"Mr. Mercer, do inform the Captain he shall be held responsible if we fail to reach our destination in a timely manner." Cutler Beckett said from his seat behind the desk in his day cabin.
"I have already taken the liberty of doing that Sir." Mercer replied.
Beckett's lips twisted into a cruel smile, "Very good Mr. Mercer, I intend to be there to apprehend them before they have a chance to escape me again."
"Surely former Commodore, you've not let a few bottles of rum knocker ya." Jack said, waving his own bottle somewhere in the general direction of the man sitting beside him.
James swatted at one of several bottles his blurred vision perceived hovering near him, and missed them all, "It has been more than a few Captain, and excuse me if I do not possess your ignominious ability for rum consumption. Some of us have actually tried to do more with our lives than see how many bottles of rum we could lay waste to."
Jack shrugged and returned the bottle to his mouth, taking a large swig. As he lowered it he leaned over into James' face, poked him in the chest with a finger, and replied, "Seems ta me when I came across ya in this fine little port that was exactly what you was in fact doin, although yer words tend toward a fine ideal I'm sure former Commodore. But have ya perchance thought and pondered on just where all them fine ideals has gotten ya? In case ya missed it ya happen ta be a rum pot deckhand 'n previous Commodore what's now sittin drunk on his arse on the deck of a pirate ship havin lost everything, fine house, fine rank, fine fiancé…. Brought ya naught 'cept me own fine company as it were, 'n even though I'd be considerin that a fair trade I'm doubtin once ya sober up….if ya sober up, you'd not be tendin ta see it in that exact same light. Savvy?"
James tried to focus on the face floating around in front of him, finally gave up and dropped his eyes to the bottle clutched in his hand at his side. With a snort he replied, "Trying to bolster my confidence Captain? Perhaps I have been mistaken all these years, perhaps I was meant to be a poltroonish recreant, destined to spend his life drunk on his arse on the deck of a pirate ship, I certainly seem to have adapted to that life quite well."
Jack peered at the man for a moment, then with a sigh sat back and shook his head, "Didn't think ya the type ta give up so easily former Commodore, havin trouble believin I've judged ya that much ta the wrong."
James snorted once again, "Do you actually think this has been easy? I have had everything I held dear taken from me, and not by my own actions but those of others, although I do hold myself responsible for most of it, I should have seen it coming, done something to stop it." James finished in a quiet tone. He sat there silent for a few moments taking several swigs from the bottle, then trying to rally his voice, make it sound sarcastic he said, "Ah, but I forget, I am in the presence of Captain Jack Sparrow, knower of all, answerer to none. So tell me Captain, delve into that apparently infinite cache of wisdom you carry around with you, and tell me just how do I get my life back?"
"Don't understand why ya'd want ta be doin that but if that's yer intent then ya never allow yerself ta give up mate, never. Ya change the facts, turn misfortune ta fortune, disadvantage ta advantage, ya take what ya can and give nothin back." Jack answered, his tone laced with passion.
James snorted again, his tone heavy with sarcasm as he replied, "That simple is it?"
Jack cast a look at James, "Or else ya can just sit here drunk on yer arse and pretend it's all a bad dream former Commodore."
James picked up the bottle, held it up in front of him as if giving a toast and said, "Currently that sounds like the only thing I would be capable of accomplishing Captain." He raised the bottle to his lips and didn't lower it till it was almost drained.
Jack watched as the man tipped the bottle up, he watched as a few moments later the bottle landed heavily on the deck beside the man, watched as the man's eyes fluttered closed. He leaned over and peered into the man's face, poked him in the chest a few times and got nothing but a twitch and a slight moan in response. He smiled and gave James' shoulder a shove, smiled wider as the man fell over sideways on the deck and emitted a little louder moan as his head smacked against said deck. He sat back, took a drink from his rum bottle, looked once again at James, tapped his chin thoughtfully and said, "Now former Commodore, just what are we ta do with ya? Can't let ya sit around drunk 'n mournful all the time, be bad fer morale and all, not ta mention the effects on me own sensibilities. No, we will have ta come up with somfin ta keep yer mind off yer troubles, no matter how much ya'd rather sit and wallow in self pity." Jack perused the ship; his gaze went up to the rigging, he shook his head and mumbled to himself, "Not a good idea I'm thinking here, havin a morosely drunken self pitying injured former Commodore would not improve the situation a'toll." He continued to look around the ship as he mumbled to himself, "Have ta keep yer feet on deck as it were 'n closer to the figurative ground so to speak former Commodore…..feet on the deck………..feet on the………." Jack began to smile a wide glittering smile as he fluttered his fingers at the comatose man beside him, then patting the man's back continued, "Not feet former Commodore, knees….knees 'n hands. Aye, 'm thinkin that'd be a fine position fer a fair former Commodore ta be takin."
"Yes Mr. Mercer, you have a report?" Cutler said from his desk as Mercer entered the cabin.
"Yes Sir, the informant says the Pearl is still anchored in the cove. It appears they won't be leaving any time soon as most of the hands are occupied in the taverns, and have been for several days. Sparrow, Norrington, and a skeleton crew are all that are staying aboard."
"Ah wonderful Mr. Mercer, we should be able to surprise them then." Cutler said with a smirk, then looking up at the man he asked, "Was there something else?"
"The informant Sir, says he wants more money this time, says he more than deserves it for his trouble."
"Did he now?" Cutler replied as he turned to gaze out the window for a moment tapping his chin with a finger, then turned back to look at his 'secretary', "Well then Mr. Mercer I insist we give him what he deserves. You will see to that?"
"Yes Sir, I will see to it immediately." Mercer said with a smile, then turned and left.
Cutler turned back to the window as he spoke in a quiet tone, "So Jack, it seems all will soon come full circle and you will find yourself back on my vessel and under my control once again, as well as Mr. Norrington." He stood up and walked over to the sideboard and poured himself a glass of brandy, raised it to his lips, and just before drinking it smiled and said, "What a wonderful time we shall have when reunited."
To Be Continued
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