The sun sets deep beyond the horizon turning the sea into a haze of colors violently crashing with each fallen crest of the waves against the harbor. The young boy swallows and pulls his sack further over his shoulder, bending his back to reduce the strain as he lugs his few valuables towards the dock. He had to do this quickly. He needed to be on board before they left. He scuttles towards the ominous espresso planks of the one ship off by itself. A few men walk past, eyeing him wearily. Errol pauses and looks up at the ominous ship once more. The figurehead stares ahead, a curvy Pear, sensually giving herself to the ocean. The name of the ship is carved out on the side and Errol swallows again. The Burnt Yam. He lets his feet scurry up as he boards the ship, looking around for a good place to hide. He finds a barrel that had yet to be filled with supplies and he tucks himself in, squeezing his round belly into the barrel, a feat not so easy. He winces feeling the wood scrape against his red flesh as he looks back to the town he had been raised in. He thinks of his mother and how much he missed her. To leave was painful, but he had nowhere else to go. A couple men board and Errol tucks himself as far into the barrel as he could. A voice booms nearby, crusty and scarred by the salt of the sea.
"Yeh'd bedder herry up an' rafill er supplies. Weh sail soon as sun rises."
"Yes, Captain." One of the men replies and walks over to the barrels, dumping a sack of crystal pellets on Errol. The boy grunts feeling the weight of it crush his belly. His eyes bulge. Oh no. He'll be found for sure. He waits in silence, feeling the tension rise before a scarred purple face peers down at him. Errol feels his face drain as the man grabs him and pulls him out.
"Who are yeh an why are yeh on my ship?" The Captain asks.
"I want to be a pirate!"
"Boy, I 'ave no time fer games! Ge' off meh ship!"
"Please! Take me with you!" Errol begs and the man snorts.
"Take yeh with me? Th' sea is no place fer a yung tom-ay-toh such as yerself. Jus' look at yehself! Fresh off th' vine yeh are! Why yeh wan ta join me crew?"
"I 'ave nowhere else to go, Captain, sir. Please!" The young tomato stares into the Captain's dark purple face that had weathered upon the salty sea. He wondered if he would age just the same or if his skin were too soft.
"Where's yer mudder?"
"Squeezed to death, Captain."
"An' yer fadder?"
"Taken as a slave to serve the Romas, sir."
"Aye, the Romas." Captain Eggplant walks to his chair and reclines in it, eyeing his mug of Miracle Ale. He sighs and glares at the deck hands as they stare at the scene. They quickly scuttle to complete their preparations. "I' won' be easy, boy. Yeh un'erstand? Th' sea is a harsh mistress fer a yung fruit an' I 'ave no room on me ship fer a fruit as soft as yeh."
"But Captain, you're a fruit! I can be just like you! I swear it!" Captain Eggplant blinks before laughing heartily.
"Aye, boy. Yeh'll need to toughen yerself up, bu' I think yeh'll fit in nicely wi' the crew. Yeh go' a name, Tomaytoh?"
"Errol Brandywine, Captain!"
"Well, Brandywine, welcum aboard th' Burnt Yam."