Being the worldly man that he was, there was rare occasion for 'firsts' in Jack Sparrow's life. It was a by-product of the pirating profession, he supposed, though nay be it for him to complain. There was a certain charm with having seen everything once, and on some occasions, twice. And while such experiences may not make a man wise, they sure as hell lent him sense- not to mention a solution for virtually every possible crisis. Jack was sure he was one of only a dozen souls who knew the proper procedure of retrieving a goat down from a banana tree. It was similar odd notes of information that Jack prided himself on. Come to ol' Jack and he'll know what to do, he liked to tell the lasses, right before he charmed them up the stairs to bed.
So, taking into account all he had been witness to throughout this life, it was a rare day indeed to have the pleasure of seeing something new. That is why, when the small party of pirates found the small town to be virtually uninhabited, Jack allowed himself a moment to savor the occasion. He didn't know why the streets were empty, nor did he know how most all the houses came to be dark; but he wasn't about to question their stroke of luck. It would seem that fortune favored him still- he would have to remember to thank her later.
But that was in the future, and at present Jack found himself over laden with plunder; a most agreeable inconvenience- but an inconvenience none the less. 'More gold than you can carry' generally represented every pirate's fantasy, and sent many a shiver down many a spine, but current circumstances were certainly less than desirable. For one: he was soaked to the skin. For another: night was rapidly approaching. And lastly (though Jack was averse to admit it): they had relieved the townsfolk of simply too many items. Specifically, more than a simple wagon load.
"Well, can't we just pile it all in anyway?" he asked, taking off his tricorn and scratching his head absentmindedly.
From his seat in the front of the wagon, John Throne shook his head. " 'fraid not, Captain," he said. "That road was muddy as all hell when we came through and it sure as spit hasn't gotten any drier." He scowled at the relentless rain before continuing. "Her wheels will sink right through and then we'll have a devil of a time getting her back out again."
The small band of pirates were currently gathered around their newly stolen wagon, all looking annoyed at the prospect of leaving a goodly lot of their spoils behind. Jack frowned and tilted his head against the rain, pondering their sudden turn of misfortune. He too disliked the notion of leaving behind such a large lot of plunder. There was a pile of silks he had grown especially fond of that he would hate to see remain.
"Well now," Jack mused. "That is a problem. It's not we can just knock on the door and give it back, now can we? I'm sorry, m'lord," he mocked, clasping his hands before him in the very image of heartfelt repentance, "but me lads and I find ourselves suddenly overburdened, so we are humbly returning all your precious knick-knacks and such." He bent forward in a flourishing bow, "Do forgive- frightfully sorry for the inconvenience." Jack straightened and raised an eyebrow, addressing his men once more. "I, for one, suggest we keep it," he said with an amused glint. "Bugger the rich sods."
"I saw another wagon back yonder, Captain," young Oliver volunteered hesitantly, vaguely motioning behind him with a dirty thumb. "I could nick back for it."
Jack plopped his hat back onto his head and grinned at the boy, gold teeth glinting in dwindling light. "Good lad," he said, patting Oliver fondly on the shoulder. "That settles it. We'll commandeer another cart in the name of all that is good and gold-"
"Begging your pardon, Captain," John interrupted, his tone contrite and respectful, "but what should we be doin' with this load? One wagon is conspicuous enough, but two?" he shook his head. "It'd be mighty risky."
"Right you are," Jack said, nodding, already one step ahead of him. "You lot take it back to the Pearl and unload. The boy and I will stay and load the rest of the swag into the other wagon."
"Dog an' I'll stay with ye', Captain," Charles Adams offered, scratching at his ginger sideburns. "Ye'll need some extra hands if mud mucks up the spokes." Beside him, the tautly muscled Dog nodded mutely in agreement, his scarred face grossly distorted in the growing shadows.
"Thank you, lads- that's mighty considerate of you," Jack said, shaking his coat free of rain water and looking very much like a wet dog at that moment. "Right then," he said with a firm nod to the men, once he was satisfied with his appearance, "let's get to it. The sooner we get this done, the quicker we can get out of this bleedin' monsoon."
John nodded and snapped the reins, starling the poor sodden horse that had conveniently been attached to the cart into movement. The rest of the looting party followed closely behind the cart, wary of watching eyes. The retreating wagon was a beautiful sight to Jack's eyes- just knowing the destination of such wealth put a pleasant warmth into his black little heart. And to think, those very same items had lain unappreciated in some tolly's foyer not an hour earlier.
As a general rule, Jack never felt remorse when he robbed townsfolk- pity perhaps, but never remorse. If they were fool enough to leave their personal affects unguarded, then they rightly deserved it. Divine retribution- it had a nice ring to it. Jack liked to believe the Almighty had put him on earth for a single purpose. And if that purpose was relieving sinning half-wits of their possession, who was he to gainsay the Holy Father's motives? Someone had to worship the golden idols and Jack was just the man to do it.
Only an extremely self-confident man would claim to have divine purpose. Well, only or an extremely self-confident man or a madman. Or a priest; and if there was anything on this earth that Jack Sparrow wasn't, it was a priest- though he did impersonate one once (good times, that.) Nay, Jack was perhaps the furthest thing from a priest. It wasn't that Jack liked his women, his ale and his gold too much to trade pirating for the cloth; it was the duplicitous, meek nature of the clergy that Jack couldn't stand. Indeed, he hadn't met a 'Father' yet that didn't have an unsatisfiable thirst for a good wench, wine and coin. And while Jack appreciated the sneakiness of the church, being the good pirate that he was, sometimes too much was simply too much. Besides, he didn't have the patience to do all that playacting. Sometimes a body just wanted the satisfaction of belching in a crowded pub with a curvy lass warming his lap.
But, back to the point at hand, Jack Sparrow was as self-confident and mad as men come. After all, he was Captain Jack Sparrow. 'Cocksure' and 'eccentric' were practically included in the title. It wasn't that Jack was a vain man- though truth be told, he supposed he was rather vain, so that tended to be unsupportive to such arguments- Jack merely preferred to think of himself as individualistically cavalier. He did what he did with an unorthodox, carefree attitude and things just tended to go his way. He couldn't help it; it just came with the territory of being Jack Sparrow. And Jack wouldn't have it any other way.
Make that, Captain Jack Sparrow. No, wait- how did young William put it a few years back? Ah, yes, the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow. Sounds much better, grand even. God bless the lad for suggesting it.
As the wagon disappeared into the growing twilight, a peculiar noise caught his attention amidst the steady sound of rainfall. It was a sound that he hadn't heard in nearly eight months and it brought a genuine smile to his dirty face.
"I'll go and get that cart, Captain," Oliver said, wiping at the rainwater as it dripped into his eyes.
"Take Dog with you," Jack said absently, his eyes and ears intent elsewhere. "If you get into trouble just… well- Dog'll get you out of it."
Now where was that noise? Ah, there it was. Jack squatted on his heels and inched his way forward stealthily, looking quite ridiculous to be sure. With or without the addition of the steady downpour.
Charles watched his captain silently. Despite having been a member of Jack's crew for over four seasons now, his captain's actions never failed to surprise him. But Captain never did anything without reason, even if his reasons were slightly warped from all the time spent at sea. As Jack slowly moved farther and farther away, Charles Adams shifted his feet restlessly. He felt compelled to follow- God knows what kind of trouble Captain gets into when left to his own devices- but at the same time knew that he shouldn't leave the pile of plunder that lay neglected on the cobblestones. What if someone came by and decided to help themselves? No, he wouldn't leave, but he felt mighty apprehensive as he watched the figure of Jack slowly disappear into the rain and darkness. Blast all. Charles hoped high hell that Dog and the lad would get back soon.
Jack's prey was clever, never allowing him to get near enough but always remaining tantalizingly within reach. But Jack was determined to persevere, moving stealthily while his coattails dragged on the stones and the rain gathered in his hat. He could feel it building and sloshing about as he inched his way forward down the dark alleyway.
Using the one hand brace himself against the side of a building, Jack stretch the other out pleadingly. "Come on, friend," he said softly, lest a loud tone frighten away his quarry, beckoning with long, grimy fingers. "Come to ol' Jack."
The rooster eyed him warily, right not to trust such an insincere character, and stepped gingerly away, ruffling its wet feathers.
Jack was not deterred. He followed smoothly, hand still outstretched. "Easy there," he crooned, moving a bit too close for the bird's comfort. It squawked irritably and hopped forward.
"Now, don't do that," he scolded. "I don't want no trouble for the likes of you- hazza!" Jack exclaimed, suddenly lunging for the rooster. It didn't take kindly to his actions, however, and burst into flight, just barely escaping his grasp and leaving Jack sprawled ungracefully in a mud puddle.
Cursing, he stood up and glared at his would-be-dinner. "So it's going to be like that, eh?" he asked, glowering. From its safe position atop a low stone wall, the very wet rooster ignored him, shaking the rainwater from its feathers once more.
"It's no use," Jack said with a feline grin, carefully climbing onto a barrel. "You're never going to get away from me- I'm a dogged old fool." The rooster gave Jack the evil eye and turned away, pecking curiously at the wall top and seemingly bored of the pirate's confidence.
With a war-whoop, Jack lunged at the bird once more, this time grabbing a handful of tail feathers, much to the rooster's vocal disproval. But Jack had overestimated the strength and speed needed to trap his dinner. With an undignified grunt and an outraged squawk, Jack and the bird went over the wall in a flurry of feathers and curses- landing with an oomph in the middle of some god-forsaken jungle of sorts.
Either the short fall or the surprise at falling (Jack wasn't sure which,) knocked the breath from his lungs in a loud rush and the rooster, being unusually opportunistic for a bird, took the opening to make a quick get-away. "Not so fast there," Jack said, coughing and hastily grabbing hold of the poor fowl's tail feathers again. He quickly transferred his grip to the rooster's legs when the wet feathers near slipped from his fingers. Ignoring the bird's screams of bloody murder, Jack untangled his boots from the thick foliage and stood, knocking his hat off in the process. Grumbling and with chicken still en hand, Jack carefully bent and retrieved his faithful trihorn. It was as he was bent over that he first noticed the lights from the window.
"Well, what do we have here?" he asked to no one in particular.
Stumbling free of the opposing foliage proved to reveal the brightly lit window to belong to a brightly lit house and the 'jungle' Jack had fallen into was revealed to be a a rich man's garden. Never one to miss an opportunity to increase his reputation, Jack slapped his hat on his head with a grin and ambled toward the double glass doors. Locked doubled glass doors as he soon discovered, tugging at the handles ineffectively.
Pulling his pistol from his belt, he knocked the barrel against a glass plane politely. Let it never be said that Jack Sparrow was impolite whilst faced with proper company. When the doors opened a minute later, he smiled amiably and pointed the gun at the confused middle-aged woman, who, if her portly middle and plain clothing were any indication, was surely the housekeeper of the fine house.
"Begging your pardon," he said in a friendly tone that contradicted the physicality of his weapon, "do you mind if I come in? It's raining, and, as you can see, I'm rather wet."
And with that, he shoved the furious rooster in her face and let it do all the work for him.
A Series of Brief Confessions:
Getting into Jack Sparrow's head is a tiresome experience. His thoughts bounce off one another at an alarming speed and, as this particular chapter was an attempt to view the world from Jack's POV, it reflects that. Some ideas that were intended to be single lines, turned into paragraphs, and others that were meant to be paragraphs, wrote only as one or two sentences. I'm not entirely happy with the way this turned out either (the mocking bit especially seems forced to me); and if anyone has any suggestions on the matter, I'd be more than grateful.
And Oh My! What short chapters these are! A change for me, and an unsettling one at that- especially when compared to my ten-page minimum rule; but, I'm trying something different than my normal routine. Sometimes it feels rushed and I want to lengthen the story out, but I'm trying to remain firm. Perhaps later, after this is done, I'll go back and fill the chapters out.