Story Go Round 03/15/2003, round 1, #3

"Oh, you must be a pirate"


"Excuse me?"



[dejected] "Argh."

"Oh, 'argh.' I'm sorry, sir, you must be a pirate. I'm new here. This is my first day working for the Sanitation Committee, and we usually don't get this far out. We've been working on the third sea, and now I'm on the fourth. Now where's my blasted clipboard?"

"We figured out the scurvy and rat things some while ago, if that's what brought you. Veggies and cats. Organic only, we're fairly progressive. Dirt is just for show." The pirate grinned and whipped out his fake gold tooth to demonstrate, showing a startlingly healthy full set of white teeth. "Is this your clipboard here? We found the monkeys playing with it, between rounds of throwing dung. No, I'm just kidding with you, we'd never keep monkeys aboard. You left it on the poop deck."

"Uh, actually sir, we're here to..."

"Ah matee, I see where you're going with this. The over-crowding and disease, that's what yer here for. But we've done away with it entirely. Mechanization has allowed us to cut crew compliment down to twelve, so now everybody has their own cabin - no more sleeping three deep in a cubby-hole like in the olden days. And everybody gets their shots.

"Actually, we've come to talk to you about your uniform. We appreciate cleanliness and all, but some people are reporting emotional harm when you board a ship. The whole tattoo, chest hair, and wood leg thing is really not very inspiring for most of your victims. It does not get people on your side, you know."

The pirate looked pained, then thoughtful. "We're all about presenting an authentic experience. It isn't tradition if you change it, you see. If we were tour guides, we'd have been decked out in khakis and clip- er, notebooks - for years now. We made a decision to be true to our roots. They can always put themselves on the global no-board list you know. It's only a simple phone call."

"Yes, those are all good points, but you must consider the legal risk you're taking. It's only a matter of time before somebody sues you for emotional damage. Now, I've taken the liberty - I hope you won't take offense - of bringing a legal consultant with me. It's a service we've been offering to all the pirates we've inspected, and quite a number have found it useful."

"Lad, I know yer just trying to do yer job. And may I say that's an awfully nice tie you have there - it inspires confidence in your professionalism and makes me want to trust you implicitly. Good choice, by the way. But we have a creed and we've all sworn a blood oath to uphold that creed, and even yer Armani-Gucci tie can't weaken my loyalty" With that, he lifted his hooked stub and drove it into the official's ribs, snagging between the fourth and fifth rib. Rivers of blood flowed down his navy blue pant leg and made his suede leather shoes sloshy. "Agghh!" the man cried in surprise.

"Yo, Cap'n!" The mate called, dragging the man towards the rail. "We've got another one for the fishies!"

Amber is purple; John is pink; Terry is orange; Habeeb is grey