One of the Many Adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow
and More Importantly,
Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan of the Effervescent Wind
By Kayden Eidyak
Jack was awakened in the early hours of the morning by a shrill petrified screaming.
"Help! Help!" a female voice cried. "Oh, somebody do something!"
Jack clambered out of bed, tugging on trousers and boots, dashing back to get his sword and pistol.
False dawn had come, though the light was not needed. A small ship was engulfed in flames not more than two hundred yards off the port bow, lighting the sky very nicely. A young girl danced around on the deck screaming bloody murder and waving her parasol. He glanced up to the crow's nest and saw an arm slumped over the side clutching a nearly empty bottle. A similar sight met him at the helm. Obviously taking on new crew had been a mistake.
He smacked the helmsman out of the way, and steered the Black Pearl well clear of the burning ship, calling orders to his crew as he did so.
As the little ship began to sink, her stern tipped up in the air and Jack read The Effervescent Wind painted in swirly pink script.
The crew he had ordered to rescue the girl came as close to the ship as they dared, encouraging her to jump.
"Oh, I simply couldn't jump!" the girl said, melodramatically, holding her handkerchief daintily to her nose. "I would ruin my dress," she declared, spinning around and setting a display of lacy bloomers.
The main mast cracked loudly, and it fell across the deck. The portions of sail that had not already been afire quickly caught.
The girl screamed again. "Help!"
"Jump into the water now, or we leave you to burn!" Anamaria shouted.
"You wouldn't dare!" the girl gasped, horror struck.
"Turn us around! Anamaria ordered. "We're going back to the Pearl."
"No! Wait!" she shrieked, sounding panicky. "Wait, I'll jump."
She climbed precariously onto the rail as the flames licked closer to her feet.
Tears streamed down her sooty face.
There was an explosion of some sort below deck that caused the entire ship to tremble violently. The girl screamed as she lost her balance and was tossed neatly into the water.
Anamaria threw her a line.
"I'm drowning! Help me! I can't swim!"
"Grab the line, you idiot!"
The girl flailed for the rope and finally caught it, wrapping it securely around her hands.
"Back to the ship!" Anamaria said loudly, pulling the girl in.
Jack was waiting with the rest of the crew when the rescue party returned with the bedraggled girl. She tumbled over the railing and fell in a crumpled heap at his feet. Jack waited a moment staring as the tip of the last sail dipped below the water, extinguishing all the flames, leaving nothing to show for it but smoke, a piece of mast and a sopping wet girl at his feet.
He nudged her with his toe. "Well?"
She peeked up at him through a curtain of tangled auburn curls with stunningly violet eyes.
"Well?" he repeated again, louder this time.
She blinked at him a moment before prostrating herself at his feet. "Please don't hurt me!" She wailed, clutching at his legs. "I'll do anything. Anything," she cried pathetically.
Jack quickly stepped back trying to shake her loose.
"We aren't-" shake, "-going to-" shake, "-hurt you," shake, he insisted, sending a "help me" look to the rest of the crew, who merely grinned.
She stopped her tears almost at once. "You aren't?" she asked, fluttering annoyingly long eyelashes.
"No," Jack said firmly, taking another step back – just to be safe.
"But, you're pirates," she sniffed "Aren't you going to…" her voice trailed off and tears welled up once more in her amethyst orbs.
"No," Jack said again, not even wanting her to finish her sentence. "We're going to drop you off at the nearest port possible, I can assure you."
"Oh good," she said brightly, bounding to her feet almost instantly. "I'll be able to help out then to pay my way," she exclaimed ecstatically. "I know everything there is to know about ships." Her smile widened to reveal perfectly white teeth that glowed like diamonds.
"We don't need any extra crew, so you'll be staying in your cabin, savvy?" Jack interjected quickly before she could get too carried away.
Her lip quivered. "You just don't want me to help because I'm a girl," she said mournfully, dabbing at her eyes with her sopping handkerchief.
Jack rolled his eyes and rubbed his face with his hands, sending another desperate look to the crew.
"What's your name?" he asked quickly, trying to change the subject before she got anymore tearful.
She cleared her throat loudly. "My name is Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan of the Effervescent Wind," she stated proudly, dipping a curtsy with a lavender trimmed dress.
Jack gaped at her. "Come again?"
She gave him a patronizing look before saying very slowly and clearly, "Crimson – Jade – Chrysanthemum – O'Flanagan – of – the - "
"Yes, yes, I got that part, Jack said quickly, flapping his hand in front of her face to shush her. "Er, can we just call you…Jade?" he asked, picking the only name he remembered from her title.
Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan of the Effervescent Wind looked absolutely scandalized. "Just Jade?" she asked, bringing her hands to her mouth in horror. "Gracious me, no! That would be absolutely atrocious!" she declared. "Though, I suppose we could drop the "of the Effervescent Wind" part," she said contemplatively, poising a well manicured finger to her chin in thought. "As it really doesn't exist anymore and all." Her face suddenly lit up. "What's the name of this ship?"
"The Black Pearl," Jack mumbled, afraid he knew where the conversation was heading.
She gasped, clapping both hands to her mouth.
"That's perfect!" she squealed. I can be Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan of the Black Pearl, then.
"NO!" Jack practically screamed. She stepped back, looking surprised. Jack cleared his throat, trying to regain composure. It was he that was supposed to be able to keep people unsettled and on their toes at all times. "No," he said again. "That would not do."
"Why not?" Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan of Ship's Name Pending, asked, twining her fingers around her hankie.
"Because," Jack said, groping around in his head for a reason. "Because, a lady such as yourself shouldn't be naming herself after pirate ships," he finished finally, pleased with his excuse.
She fluttered her annoyingly long lashes again. "I do suppose you're right," she said, heaving a dramatic sigh. "I shall just have to get a new ship," she added. "But good sir, what is your name, may I ask?"
Jack stood up very straight and glowered at her. "My name is Captain – Jack – Sparrow," he said loudly and clearly, wanting to be sure she got it the first time around and never called him "good sir" ever again.
"Pleasure to make your acquaintance," she said sweetly, positively beaming as she held out a hand for him to kiss.
"Miss O'Flanagan, I am not, under any circumstances going to kiss your hand," he declared loudly, crossing his arms over his chest. "I am a pirate. A mean, nasty, hairy, dirty, ugly, old pirate. You leave your proper mannerisms behind during this voyage, is that quite clear?"
"Oh please, Jack, just Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum, will do," she said, her voice nearly purring.
Jack clenched and unclenched his fists at his side; sure he could feel the steam billowing out of his ears.
"Take Scarlet Diamond Poppy Seed below deck and find her accommodations, will you? I'm going to be in my cabin and I'm not to be disturbed under any circumstances."
He turned on his heel without waiting for an answer and slammed the door behind him. He leaned on the door for a moment, taking deep breaths to calm his nerves before going to his cupboard for a bottle of rum. He plunked himself down at the table and began taking long swigs straight from the bottle, heedless of a mug that sat inches from him. All he wanted was to drink himself to sleep and hope Miss Whatshername of the Bubbling Breeze was all some horrible nightmare.
As it turned out, his hopes were not to come true.
He was awakened from his drunken stupor by a tentative knock on his door. It took him a minute to register the sound before managing a slurred "go 'way!"
The knocker cleared her throat. It was Anamaria. "Captain…I'm sorry to bother you…but…um…"
"Wha'?" Jack asked trying to remember how one went about best getting out of a chair.
"It's Miss…um…Miss Flamboyant, or whatever her name is."
"Wha' 'bou' 'er?" he demanded, managing to stand upright.
"Well, um…why don't you just come see for yourself."
"This…" He swayed. "…had better…" where was the door? "…be good..." Ah, there it was. He wrenched it open and found himself face to face with Anamaria who sniffed disdainfully and waved a hand in front of her nose.
She led him outside and all traces of drunkenness fell away from Jack as though he'd never touched a drink a day of his life.
"What the blazes did she do to my ship!" he demanded, striding to the mast and trying to rip down the pink silk that was wrapped in a large bow around it. He stopped for a moment and looked around. Ribbons and other materials were tied, wound and woven all over. She had even threaded a particularly horrid piece of purple calico around the wheel's spokes.
"Wasn't anybody watching her?" he asked running hither and thither, trying to collect his hard earned goods, starting with the purple calico.
"She said she was tired," Anamaria said with a shrug as she assisted Jack with the task. I showed her where she could stay and we all went down to eat. We came back up and found it like this. I went to confront her but she was asleep.
"How long until we reach port?"
"'Bout seven days"
"Would it be bad to maroon her? There's a lovely strip of beach less than half a day's sail from here."
Anamaria chuckled in response.
"Was 'fraid of that," he said dejectedly.
Just Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan of No Ship Yet slept peacefully the rest of the day and night as Jack and his crew set things to rights. They made no effort to be quiet or stem their amount of swearing.
"Man the sails," screeched Mr. Cotton's parrot.
"Keel 'aul 'er," Gibbs translated.
"Or at least lock 'er in the brig," he muttered, wrapping the horrid purple calico with the rest.
"We'll just lay down the rules for her in the morning, is all," Jack said confidently. "Once she knows what she can and cannot do aboard the Black Pearl, she'll behave herself."
At least, that was what he hoped.
The next morning was bright and clear. Jack opened his eyes and quickly shut them again as memories of the previous day surfaced. He lay in bed for as long as he dared, trying to wish away all the bad recollections. When he realized they were going to stubbornly remain, he dragged himself upright, squaring his shoulders to meet what the day would bring him head on.
"Where's…" he was spared having to remember her name when the addressed crewman answered "still sleeping," before he could even finish the question.
Well, that at least was good in a way. If she was sleeping then he didn't have to put up with her. His sense of well being was soon shattered however, when a shill voice met his ears.
"What do you mean there's no place to take a bath!"
Apparently, she was no longer asleep.
That did it. Time for Captain Jack Sparrow to regain control.
Jack swaggered towards the sound of the argument.
"What seems to be the trouble?" he inquired politely as possible.
"Jack! It's you, oh, thank goodness! This dreadful man here was saying there's no way to bathe on this ship. He's much mistaken, isn't he?"
"Oh, aye," Jack said nodding his head sympathetically. He swung an arm over her slender shoulders, a move that by the look on her face made her ever so slightly uncomfortable.
"We've got loads of water in which to take a bath," he continued.
"Oh, good," Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan said, sighing with relief.
"Beautiful, innit?" Jack asked as they stood by the railing.
"What is?" she asked, sounding a trifle worried.
"Your bath, of course."
"My bath…" He eyes widened with sudden comprehension. "No!" she screamed, but it was too late. Jack hefted her up and over the railing in a single effortless movement.
The girl flailed around in the water, shrieking at the top of her lungs.
"Here, catch," Jack said tossing a chunk of lye soap over the edge to land a few feet from her. "Tell us when you're done and we'll haul you out."
"I'm done!" she screeched desperately. "Get me out, it's freezing!"
Jack's head reappeared over the railing. "This in the Caribbean, love. It's not freezing."
About five minutes later and after much to do, Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan of Sea Creatures Anonymous was pulled back over.
She stormed over to Jack, lavender eyes blazing, hair and petticoats dripping.
"Just who do you think you are!" she demanded, jabbing a finger in his chest.
Jack grinned. He always loved it when people gave him the perfect opportunity to use his favorite line.
"I'm Captain Jack Sparrow. Savvy?"
She spluttered at him, her mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water. He grinned cockily at the thought of a Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan fish, and suddenly began laughing, unable to stop as a vision of a fish in a pink dress with a parasol in one fin and a handkerchief in the other swam before his eyes.
She stomped one little bare foot angrily when he showed no sign of his laughter receding.
"I shall be in my quarters. Notify me when breakfast is ready," she said haughtily, turning on her heel.
"Sorry love, breakfast is over and done with. You missed it."
She gave the pirate one last glare of contempt before going below.
The crew erupted into laughter, Jack along with them, though something – he couldn't quite identify what – tugged at his conscious.
When Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan did not appear when the lunch bell rang, Jack had the slightest inkling that he had perhaps been little mean to the girl. Though, she had deserved it, he quickly reminded himself to keep away any stray tinges of guilt.
Dinner came and went, Miss O'Flanagan did not. Jack told himself she would come around when she got hungry enough and not to give it another thought. Always one to heed his better judgment, Jack retired to his quarters for his own dinner.
The site that met his eyes was one he would have never expected to see.
"What are you doing in my room!" he demanded, as purple eyes met his from a table of leftovers. "And what is that smell?"
"I was hungry she said dismissively. And it smelled absolutely horrid in here. I found some perfume below and took the liberty of spritzing a little around to make the place a bit more appeasing."
All thoughts of guilt vanished instantly.
"The liberty…" Jack felt near to fainting. "Just who do you think you are!" he demanded. "Out!" He gestured wildly towards the door.
She stood up and walked carefully across the room, pausing before him.
"I'm Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan. Savvy?" She smirked at his speechless expression before leaving and closing the door behind her.
Jack flopped on his bed. This was going to be a longest seven days of his life.
The next day passed without mishap. One could almost say Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan was actually behaving herself. Jack knew better, however. It was only a matter of time before she came up with something else.
That time came somewhere between dinner and nightfall. There was a loud banging on his door.
"Mr. Sparrow, I demand to speak to you."
"What is it now?" he called from his table where he was adding notes to the ship's log.
She opened the door and stalked over to him.
"I demand to have one of the dresses you have stashed away below. I simply will not show my face in public looking like this."
"Sorry, we need everything we've got down there to trade. Besides, everyone will have more pity for you if you come off a pirate ship dressed like that."
Her eyes lit up. "Do you really think so?" she asked, looking down and surveying the filthy lace. "It does have a certain flair, doesn't it?" she asked, craning her neck to see the back of the dress.
"Oh yes, indeed," Jack agreed. "Quite becoming."
She fluttered her annoyingly long eyelashes.
"Well in that case, I suppose it would be best to stay in this thing."
Jack nodded agreeably, picking through remaining bits and pieces of edibles left on the table from the day before.
"Thank you, Mr. Sparrow. I shall be going below now. I'm feeling absolutely exhausted this evening."
The girl dipped a curtsy and left.
Jack fell into his chair, feeling more spent from the past three days than he had in his entire life of piracy.
"Jack! Oh Jack!"
Jack gritted his teeth and continued staring out into the empty ocean through his spyglass, pretending he hadn't heard. The spyglass blurred when a large object moved in front of it, flapping obnoxiously.
Jack lowered the spyglass with forced calm the turned to face Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan who was clutching her filthy hankie and smiling adorably.
"Mr. Sparrow, I would like to lodge a complaint," she stated, he large violet eyes wide and serious.
"Would you now? What might that be?" he inquired, collapsing the spyglass with an irritable snap.
She leaned closer, casting a furtive glance around her.
"The crew is eating octopus for breakfast," she whispered behind her hand.
"So?" Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan repeated with a look of disbelief on her face. "SO?" she wailed, louder this time. "They're down there eating defenseless creatures and all you can say is "so?" Really, Mr. Sparrow, I had thought you better than this. I am truly disappointed." She dabbed at her eyes with her hankie that was now roughly the color of the ship's sails. "I will be in my quarters Mr. Sparrow, composing a petition."
The girl turned on her heel and left Jack standing alone in utter shock.
Later that afternoon, Jack was guiding the ship in a slightly more easterly direction, humming a song under his breath.
"Mr. Sparrow, may I have a moment?"
Jack rolled his eyes and clutched the wheel until his knuckles turned white.
"I always have a moment for you, Miss…"
Fortunately for Jack, Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan interrupted him before he had to stumble over her name.
"Oh Jack, you are too kind," she said waving a dismissive hand at him and blushing.
"I thought as Captain of this ship you would like to see my petition, and hopefully sign it," she added suggestively.
She held out a piece of paper on which "Save the Octopuses" was written across the top in large letters. He scanned the paper for a moment picking out the words "beloved sea creatures," "cruel and inhumane" and "utterly disgusting," before handing it back to her.
"That's very nice," he said gruffly, turning his attention back to the horizon, willing himself to see their destination, still five days away.
"You wouldn't care to sign it, would you?" she asked sweetly, fluttering her annoyingly long eyelashes.
"No, I wouldn't."
"Oh fine," she said, heaving a theatrical sigh. "I guess I shall just have to take my plea elsewhere."
"You do that."
Five minutes later, three of the crew came storming up to him, in an obvious outrage.
"Captain, that little wench just woke us up trying to get us to sign some bloody penotion about octopuses!"
"That would be 'petition' Mr. Gibbs, and what exactly would you have me do about it?'
"Tell her to stop," he demanded. "She's disturbing the peace!"
Jack gave a defeated sigh. "Just sign the damn thing and be done with it. She'll be gone in five days and it won't even matter anymore.
The trio walked away, muttering darkly to themselves.
Jack grinned cockily. The girl had spunk, he'd give her that.
One more day. Jack told himself. Just one more day and she would be gone. It was some incentive to get out of bed that morning. He opened the doors of his cabin and peeked warily out. She didn't appear to be awake yet. Cautiously he stepped out and closed the doors quietly behind him. He took a few more furtive steps. There were no shrieks, wails, or "Save the Octopuses" petitions flung in front of his face, so he figured it must be safe.
He had just lifted his foot to take another step when "Jack!" rang out across the still air. Jack froze and resisted the urge to turn tail and run back to his cabin and lock the door until they reached port.
The next thing he new, Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan had flung herself at him and was hugging him desperately, knocking him off balance and sending them both to the deck.
"I can't go!" she wailed as Jack scrambled away from her as fast as his hands and feet could carry him.
"What the blazes are you talking about, girl!" he bellowed, having had quite enough.
"I don't want to leave," she wept. "I want to stay here and be a pirate like you."
"Because, you are a affluent, spoiled, obnoxious brat that has turned my ship upside down and inside out. You will be getting off as soon as practically possible. Is that quite understood?"
"You mean you don't want me here?" Her lavender eyes brimmed with tears and Jack growled with annoyance.
"Not exactly. The thing is, Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan…" he stopped and stared at her. Had he just actually remembered her name? This was bad. She definitely had to go. He cleared his throat. "The thing is, you aren't one of us. You aren't a pirate, you know nothing about sailing and you can't stand being dirty. Go back to England and open up a boutique, or something."
"Oh, that's a good idea!" she exclaimed, her face going from the most pathetic expression to one of extreme excitement in an instant. "I could call it the Black Pearl, even," she said happily. "Oh thank you, Jack. I knew you would be able to cheer me up. And I promise that I'll write you as often as I'm able too. But," she fixed with a stern look. "I expect you to write back, is that understood?"
"Aye, I will make and effort to write you one letter if…" he let his sentence hang a moment and started hard at her. "If you do not say another word until it is time to leave. Agreed?"
She smiled and nodded mutely.
"Good. Now, go do…something."
She scurried away, no doubt to cause more mayhem in some other form. It scarcely mattered now though because in just a few short hours, Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan would no longer be his concern and all he owed her was one letter. Perhaps he could get Anamaria to write it for him. The girl would never know the difference.
Land was sighted by noon and they dropped anchor a couple hours before dusk.
Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan stood by the railing, waiting for the longboats that would take her to shore to be lowered into the water.
"Well, it's been a pleasure having you aboard," Jack said as she prepared to board the little boat.
"Oh Jack, do you really mean that?" she asked, fluttering her annoying long eyelashes.
"No, not really."
She sighed. "I thought not." She lifted her skirts to make it easier to get into the boat before stopping suddenly and turning back to him. "Here's something to remember me by," she said pulling out her dirty hanky. "It wouldn't do to forget me now, would it?"
"Of course not," Jack said accepting the scrap of fabric gingerly and shoving it in a pocket.
"Well, Mr. Sparrow, until we meet again."
He nodded cordially, his smile becoming more and more forced.
At last she was in the boat and being rowed to shore. He had some amount of sympathy for the crewmember that had the undoubtedly daunting task of enduring the row, but not enough to take his place.
"Goodbye, Jack Sparrow!" Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan called back, nearly capsizing the small boat.
"That'sCaptainJack, to you!" he shouted, though she didn't hear him.
At last Jack turned around and surveyed his ship. It seemed very quiet. He hoped the rest of the crew would want to go ashore as well. He very much wanted the entire ship to himself. Though, he supposed that since everyone wanted very much to avoid Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan, they would prefer that they left as soon as possible.
Jack grinned and strode to his cabin for a glass of rum, his old swagger once again in place.
Three months later…
"Captain, letter for you. Don' know how it every found you but it's here just the same. One of the pub owners had it."
Jack took the piece of paper and nearly dropped it as if it were a hot coal. The paper was pink and smelled faintly of lavender. With some amount of trepidation, Jack opened it.
Dear Mister Sparrow and fellow crewmembers,
I have been so busy this is the first chance I have had to tell you about how things have been going. The Black Pearl Boutique has been a huge success. I owe it all to you, Jack. I have told everyone about the marvelous seven days I had on board your ship. As a result of my time with you and your lovely crew, I have gained many followers in my quest to end octopus consumption. Don't forget your promise to write to me.
Yours truly, with much love, and as always, sincerely,
Crimson Jade Chrysanthemum O'Flanagan of The Black Pearl Boutique
Jack folded the letter back up and shoved into some distant region of his desk. And, on a whim, took his ink bottle and quill along with a piece of parchment and began a letter of his own.
- - -
Much thanks to ErinRua who let me use her delightful "Mary Sue."