A Short History of the Jolly Roger

(A very short story -- assume all the usual disclaimers.)

The Jolly Roger was a pirate ship moored in a murky lagoon.

The crew were as scurvy a scrum of sailors as you could possibly imagine -- mongrels and strays to a man.

The ship was in a sorry state. It lay half-grounded in mud. The sails were slack and torn, the rigging ravelled. The brasses had gone green. Salt water had collected in every corner and left dirty dross over the decks. Most days the crew simply staggered from sleeping berth to galley and back again.

Except for the Captain, who was a proper gentleman and most particular about his person. He kept to his cabin where he had created a private refuge from the sordid scene outside.

Early one morning, before the flowers had even begun to bloom, and while the sailors were still snoozing in their sacks, a long low boat craftily made its way across the still and chilly waters towards the jaded Jolly Roger.

The hunched over figures drawing the oars expertly manoeuvred the jolly boat up against the hull of the Jolly Roger. The boat's crew tossed hooked ladders over the side and began to climb steady and stealthily onto the larger ship. They carried cutlasses and knives, boat hooks and bludgeons, and, most curiously, had skirts tucked up under their coats.

Over the side they swarmed, shrieking like banshees, and set upon the hapless crew, hounding them from stem to stern and heaving them over the sides of the ship.

"We are the Wenches!" They screamed. "And this ship is ours, and all its crew banished!"

When he heard the hideous howls, the Captain hid in his cabin, for he knew his doom was upon him.

Then the wenches set about making the pirate galleon shipshape. They scrubbed. They sewed. They tatted new rigging. For a spring day and a spring night, they scoured the ship. Then they slept.

When the sun next rose on the shining ship, the wenches gathered afore. They eyed each other in a wary way before rushing to the Captain's cabin door.

The Jolly Roger is a proud pirate galleon, bright with banners flying. Her sheets are clean and tidy. Her rigging straight and true. She rides the water with her prow flung proud, and her crew are haughty wenches.

If you stand on the shore of the secret lagoon, you will hear the sounds of the ship.

"He's mine!" This one screams.

"No, he's mine!" That one answers and hard with a shove.

"I'm first!"

"No, you're not!"

"Get out of my way you witch!"

Then the clash of swords signals the fight, and a roiling riot begins.

And Captain Hook hides in his cabin, for he knows that his doom is upon him.