Jack turned two-and-a-half yesterday and, God, he is as adorable as ever-if not, more. A baby Don Juan. I know that all parents say this, but Jackie really is superior to other children.
Not like I've seen any of 'em lately, but the one's I have seen always sit on their pink, little asses and eat- the lazy bums.
Not Jack, though- his vocabulary is like that of a five-year-old! He's already puttin' sentences together like he was twice his age. Why, just yesterday, I asked Jack, "Hey, boy- whatser name?" in my "daddy voice" I talk to him with.
"Muh name's Chack!"
"An' who am I?"
"An' what's Daddy's name?"
"No, Jack- what's Daddy's name?"
"No, that's your name. What's my name?"
"Yeah, my name."
"Teede? Teede Sparroooooow!"
And that's when I picked him up and swung him around my head, like he likes.
"Lookit' my boy- lookit' how damn smart he is!"
"I damn smart!"
He was so cute- his hair was flappin' all around in his face, but he didn't care- he just kept on sqealin'. So, what if he has a little trouble with his j's and g's… whatever- still the brightest damn thing on this ship.
However, Jack and I have been gettin' in a little rough spot these last months… food shortages are a problem… and we're always being pestered by rival marauding bands pirates and the Dutch (considering this is kinda' their boat). I've lived this way for almost ten years but Jack… he's used to it, I suppose, but… it's just getting' too hard for us.
Jack is the best child you could hope for on a ship, too. He doesn't mind playing with the same wooden blocks he's had all his life… he can go for a day without food and he won't complain none.
But that's what I'm afraid of. As a baby, he used to be so pudgy and energetic but, lately, he's been skinnier- he used to be able to run around the cabin all day, giggling and shouting but, now,he'll just plop himself down and play quietyly. Once, I saw him walking across the room to get his old baby blanket on the other side of the room, only to fall face first onto his hands. Jack continued traversing on all fours. It wasn't that he tripped, he was just to tired to continue on.
And that's not our only problem: two months ago, we were attacked. A band of rival marauders from the North Indies boarded the ship in the middle of the ngiht: we didn't see them coming because of a thick fog we wandered into and couldn't get out.
They boarded her around midnight and, in seconds guns were being fired and swords were being swung. My first impulse was to remain on deck and fight, defend everything I got, until I heard the faint screams of a frightened child.
I was such an idiot! I almost laugh Jack completely alone in the cabin. I mean, who knows who could've entered the cabin and hurt him? Or worse, take him? I panicked, ran into the room, locked the door and watched a blue blanket scream and writhe on the floor.
"Shh! Shh! It's alright, boy! Don't cry!" I said, running over to him and scooping him into my arms.
Every time Jack seemed like he was going to stop crying, stop being afraid, another gunshot would ring out or another man would curse and shout… and his tears would double.
I didn't want to abandon the ship or the crew, but leaving Jack scared and alone and so susceptible to danger wasn't an option-I'd be damned to Hell before I let someone come onto my ship and hurt my boy. I held him in his blanket for at least an hour, hiding underneath my desk.
The door was broken down in one of those few seconds where Jack was not screaming, as if it would have mattered: his cries were always drowned by the fire of canons and guns. My heart would stop every time scuffling footsteps could be heard against the floor. They never came close to where we hid and, when they did, they were always interrupted by a gunshot to the head.
When the noise died down and the familiar voices of my crewmates calling my name was the lone sound penetrating the air, I removed jack and myself from beneath the desk and called for a status report.
"We lost four, Captain Teague."
I asked who.
"Timothy, John, Alan and Stephen."
Jack was solemn and silent, his head hung down to the floorboards, as if in respect for the dead.
"And inventory?" I asked.
"We were more fortunate: a barrel of salt was thrown overboard, but all else remains."
I gave the order to bury the bodies at sea. We were very lucky that the salt wsa all we lost, but I could still tell by the faces of crew that they were upset their captain was not there to guide them when they needed him most. They gave stares at Jack, too, as if he was to blame. I had never seen them so disappointed.
That's why we're leaving.
It's the best thing for everybody, really.
The crew won't have to be held back, two less mouths to feed and, most importantly, Jack will be safe. Thank God You-Know-Who isn't here to rub it in my face. She'd probably think I had given in to her: done exactly as she had planned.
Well, this is only temporary- I know it. Jack an' I will be back on the sea before we know it. He's just too young right now, y'know?
I asked the crew about it and they agreed it was for the best. My first mate, a man by the name of Barker, was gonna be runnin' things for a while. He's a good kid, he can handle it.
As for Jack, I decided I should ask him, too. I caught him one day, playing with his blocks.
"Hey, Jack- you, uh, you like Dad's ship?"
"Chip? Yeah, I like chip."
"You do, eh? You like, uh, all this water y'got around you?"
"Wah'r? Wah'r… yeah, I like wah'r… wah'r's gooooooooood…"
"Well, we're go'n be takin' a little break from the ship and, uh… and the water. We're gonna' be somewhere else… you understand, Jack?"
"Yeah… on land."
"Lan'? Where lan'?"
He was confused- he had no idea you could live on land. We've been ashore a bunch of times, but he's always stayed on the boat- usually it was at night, when he was sleeping.
"We're not gonna' be on this ship anymore, Jack."
"No, Jack… not on another ship."
"No chip? We live… somewhere ehwse?"
He stared into space for a few seconds.
"I be with Teade?"
"Yeah, you can be with Teague."
He clapped his hands and smiled.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: alright… this is the last time… I SWEAR! No more sappy stuff- we're gettin' back to the hard core comedy- sex, violence and drugs! Well, maybe not that stuff… but it's gonna' be funny from now on… I SWEAR. RARGH!!!