The Amazing Misadventures of Two Half-wits
Part I—Before the Curse of the Pearl
Chapter 5—An Eye For An Eye
Days passed and so did many ship battles and raids on ports, but Ragetti still didn't have that cursed wooden eye yet. The more Pintel considered this, the angrier he got. Besides that, the more things that Ragetti seemed to walk away from unharmed, the more painful—and 'accidental'—encounters he seemed to have with Barbossa.
The more days that went by, the more Pintel began to worry about this, until one day he couldn't stand it anymore. He and Ragetti were just mopping up the deck—like they did every other day of the year—when Barbossa came up to them, his hand clutching a ripe, green apple. He glowered over them, his mouth twisted in a sneer.
"Good work, lads. Keep it up."
Ragetti looked up and asked in almost a whisper, " 'Scuse me, sir?"
Just as Barbossa turned to walk off, he he stopped. "What?"
He opened his mouth to say something, but all that came out was a fearful, "Nothin' sir." and he continued his work. Barbossa nodded and walked off, seemingly satisfied. Once he was gone, Pintel glared at the feeble Ragetti.
"Wha' was that?"
Ragetti looked up, his messy hair in his eyes, almost completely obstructing his line of vision. "What was what, Pint?"
"I don' know what 'that' is, Pint."
He sighed and took a moment to calm down before he explained, "What were ya just about to ask Barbossa? Was it about the eye?"
Ragetti nodded and said simply, "Course it was."
"Well then why didn't ya ask him about it, ya fool? Why do ya always gotta back down? He won't know what yer thinkin' until ya tell 'im!"
"I guess I could."
He nodded. "Yeah, ya could, so why don't ya?"
Ragetti thought for a second then shrugged. "Guess I just don't want ta trouble him more than he's already troubled."
"Well yer about to be in trouble unless you go up right now and ask him where that eye is an' why ya don't have it yet!" Pintel growled. Ragetti threw his mop down and nodded.
"Right. I deserve a award fer all me hard work, right?"
Pintel narrowed his eyes and responded dully, "Ya mean reward, Rags, not an award."
"Right! I deserve a reward, right?"
"Yeah, yeah, now go and talk ta Barbossa. Fellas are startin' to stare." he said, trying to ignore the prying stares of the other curious pirates.
Ragetti nodded and went to find the first mate again, but returned sometime later looking sadder than ever. Pintel watched the young pirate as he picked up is mop and resumed his work. He asked in an irritated tone, "What happened, Rags?"
Before he could even finish his sentence the voice of Twigg sounded out across the deck. "Ship out across the way! Starboard side, flyin' colors of the French!"
Jack hurried out of his quarters and pushed past hoards of pirates that had gathered on one side of the Pearl. He elbowed past Pintel and Ragetti and squinted at the approaching outline of a large ship. He frowned and wrinkled his nose slightly.
"Oh. Well that's not good."
"What?" some pirates asked. Jack ignored them and turned to Barbossa, who stood next to him, still gnawing on his apple. His monkey rested on his shoulder, screeching eagerly.
"Oi, First Mate Barbossa, what do you reckon? A Frigate or a Galleon?"
"Neither. Ship of the Line, that be."
Every one of the pirates began talking amongst themselves. Ragetti just turned to Pintel and asked obliviously, "What does that mean?"
"A Ship of the Line, is that bad?"
Pintel said, "Well, those be the worst kinds of ships that can come at a pirate. Each of 'em's specially made fer huntin' down and killin' folk like us."
"Oh. That's not good, is it?" Ragetti asked. He shook his head.
"Nah, things could be better, mate."
"Oh, bugger." Captian Sparrow muttered as he leaned a little farther over the rail of the Pearl in an effort to get a better look at the approaching ship. There came the sound of cannon fire as the Ship of the Line fired off a round at the Pearl. Jack flew back from the edge of the rail and laced his fingers together.
After a crucial second of much consideration and thought, he frowned and said, "Right. Um...man the cannons, lads."
All of the pirates glanced at each other. Barbossa sighed and rolled his eyes at their hesitation. "To the cannons, ye useless maggots!"
At once everyone began hurrying below deck to man a cannon, leaving only a few pirates—plus Jack and Barbossa—above deck. Jack let out a little grunt of discomfort and said, "Barbossa, you hold down the Pearl. Make sure that the lads do their jobs." He hurried off. Barbossa glared at him.
"Where are ya goin', Jack?"
"To find me rum."
"Get me a cannon, ya fool!"
"I'm tryin', Pint, but there are people everywhere!"
Pintel sighed and rolled his eyes. "What did I do to deserve this?"
"Hey, I got one!" Ragetti called as he hurried back to the cannon that he and Pintel shared. His thin arms quaked under the weight of the cannonball, and as he dropped it at Pintel's feet, he let out a groan. "Why do they's gotta be so heavy?"
Pintel shrugged as he loaded the cannon. "I dunno, Rags. To kill stuff, I guess."
Before he could even light it, the wood of the Pearl began to splinter as the Ship of the Line's cannons blasted off. Pintel ducked, but Ragetti, who was too terrified to even breathe, stood there above him, cowering.
There came the sound of splintering wood filled the air as cannonballs ripped through the hull of the Pearl. Above deck Jack could be heard shouting, "Stop blowing bloody holes in my ship! We just finished fixing her!"
But the cannon fire didn't cease. Ragetti stood there covering his ears, lighting the cannon as Pintel yelled, "Fire!"
Then there came a cannon that cut through the hull right next to Ragetti's face. The pirate was blown to the ground by the impact. He let out a cry as the sharp, splintered wood from the Pearl's hull cut into his flesh. He lay in the ground sobbing once it was all over, gripping the side of his face. Pintel hurried over to him, worry beginning to steal the air in his lungs.
His heart was squeezing tightly, and for one horrible moment he thought he might pass out, but it passed when he saw the pain that blazed in his friend's uncovered eye. "Pint, what'd I do wrong?"
He shook his head and said in what he hoped was a confident way, "Tain't done nothin' wrong, Rags."
Ragetti let out a little sob and his two bony hands, which were covering the left side of his face, began trembling, "It hurts s'bad!"
"What 'appened? Lemme see."
He shook his head quickly and let out a yell at the pain the movement brought. "I...I can't. T'hurts too bad, Pint, please don' make me..."
"Move yer hands." Pintel said as he tried to push them aside himself.
Ragetti let out a horrible, "No!" as he tried to fight off his friend's touch.
Pintel rolled his eyes as he fought to control the growing, sickening worry that was threatening to overtake him. Ragetti, sensing this, calmed down a little. I can't panic, I can't. Pintel thought as he gripped both of Ragetti's bony wrists in one hand and forced his quaking hands away from his face. What he saw made him feel sick all over again.
"Oh, Jesus, Rags...what happened to ya?" was all that he could say.
The whole side of Ragetti's face was torn apart, marred by the splintered wood of the Pearl. His eye was tearing out drops of flowing redness and was filling with blood, turning from pristine, pure white to a painful, bloody red. The iris, which had once been a cheery blue, was now clearly sliced open in places, oozing some unknown fluid, and tinted maroon. Pintel hurriedly released Ragetti's hands and allowed him to cover his face again. He tried not to look too disgusted, but Ragetti saw past this act.
"Wha'? What's wrong with me eye?" and he began sobbing again, his whole body trembling. "S'hurts real bad, Pint, an' I don't know what I done wrong, but I fink I'm dyin'."
Pintel shook his head. "Yer not dyin', ya f-fool." he cursed himself for allowing his voice to waver so suddenly. Ragetti didn't notice, however, because he was stuttering horribly himself.
"H-How d-d-do ya know?"
He racked his brain with for an answer and said the first thing that popped into his mind. "Well a'fore folks die, they sees a light."
Ragetti tried to raise a brow but grimaced as pain shot through him. He managed to sputter, "A-A light?"
He nodded. "Aye, that's right. A light."
" 'Ow do ya know?"
Pintle thought for another moment then shrugged. "S'jus' what they see, I suppose."
"Well, 'ow do ya know what a dyin' man sees afore he dies if you never died a'fore?"
"Why're ya askin' so many questions? I thought that ye were supposed to be in pain."
"Then shut yer mouth!" Pintel snapped before thinking. Then he took a moment to calm down before saying gently, "Now listen 'ere Rags, I've seen men die an' I've heard 'em sayin' they're last words, an' I ain't no expert in the matter, but I'd dare to speculate that a'fore they die, a'fore they breaf they last breath and leave this Earth, they see a light."
Ragetti nodded and hesitated for a moment before asking, "But 'ave ye ever died?"
He sighed once more and rubbed his eyes. Finally he said, "Okay, Rags, now we're gonna get ya up them steps that lead to the upper deck an-"
"Pint, pint!" Ragetti suddenly yelled as he began to grope blindly around, "I...I can' see!"
He gasped. "What do ya mean ya can't see?"
"I can' see!"
"Ya can or ya can't?"
Ragetti began to sob, tears streaming from his good, blue eye. His face became fearful as he yelled, "I don't know...I can't see nofink!"
"What do ya mean?"
His hand reached blindly for Pintel's shoulder and squeezed. "Everythin' is black an' the sounds is echoin'."
Pintel let out a mournful cry and said, "Ragetti, are you serious?"
"What?" was all the he responded.
Pintel sighed and looked around. "God, I hope no one sees me do this..." he muttered as he scooped the young, shivering pirate up into his arms and hurried above deck. Surprisingly, everyone was cheering, raising their swords and all swigging down bottles of rum. Pintel frowned.
"What the bloody hell's goin' on around here?"
"Master Pintel, just what are ya doin' carryin' that wretch in yer arms?"
He looked to his left to see Barbossa approaching him, a sneer, as always, on his face. Pintel cleared his throat. "Well, sir, he's hurt, an'-"
"An' you just figured that you'd-" and his eyes it up as he realized the full brunt of what Pintel had just said. He nodded and held out his arms. "Let me see the lad."
Pintel glared at the other pirates as they gathered around, including Captain Sparrow. Jack frowned at the sight of Ragetti and said, "Oi, he's not dead yet?"
"Apparently not." Pintel growled hatefully at him as Ragetti was taken out of his arms.
Barbossa was none too tender with him, but thankfully the young pirate had passed out. He glared down at Ragetti and slapped his face lightly. "Lad, are ya alive? Lad? Hello, can ye hear me?"
"Sir, he can't-"
"Silence, Pintel. I wasn't talkin' to you." and with that Barbossa roughly turned Ragetti's face, observing his every cut and injury. Slowly a sick, twisted smile began to form on his lips. "Perfect."
Barbossa threw the thin form of Ragetti back into Pintel's arms and ordered, "Take him down to yer hammocks. We'll get someone to look him over."
Jack sighed. "But why, Barbossa, are we wasting our time trying to save him when we have numerous other, better lads to-"
"Jack, are ye a fool or just drunk?"
The Capitan thought about it for a moment then glared at him. "Just drunk, you bugger." and he turned to the rest of the pirates and, stealing another man's rum, exclaimed, "Oi, did I say stop celebrating? Get on with it, ye lazy..."
Pintel felt himself grow sick with worry as he walked with Ragetti over to the hammocks. He looked out and, much to his surprise, he saw a perfectly red and orange sunset hanging over the crystal waters of the Caribbean. The orange orb that was the sun was sinking low below the horizon, and sailing into it was the Ship of the Line, letting off torrents of thick smoke. It's waving flag was now silhouetted against the dying light of the sun, in rough tatters.
After he had put the unconscious Ragetti in his hammock, Jack had come in and slapped in on his shoulder. "Good work, lad, but now it's time to let the doctor do the rest."
Pintel arched a brow. "We have a doctor on this ship, sir?"
Jack frowned. "Well, not in a literal sense, but he's been trai—well, that's a lie. He hasn't been trained in a literal sense either, but he's the best that we've got for surgical things and such."
"Aye, lad. The bloke's going to lose that eye, I'd wager." and as Jack urged Pintel back to the upper deck, he said, "Who knows? He'll probably die."
Pintel sighed as he went above deck. If Ragetti died then he didn't know what he would do. The kid had become a regular, expected, and welcome part of his life now. To take him out of it again would be impossible to readjust to. He sighed and went to find himself a bottle of rum. This was going to be a long night.
The next morning Pintel awoke on the deck of the Pearl to the sound of Barbossa's voice. "Hey, lad, wake up. It's mornin'."
He let out a tired grunt and looked up at him. "Huh? What time is it?"
"Time fer ya to go and check on your friend. Now! I ain't takin' more thank five minutes outta my busy schedule for you."
"Yeah," Pintel said, stifling a yawn, "I'm comin', I'm comin'."
He followed Barbossa down to the hammocks. The place was empty. Bright, overly cheerful sun rays pierced through the planks of the Pearl, illuminating the place. Only one hammock was occupied. Pintel felt his heart begin to pound in his ears as he walked a little faster. Barbossa grinned at his obviously concerned behavior.
"A little eager, are we? Well don't get too excited. He's in an awful state, but Patel did the best he could."
Pintel frowned. "Patel? Who the bloody 'ell is Patel?"
"Aja Patel, the closest pirate that we could find to a doctor." Barbossa smiled and added as if it would ease his worries, "He's from the East Indies. They be good at all that mystic mumbo-jumbo." and he stepped back and nodded towards the sleeping form of Ragetti. "Go ahead."
"You're just gonna stay right there?"
Barbossa nodded. "Yeah. Captain Jack wanted me to make sure that ya didn't stick around the whole day. You still have work to do, you know."
Pintel said nothing as he leaned a little closer to Ragetti and said roughly, "Hey, wake up, ya fool. Rags? Ragetti, if yer still with me say so, or else I'm goin'."
Ragetti let out a tired moan and opened his one good eye. The other side of his face was completely bandaged with some old, tattered cloth. "Pint? Wha' happened? Where am I?"
"Yer in the Pearl, Rags."
Pintel rolled his eyes. "Again with the 'oh'."
Ragetti didn't say anything for a moment. He ran one of his bony hands over the cloth that covered his face and whispered, "Am I alive?"
"Course yer alive, ya fool. If you were dead do you think I'd be here?"
"But..." his voice trailed off and his blue eye became hazy as he said, "...what happened to m'face? I can't see outta me eye..."
"Don't take the bandage—"
Before he could even finish his sentence, Ragetti had removed the cloth, and his filthy hands were roaming over his sunken cheeks. He swallowed and winced as he gently fingered the hallowed-out socket that had once housed his eye. He looked back at Pintel, his head cocked slightly to the side in an effort to even out his now lopsided vision.
Then he asked the stupidest question that Pintel had ever heard in his life. With a straight face and his one good eye looking puzzled, he inquired, "Where'd me eye go, Pint?"
He sighed and distractedly scratched his balding head. "Well, Rags," he said shyly, "ya sorta lost it."
Pintel frowned. Again? Really? Is that the best he could think to say? I did sort of save his life for the second time, after all...
And then it came. "Pint, I don't remember mucha anythin'. Is that bad?"
"Well it's not good, if that's what ya mean."
"Oh. Hey, Pint?"
He looked down at him. "Yeah, Rags?"
"Why's Barbossa laughin' like that?"
Pintel opened his mouth to say something, but stopped. He turned around to face the pirate, who indeed was chuckling softly to himself, rolling the wooden eye around in the palm of his hand. Upon realizing that their attentions were focused on him, he stopped and cleared his throat.
"Aye, yes. Ye be wantin' that wooden eye now, don't ye?"
Ragetti nodded. Pintel narrowed his eyes at Barbossa, sensing the sarcasm. "Just let 'im have it, Barbossa."
The first mate pushed past him and held out his hand. The wooden eye sat in the middle, staring at Ragetti with its false pupil. He forced it into the young pirates hand and said, laughing all the while, "There ya go, lad. Congratulations, there's yer prize, and yer not even dead!" and he went out to where the other pirates were busy doing work.
Once Barbossa had left, Ragetti began rolling the eye around in his hand joyously, yelling, "Ya see that, Pint? Isn't that brilliant?"
But Pintel didn't see what was so great about this at all. He shook his head and said, "Jesus, Rags, don't ya realize what ya had to loose to get that cursed eye?"
When he looked down at the happiness in Ragetti's face, the amazement in his one, shining blue eye, he sighed. How could he be mad at a time like this, when his companion was so happy? It was impossible. Pintel smiled down at him and said roughly, "Ah, ya fool, s'not a big deal, noways. You still have another eye, after all." and he chuckled. "I suppose that's why God gave us two of everythin', huh?"
But when Ragetti tried to force the wooden prosthetic into his empty, still bloody eye socket, Pintel grabbed his bony wrist and stopped him. "Are ya crazy? Do you want to die a horrible, slow death on account of infection?"
Ragetti paused before answering. "Well...I guess that I wouldn't mind if it meant that I could wear the wooden eye right now."
Pintel glared at him. "It'll be painful."
The other pirate let out a frightened squeak and shook his head. "Na, I don't wanna die yet."
"Good," he said as he watched Ragetti put the eye in his pocket. "and anyways, I don't think that ya can wear an eye."
"Who says not?"
"I do, now shut up and stay outta trouble until I get back." Pintel said as he turned to join the other pirates and begin his work. Ragetti reached out and caught him, nearly tumbling out the hammock as he did so. "What, ya fool?"
"Where ya goin'?"
"To do work."
"Oh. Okay. Hey, Pint?"
"Why'd that Ship of the Line stop shootin' at us an' just give up?"
Pintel frowned in thought. "Well, I guess it's because while I was busy mindin' you, the other lads was still firing off cannons."
"Uh-huh. Oh, and hey, Pint?"
He stopped walking and turned around again. "Yeah?" he asked, rather irritably.
Ragetti seemed to turn an fragile shade of red as he said quietly, "M'sorry that I ruined everything."
Pintel shrugged. "S'fine, I guess. I'm used to you messin' up things by now, ya fool."
And without another word, Pintel turned and left, feeling the weight of worry and despair for Ragetti lift off of him. Thank God he was alive, thank God.
Thanks for your reviews. Keep it up, please. I appreciate it. The next chapter is coming up soon, and after that there comes Part II, where Pintel and Ragetti cope with the curse of the Pearl and all that good stuff. Hope you enjoy.