The Captain's Nightmare

" Ssshhh!" Wendy hissed to the lost boys. They obeyed her, because she was their mother...their hero, and the person responsible for devising this marvelous gruesome scheme. It was almost to awful even for them...but a sadistic urge to prove their valor led them on.

" Is he asleep?" Wendy asked Peter.

The boy grinned and nodded. " He is now."

The pirate who had been left on guard of the Jolly Roger now lay bound and gagged, with a lump the exact shape of a anthill growing out of his head.

The rest of the crew lay below, asleep and thick after a night of drunken revels. The children now had a free fun of the ship...

Barely able to contain their wicked giggles of excitement, they staged a tiptoe invasion of the pirate ship...each child carrying with them the ghastly instrument with which to perform there mischief.

" All right men!" Peter whispered commandingly..." To work! And then back to the tree for a feast of celebration!"

With a good satisfying stretch...and a noisy yawn...Mr.Smee exited his place of rest, preparing for the grueling task of rousing the Captain from slumber. There was nothing more dreadful than to face an early morning Captain after a late night of rum...

He thought.

But when he stepped outside, he met a sight, that made his blood run cold and his knees begin to knock together like coconuts in a knapsack...It was a horror so horrible that even the Captain seemed to pale in comparison.

" Oh...my Lords and Ladies!" exclaimed Smee, clapping a hand over his mouth.

The morning watch turned to meet his eyes...there faces pale, there lips drawn tight and grim. They all stood in a semi circle...examining the carnage.

" How did it happen?" asked Smee.

" We don't know. Bucks here, 'ee says 'ee 'uz on watch, and 'ee says 'ee got a knock upside his loaf. Next 'ee know of what all, this 'ere 'ad awready 'appen." Said one pirate.

" Aye! An' it's already dried too!" exclaimed another.

" Aye...'tis. What are we to do?" whispered a third.

" I can't say as I know, lads..." Smee answered truthfully.

" 'Tis savage, this ." said a tall pirate.

" Brutal! " agreed a short one.

" Makes you sick ter yer stomach! " said the pirate who was the second most fearsome pirate in the world. He didn't look fearsome now...he was holding his hand over his mouth, and his skin was rather green. Jade to be exact.

" Aye...An' I reckon summin's got ter swab it up." said the tall one again. everyone took a bold step backwards except for the short one.

Noticing he looked suspiciously eager to swab, he shook his moppy hair vigorously.

" Nooo!" he groaned. " It won' do no good! That's dried down proper, it 'as! "

" Mercy on us!" exclaimed the fearsome one.

" What will the Captain say?" asked the first one who had spoken.

" Say! What will he do? " Bucks clutched his throat. " 'E'el kill us ever one...you'll see!"

" Aye...the Captain should not have to see this sight." Smee said. " No Captain should have to see a sight like this!

" Maybe we could..."

" And maybe if we..."

They drew together in a tattered knot...and tried to solve...in a low and desperate whisper, their new-found plight.

They finally decided that above all...Mr. Smee should keep the Captain away from the deck at all costs. Even if he had to lock the cabin door...Though that was not very advisable.

" Just keep 'im away..." said Bucks. " Or it's me throat!" he made a slashing motion across his throat to emphasize his point.

" Mine too! " Smee grumbled as he turned to flee the scene. He ran right into the Captain, who was looking drowsy and a bit confused as to why no one had attended him that morning. Smee drew up as tall as possible to try to block the view behind him.

" Cap'n! Fine morning Cap'n. " so far Hook was unaware of any change whatsoever...and was more intent on stretching and glowering at his bo'sun.

'' Aye...but wouldn't yer want to step back inside, Cap'n? It's...early yet. You'll be wantin' yer breakfast...? " Smee attempted.

But it was too late.

The Captain had seen.

He looked right over Mr. Smee's sturdy shoulder, and his blue eyes bugged out quite alarmingly. His mouth dropped down so low, Smee thought he might not ever be able to get it all the way back up again. His face turned as white as the sails...

'' Smee...?" he whispered..." What...has happened?" he was shocked clear of even being angry.

" We don't know yet, Cap'n..." Smee said in a rather cajoling voice.

" But..." the Captain pointed.

" I know Cap'n..."

" But it's..."

" I know Cap'n and don' you worry, we're going to fix that..."

"But it's..." the Captain struggled to say it aloud.

" Aye, Cap'n but the men are hard at wor-"

The Captain found his voice...

" BUT IT"S PINK!"

Smee sighed..." Aye, 'tis, Cap'n."

" PINK! PINK! PINK, PINK PINK!" the Captain clapped his hand over his head as if it would help him to believe it.

" SMEEEE! MY SHIP IS PIIIIIINNNNNKKK!" he wailed.

And so it was. From stem to stern, as they say, it had been completely painted in a dazzling, very pink...pink. Not the color of ballerina's either. It was as pink as a blushing summer rose. Pinker...if that was possible. and all over the pink, there were hand prints. Yellow hand prints...just the size of a child's hands. And flowers...everywhere they looked great long garlands of flowers hung. They swung between the masts, and lines, and woven between the carved banisters of the ships railing. There were even bluebirds sitting in the rigging, singing happy songs to the horrified people below.

The fearsome pirate could stand it no more and had to retch over the rail...

" My ship! My beautiful ship! Pink! " The Captain stated pointing at the ship's deck as if Smee had not yet noticed the putrid hue. Noticing the hand prints...Hook followed them with his eyes or a moment before he tore his eyes away and growled...

Shaking a fist at the sky he yelled: " BLAST that PAN ! Curses on Him! And CURSES on all children. And the color pink! "

Then he began jumping up and down on the carnation colored planks. " Curses! Curses!" he shouted as he stomped the deck.

The fearsome pirate turned from the rail, his eyes wide with horror...and his skin greener than before. It was now positively lime.

" Cap'n..." he moaned. " It's worse !" And he pointed over the railing to the side of the ship.

All of the men and their Captain rushed to that side to peer over. A few of them gasped, one even swooned.

The Captain just began to sputter incoherently. Then he took out his pistol and shot the fearsome pirate. That always helped him to calm himself.

" Never tell me when the situation is worse!" he hissed, before turning to Smee." This is an outrage! A blemish against...decency!" he said. " This time, Pan has really gone too far!"

Smee leaned over the rail to see what Pan had done that could be worse than the pink paint and the flower garlands.

Oh.

Yes...that was very much a...

Well...a...

An outrage.

One that could be seen for miles...

Painted on the side of the ship...in yellow and blue letters as tall as a man, and resplendent with curlicues and flourishes...was the ships new name...

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THE SWEET PANSY-ROSE

The Captain sat bolt upright in his bed...his hand over his heart. Small as it was, it beat strngly out of terror and revulsion.

"No! No!...it was just a nightmare. Just a nightmare." He reassured himself.

He was still James Hook, Captain of the Jolly Roger...not...The Sweet Pansy-Rose...

With a shaky hand he opened a silver flask and drank a bracing swallow of rum.

" Just a nightmare.." he groaned to himself before falling back to the pillow.

Outside the a bluebird cheeped...swinging merrily on a flower garland.