-"You stole my BOAT!"
"borrowed! borrowed without permission, but with every intention of bringing it back…"-
Who can resist a Witty Jack? A rogue, a scoundrel and above all, a pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow is not one to be taken lightly. Hundreds, nay, thousands of Pirates originated from Tortuga, yet none became as well known, and well feared as my Jack. He is the stuff of legends. He haunts every ghost story. He is Captain Jack Sparrow, savvy?
Growing up in Tortuga teaches you a lot of things. "Take what you can, give nothing back." It teaches you to be vigilant, strong, and most of all, not to trust anyone. You can't be shy and retiring in a place like Tortuga. If you are, you're like as not to be raped, or shot, or both. As a black child, growing up in the Caribbean would of meant slavery, but Tortuga was my haven. By becoming a Pirate you can aspire to great things. It's not all pillaging, plundering and otherwise pilfering your measly black guts out. It's a difficult business, and dangerous for a woman. Merely having a woman on board a ship is considered terrible bad luck, but when it comes to me, Jack was right. "It'd be far worse not to."
The first time I laid eyes on Jack, he was sitting at an overflowing table at my usual. Plenty of strumpets fawned over him. I even remember their names… Scarlet, Veronica, Bella: all the usual whores of Tortuga. I presumed he was sleeping with at least two of them. And I wouldn't be surprised if he was seeing Giselle on the side. He was young, handsome, and infamous. I was merely a young swabber, dressed in men's attire, eyeing the scene with a passing interest from my perch on the other side of the room. I watched as the closest woman, with flaming red hair, unbuttoned his flannel shirt, stroking the exposed part of his chest. I watched as the other, the fat blonde, indignantly moved closer and pawed at his hair. I watched as he sat, like a king on a throne surveying his kingdom. And I watched as his eyes met mine in a slow gaze that didn't falter.
To me, Jack was a prospect, a ticket to the real life of a Pirate. Countless opportunities would open to me just through knowing this man. And so I decided to play my cards strategically. I unbuttoned my own flannel shirt, revealing an alluring amount of cleavage. I held his gaze for just a fraction of a second longer than I should have, finished my pint, and left. -Let him come to me- I thought, and sure enough, he came.
I stood by the harbour wall, staring out at the sea. I was careful not to stray too far from the bar, but stayed just far enough as so it didn't seem I was waiting for him. Moonlight illuminated everything around me, making it shimmer in the breeze of the night. Captain Sparrow had left the bar at this point and was now standing next to me, swaying ever so slightly as the rum affected the part of the brain in charge of balance.
"Now what would a fair young maiden, such as yourself, be doin' outside on a night like this?"
"She would be waiting for someone."
"Aye, and who might that be?"
"Someone who can offer her something."
Jack moved closer, curiosity inspired by the innuendo.
"And what would that somethin' be?"
Jack took a step back, bemused. I suppose he expected an answer more along the lines of "take me I'm yours." However, it takes more than dark brooding eyes and an infamous status to sway me, at least that's what I thought.
"What sorta job would you be wantin'?" Jack stroked his mustache thoughtfully, clearly caught off-guard by my request. I watched as the tip of his tongue flicked out to moisten his lips.
"A job on your ship."
"Ah." There was the wavering. See, news of Jack travels fast in the small port of Tortuga, and rumour had it, that he was ship-less. This was where my proposition came in.
"Captain Sparrow, you do have a ship, do you not?" My voice was taunting, tainted with disdain.
"Of course I have a ship! What kind of Captain would I be without a ship?"
"Well then, my request is to join your crew."
"You can't." Jack stared at me with his dark, mad eyes.
"And why not?"
"I'm not recruitin' mate. Sorry." He turned and started walking away, and not in a straight line may I point out.
"Captain Sparrow." I called out after him. "What would you say if I said I had a ship that I'm willin' to loan you?" He stopped. I smiled. The fish had smelt the bait. He turned round slowly, the trinkets in his hair jangling.
"What sorta ship?"
"Would you like to see it?" My voice was seductive, dripping with honey. I had the plan all laid out.
"Aye." Jack purposefully strode back towards me. "Take me to your ship."
And so I did. Looking back on it, I was foolish, naïve. Proud at the vessel I had… acquired. I walked over to the jetty where my ship was safely moored.
"There she be." I smiled proudly.
"Where?" Jack looked around. I remember well the look of befuddlement on his face.
"There!" I pointed, "Right here!"
"That?" Jack almost laughed. "That's not a ship, mate. That's a rowing boat with a mast."
"What?" I was incredulous, "That is a fine specimen of a vessel!" But looking at her, I realised how pathetic she looked, moored between the fishing boats and the other pirating ships. She was large enough for about ten, maybe twelve people. She had a mast, but, when standing on the top, one could easily jump back down onto the deck without harm. In fact, there was no deck at all. The deck was the bottom of the boat. But she was mine. I had bargained and saved and stole for this ship and she was mine. With Jack's help, that ship was going to be my ticket to freedom. A glowered at Jack "Well, she's more than what you have."
Jack looked thoughtful… well, as thoughtful as Jack can ever look. At last he placed a hand round my shoulder. "Very well young…"
"Ana-Maria." Jack smiled. I later learned to recognise this as his 'crafty' smile. "I have a room, not far down the road. We shall go there, sit down, and discuss your terms over a bottle of rum. What say you?"
This was where I failed. I should of said no. I should have told him my terms there and then. I should never have gone with him to his dark apartment, the top room of the bar. But such was my eagerness for him to accept, such was my un-suppressible desire to gain his respect, as a fellow, that I followed him blindly. What happened next was no fault but my own.
His room was small. There was a grand four-poster bed and in front of it, a table with two chairs. A small door leading to the latrine could be seen in one corner, and the shabby curtains covering a small window brought the whole room's grandness down a considerable amount of notches.
"Well, Jack. This is hardly a palace fit for an infamous Captain, such as yourself." I felt that fawning to him would increase my prospects a little. I was right, in a way.
"You'd think that, Miss Anna-Maria. But after a few swigs of this," Jack produced a stout bottle of a substance I imagined to be rum, "this hovel transforms itself into a place of sheer beauty."
I smiled naively and allowed myself to be led to a seat at the table. Jack's hand felt rough and textured against my own cold fingers. He sat himself down beside me and uncorked the dusty bottle. "To business?" He asked raising said bottle. I grinned craftily and dragged my chair to the other side of the table, until I was directly opposite him.
"To business." I agreed. Jack looked bemused as he took his first swig from the bottle, placing it down in front of me on the table. "So, Captain Sparrow, what are y'willing to offer me for that ship?"
Jack gestured to the bottle "There'll be no talk of your boat until you've had a drink."
I should have thought of my position, been wary of this… stranger. But being young and foolhardy, believing I could stomach my own liquor, I drank. Jack smiled his crafty grin and spoke again. "So, you wants to be working under my rule, on your boat?"
"That I do." I drank again
"Why me?" Jack fingered his mustache then took the bottle from me.
"Out of all the notorious Pirates that ever sailed the seven seas, why choose me?" Raising the bottle to his lips, he frowned slightly, awaiting my answer.
"Because, Captain Sparrow, you are positively the most fearsome Pirate in the Spanish Main." I could feel the alcohol affecting me a little as I took back the bottle. "That, and the fact that you be without a boat of your own." It was my turn to grin craftily.
"Ah." Jack stood up and began to pace around the room. "So if I had a ship, you wouldn't have bothered?"
"No, I still might have."
"I'm not sure you would have, missy. I'm not sure if you're not just," He stood behind me, placing both of his worn hands on each of my shoulders. "Twisting the situation for your own benefit." I felt the heat from his body pulsate through my own and I suddenly felt a great pride to be in the presence of such a creature as Jack Sparrow. I stood up, slightly shakily, trying to let him know that it was I who was in control, not he.
"Isn't that what pirates do, Mr Sparrow?" I stood very close to him, bottle in one hand, the other placed firmly on my hip. Jack smiled at me.
"I suppose it is, love." He ran the back of his fingers slowly down my cheek, causing me to close my eyes and breathe in sharply. His presence was overwhelming. Taking the bottle from me with one hand, and placing the other behind my head he moved his mouth sensuously towards mine. "And it's Captain Sparrow, if y'don't mind."
The next thing I remember was lying in his bed, shirt unbuttoned and Jack's calloused hands caressing my exposed sides and thighs. I heard myself moan with pleasure as he placed fluttering kisses up my stomach and through the small gap between my breasts, finishing by pressing his lips firmly against my own. I had often thought that if I were to be in this position with anyone, I would be more authoritative, but Jack's imminent presence, combined with the effect of the rum, caused me to succumb to him completely.
I carefully began to unclip and unbuckle his belt. Suddenly he laughed, moving his hands down to grab mine. "You've got ter be a bit more forceful than that, love."
His belt, and other garments were quickly discarded, as were my own. I remember the heat of his skin against mine as we lay in the vast bed together, once the deed had been done. I'm not ashamed to say it wasn't my first time. Growing up in Tortuga, you loose your innocence very early on in life. But up until then, no one could compare to the great Jack Sparrow. His experience was evident, as he knew just where to move, and what to touch to get the desired reaction from me. The act left me hot and breathless, lying under the thin sheets next to the infamous pirate.
Regulating my breathing, I turned on to my side to face him. I remember clearly the smell of rum, salt and gunpowder that hung from his clearly unwashed hair. I tangled my fingers around a dreadlock, feeling the course hairs rub against my dark skin. Jack looked at me with puzzled eyes, an expression of surprise etched across his eyebrows.
'Jack?" I asked in a soft, breathless voice.
I ran my fingers along the circumference of a coin entangled with a ribbon amongst the dreads.
"Why do you have all this in your hair? All this… junk?"
Jack was clearly insulted. "Junk? You be calling my trinkets junk?" He propped himself up on the pillow with his arm, facing me. " I'll have you know, each of my trinkets yields a tale."
"Alright. What be the tale behind this one?" I asked tugging gently on the same coin.
"Ah. Now that's a verrrry interesting one." He elongated the 'r' sound, rolling it slightly. He flopped back onto his back, stretching out an arm around my shoulders to drag me towards his chest. I let myself be steered as I rested my head on his naked torso, smiling to myself. "I acquired it whilst touring the Caribbean, back when I still had the Pearl. I happened to be in the bad favour of one of the notorious Pirate Lords. Don't ask why, Love, it's always been a mystery to me." He looked down and winked as I yawned sleepily. "Anyways, after days of chasing, I decided to face him. The Pearl could easily out sail him any day…"
"It is the fastest ship in the Spanish Main." I murmured, knowing this would please him.
"Aye. But I decided that it's best to settle these things, rather than let them drag on like an unsettled grudge, savvy? So there was a fierce battle…"
And then I was lost, lost in the fantastical world that only Jack Sparrow inhabits. Many have glimpsed the world, as I did then, but none share it in the same way as Jack. He told me of his victories, his battles, his killing the infamous pirate and him becoming a Pirate Lord. The details all merged into one as I lay, dreamily, in awe of this fantastic pirate and all the things he'd seen. And as I lay there, I wished that one day I too would experience the same.
But that is stuff of dreams and fantasies.
I fell asleep in his arms. His hair tickling my face, his strong arms wrapped around my body and rough hands gently rubbing my back. Part of me will always remember Jack that way. The loving tenderness he seemed to show and the pride I felt at being the one to experience it.
I awoke the next morning cold and alone in the enormous bed. Jack was gone, as were his clothes and the remains of the rum. It was at that moment that I knew it all to be a lie. Jack had lied to me. It was all a story. Just like the one he had told me. I would become another chapter in his life; to be exaggerated and embellished upon until only a glimmer of truth remained. I would be made out to be a gorgeous African princess, wooed by Jack's charm and wit (no rum involved at all) and would have fallen madly and deeply in love with him. He would talk of how I gave him my kingdom, and how he left me crying on a cliff top, staring out to sea as he sailed away.
I knew what had happened the previous night was probably a repeat of what had happened to countless women before me, and would happen to countless after. But as I sat there in the bed, naked as the day I was born I found I couldn't be angry. Anger would find me later, as I walked to the jetty to find my ship gone, with nothing to show for it except a severed rope. But as I sat there in the cold, empty bed I could do nothing but laugh…
…and laugh at my charming, scheming, Witty Jack.
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