks of the sea. I advised that he leave the pack and never come back. He was clearly too small.)
Fortunately, I was recovered at sea by the Good Ship Ushpek Veerumasunani, late of Bombay, India. Hauled aboard and laid deckwise, still encased in the remains of my of-the-souped-up heliocopter, the crew stood about me, stunned, looking into my optically perfect eyes. And I looked back. Strange to say, but my several hearts warmed at the sight of this jaunty land-scrabblers, and unbidden the thought came "It is good to be back among monkey-people, my people."
I activated my remaining external speaker— fortuitously still functional after six days in the saline water (Like and unto a Chunkah miracle, is it not? The flame of one-day's-oil lasting eight, the loudspeaker of dry-air operation continuing functional after a thorough soaking . . . I leave conclusions to be drawn by my rabbinical cohort in this matter. Gentlemen, to your Talmudi!)— and spoke such:
"My hearty sea-dogs, I greet you as fellow traveller and friend! Much appreciation I grant for your kindness taken upon me, and while I fully gather the severity of your visage and fearsomeness, think not that I shall trouble your privateer's ways. I wish passage to the eastern seaboard of those Oft United States, and while I can offer no remuneration at this time, trust that I shall be of service to you, as I am handy with the cutless— that is, once my velocitator is freed from the wreckage of my most recent conveyance— and though neither scurvy, nor a dog, I do allow that the pirate's life is for me. Gladly I come aboard, my maties. Yarr!"
They jabbered among themsevles for some moments in their Chino-Hindi pidgin afore a representative stepped forward.
"Most honored talking mollusk," he began in the most fili-greed of the king's english, "we wish to welcome you aboard the S.S. Ushpek Veerumasunani, a salvage ship. We regret any confussion, as we are no pirates. Please rest assured that, upon our arrival in the Chesepeake Bay, you shall be deposited ashore with all due alacrity, so that you may find your fortune."
"Ah yes," I replied, slyly winking my all-seeing eye, "of course you are no pirates, captain. I am the silly for having thinking such."
We then stared upon each other many a moments, the captain smiling broadly. He then nodded, and I winked a second time, and he shook of the head, and I declared we had reached agreement.
As the captain mostly was concerned with the management and correction of the ship and crew, I was left upon the deck to my own devices. The wreckage of my shell was unattended to, and thus I was fixed as it were, in a twisted and supine position, my one eye upon the steel of the deck my other eye up at an angle looking across the deck to the port side. With that one vantage I drank in the movements and scurrying of the crew and their business.
It seemed, as I observed, that my sad pirate bretheren (pirates yet, despite what the captain may have said . . . for I know well how the sea-dogs must the appearances keep up in the face of outsiders, and salavge-to-making was indeed a cover effective) had indeed fallen on hard times and were consigned to actually taking the lot of a team of salvagers as their own. How sad it was, soul searching, like the confundere man I know who claims vociferously to be a priest, and is so the unaffective as the confundere man, always giving his stolen booty to the poor, that at virtually every turn he comes to take on the visage and manner of a priest indeed.
Well, I could not save "Father" Bernard of Hamtramck, but these "salvage" men shall have the full benefit of one Architeuthis Dux to be sure.
Firstly, I noted that unlike the pirates of old that these fine men wished clearly so much to be, there was narry a scuffle amongst the many members of the crew. Neither was there conflict between the skin tones, or the sizes, or the manners of prayer. A great and disturbing harmony had settled like a pall upon the crew, their every salvaging movement like a choreographed dance of intricate design. There was much in the way of pleasant and wholsome convivialty, and it was this that I to the first set out to correct.
"Sumjae," I called across decks, "Do not good naturedly accept that loss at chess. Wind back your wiry arm and strike Fu thusly. Teach the scurvy dog a lesson he'll not soon forget!"
But Sumjae, he only smiled. Fu himself craned around on his milk-crate and waved of the hand, greetingwise. I enjoined many crewmen thusly, even stooping to the use of racial and national epithets, but to no avail: They would not fight. Ultimately, the captain was summoned to me, and he gently explained that, while he had been educated at Oxford in the matters of metaphysics and business managment, his crew had enjoyed no similar advantage, and thus were at a loss to follow my speech.
Somewhat disconsolate, I took to constucting suspicious accidents of outrageous fortune— the wrench left to trip upon, the unseen strike to the pants, the seamenward shove— in order to insight the appropriate level of inter-crew pugilistics.
In the second, while there seemed still to be much of enough of the gentlemanly tenderness and kindness, even after my efforts, I also noticed that the rogering was not only not jolly, but barely present at all. There was ne'er to be seen any Sean-Connery-ing, or forcing, or the engineer-ed of the soap dropping, and to this next I had to move. Further, lacking the ability to appeal to these salty-dogs verbaolly— as is my general wont and stronger suit— I was at a loss as to how to address the issue. Had I my druthers, I would have changed their diets, tending towards the reddened meat and the testosterone spike of the fruit drinks. Owing to my current immobility, this was not possible. Sadly so.
And finally, they never attacked anything, nor did they steal or kill or raid of the ocean shores of various nations. Though the fisticuffing had only partially taken hold, and while my efforts toward the forceful Connerying were ardent they came to nothing in terms of actual forceful intercourse, I decided at the end that if nothing else, a pirate ship should pirate the world, go viking as it were as the pirates of old did, and if this sad crew could not muster any of the pillaging, then all the raping or fighting in the world could not save them.
Fortunately, a close pass to a U.S. Navel Vessel afforded my the chance to correct this error. As we came abreast of this night-passing ship, I took to the screaming, calling forth "Avast yea scurvey federalis! We shall indeed board you and make much of disabling your ship! Then, to the raping, to the pilaging, to the high-sea scuttling and bolognese hide-the-seek! You shall suffer, as shall your women and cattle and their booties, and we shall tear asunder all which we lay to grasp, for we are pirates true! Yarr!"
But damn that captain and his self-flaggelating ways, he quickly had his non-English-speaking crew of hugsalotts take hold of me and dolly me below decks, into a back storage room from which even my voice could not escape, as he began, bullhornedly, to smooth the sea which I had roiled in an attempt to jump-the-start of these fair proto-pirates into their rightful role as scourges of the sea.
What is an advice distributing squid to do? I, in the honesty, begin to suspect that there is a degree of futility in this my life's work.
I am much a-tired of my advice giving ways, and am much bored in this storage room.
I have managed, through the application of certain hyper-sonic pulses of the speaker to segrgate the rats into warring factions, and with the help of a few nanocytes I founded in the glove-bearing compartment of my velocitator I was able to acclerate the evolution of one breed to near human intelligence but . . . oh me, I think my lot as advisor may have run its course.
I Yet Remain,
Your Giant Squid
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Copyright (c) 2000, 2004, David Erik Nelson, Fritz Swanson, Morgan Johnson