By Probably-Cursed Philip
We’ve got this counter below deck for every time our boatswain Mickey think’s he’s seen a ghost, a specter, a phantasm, or some such thing. It’s quite nicely made, especially for a placard that we carved when we were bored, but I’ve always thought it needed more “5” cards because they seem to keep disappearing.
It had been some time since he’d claimed to encounter such a thing “while in a wistful moment of low spirits and standing on deck to contemplate the stars,” as his stories nearly always start. But ever since we ran aground at Baffin Island, he’s been hanging out with poltergeists constantly, and he never eats with the rest of the crew anymore. It’s really starting to affect moral. Sure we had a few, deep belly laughs when we got to bump up the numbers on the “Mickey’s Banshee Extravaganza” counter, but it started to lose its charm when we ran out of fives. Seriously, what happened to the fives?
I did actually get a chance to talk to him this morning, though. He said that most of the ghosts think we should all get out of here because this island is practically in the Artics and it’s only getting colder, but we shouldn’t worry about him because one of the ghosts had an extra pair of socks. And that he’d get back to us next month. May fortune favor your boldness in the face of the paranormal, Mickey, Bravest of Boatswains.
I thought a ghost had started inhabiting our offices here at 826…come by and let us know what you think!
By Gray Bones Mary
Every day we walk a balancing act between progress and tradition in this line of work. Sometimes, though, you need to take a stand for what makes the most sense and do away with old practices that are getting in the way. I know for a fact that knots are a place where we could all stand to clean house. Or clean ship. I actually did sale on a house once and it was a deeply enriching experience.
No matter what you might be sailing on, you have to hear me out guys; some of these knots simply must go. The Half-Divine Trident Knot, for instance, is prone to jamming, and usually elicits a C&D letter from Poseidon on the grounds of intellectual property theft. I thought we were plundering for personal wealth and glory, not constant legal fees. Similarly, I would be thoroughly pleased if I never had to tie a Bronzed Zeppelin Hitch because, I’ll be honest, it just reminds me of having to socialize with smug air ship captains at port towns. It also gets soggy really fast.
I’m not saying we need to throw the doubloons out with the cursed strongbox, but it is time to be honest about what’s getting in the way of a successful voyage. Yes there’s a poetry to the loops of a Wayman’s Grief Knot, or the artful bends of a Wayman’s Emotional Healing Knot, but their usefulness has passed. Unless the reason we keep these old knots around is because if we don’t, the ghosts of their original inventors will haunt us all. Nobody’s told me if that’s what’s actually going on, but it seems likely.
Sounds like Mary is onto some new design philosophy for her knots. Frank Lloyd Wright would be so proud! Come develop your own knots at 826 Valencia!
By Black Dreggs Carlos
So Boris is one of our regular hook polishers. He came in the other day and told me that a water nymph came to him in a dream and informs him that the doldrums don’t actually have anything to do with the currents of trade winds, but rather a series of Newtonian airborne gravity wells that grow or shrink in size depending on what the moon had for dinner the previous night. Now I didn’t buy this at first, but then I saw the moon eat three deep-dish pizzas by itself that night, and I mean that’s normal enough right? It’s the moon, it’s bigger than us and it gets hungry, you know? But then I definitely felt the ship slow down the next day, so you tell me. Although, that might have just been the fact that we played Risk that night, which my eyes glaze over during that game and life itself seems to drag along at a crawl. And the skipper always fudges his dice rolls and thinks I don’t notice. I do, Gregory. I do.
Anyway, Boris comes back a few days later and says he found a water nymph that looked a lot like the one from his dream hanging out with some friends off the coast of the Galapagos. She said she had no idea what he was talking about, but she did say they had gotten sushi with the moon recently and while the sea water did feel heavier afterwards, they needed to run some more tests to be sure. You should run some tests of your own as well, and if all else fails, try singing to the moon. Do your best to remind it of 90’s R&B, that’s its favorite kind of music. Or buy some nice new book-ends for it. The moon just want’s to feel appreciated at the end of the day. I’ve already scheduled a symposium with Boris and I’m excited for him to share his findings, while my own proposal to permanently replace Risk with “Guess That Wound Infection” for games night will go over splendidly.
Sounds like a wicked fun time singing to the moon! Come join the party at 826 Valencia!
By Hornigold Abigail
The local schooner Good Ship Gilded Libertine entered West Port Crustacea Club’s Hull-Grown Barnacle Show with less than high hopes. You would too if your ship had a paltry average of five barnacles per square-inch.
The competition judges, however, were delighted with both the overall health of the ship’s barnacles in addition to what they described as the Libertine’s “artfully minimalist arrangement that must have taken years to cultivate so deliberately”. When Libertine’s Captain was awarded the 1st place prize of a map detailing the locations of hidden riches in no less than ten places south of the equator, he exclaimed “So help me, I will see this ship actually gilded from stern to prow by voyage’s end!”
Shortly thereafter, the first mate took me aside and assured me that “this is long overdue because it is frankly embarrassing to be sailing on a vessel that doesn’t live up to its name. I’ve even got a large store of used whale blubber that would be perfect for setting all the gold in place.” You might not believe this, but that is actually a pretty sensible way to stick stuff on to wood. A lot more sensible than asking a bunch of lobsters to clamp it on there. Lobsters aren’t good at decorating. Its best to just invite them over after you’ve got the ship settled and they’ll remark how wonderful of a job you’ve done and that’s always nice to hear.
Whale blubber? I wonder if the same is true of our lard we have in store…I have some repairs to do. Come on down and check out our blubber at 826 Valencia!
By Calico Bonnie Blue
Captain WatWorth announced on Thursday that his ship had reached an agreement with the U.H.I.D.P, the Union of Hideously and Improbably Deformed Persons, to disclose member and alleged writer David Foster Wallace’s “footnotes”. According to unemployed persons who qualify as captains of one-man ships carrying book cargo, a footnote is “a sentence (or seven pages, in David Foster Wallace’s example) explaining the significance of certain words, ideas, or characters” and have nothing to do with actual feet or the process of tying them to the floorboard while writing. Captain WatWorth found these footnotes years ago but mistook them as a decrypted map accumulated from past captains. Out of spite for previous captains, he smothered half of them with coal and dumped them into the water. Joelle Van Dyne, a lady friend of the Captain and character in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, found a couple of the papers while shaking out a sleeping bag. She immediately contacted the U.H.I.D.P, who know both her and David Foster Wallace very well and claim him as “genius and president” (standards vary off-ship) and contacted WatWorth. According to the U.H.I.D, these footnotes are so famous and valuable they can be bartered for almost anything, even gurkha’s Black Dragon.
Well, even though WatWorth didn’t find his treasure map, maybe you can get one when you get the new copy of Marauder’s Monthly at the Pirate Supply Store!
By Knuckle-Scabs Augusta
Mermaids have faced prejudice for centuries, and continue to assert themselves against stereo- types as harbingers of terrible sea-storms, and that they are all just manatees in disguise. Seriously, a manatee is not going to lure you in with a hypnotic siren’s song so that your ship gets dashed on jagged island rocks. And to top off the litany of indignities our mermaid friends continue to endure, the on-going controversy over Paleolithic mermaids rages on. Scientists, pseudo-scientists, aquato-primatololigsts and doctoral quackery candidates continue to debate: were there mermaids during the dinosaurs? There have been, and continue to be, mountains of proven evidence that, yes, mermaids did live alongside the aquatic beasts known as Plesiosaurs. Every mermaid I’ve ever known has keepsake photographs of ancient ancestors swimming the high life with big leaguers like the Nothosaurus or Kronosaurus, and there’s no way that its just a part
of some international mermaid photo-doctoring conspiracy. That would be ridiculous.
Fortunately, a recent discovery of fossilized mermaid scales, tears, and hair has been discovered off the north-western coast of Turkey confirms what mermaids have always told us and what we should have believed from the beginning: mermaids evolved when the Assyrian goddess Atargatis and her half-sister Josephine decided to go for a swim in the Baltic and forgot to stop. Eventually they got a bit chilly, and decided to make their way down to the Black Sea and from there, it wasn’t long before a series of ocean floor road trips brought the joy of mermaid-hood to all the prehistoric seas. I hope we can all move on now and let mermaids do their thing.
Come sift through our sand at the Pirate Supply Store and maybe find your own mermaid fossil! And while you’re here pick up the new Marauder’s Monthly at 826 Valencia!
By Rot-Thumbed Samuel
In a shocking turn of events fit for daytime melodrama, Zigfried the giant squid, who was charged last month with premeditated ship-wrecking of the privateer vessel Incoherent Rambler, was acquitted of all charges thanks to the surprise testimony of his estranged twin brother, Gaillard. Gaillard confessed to the court that he used a large fake mustache to impersonate his brother during the ship-wrecking. When questioned about his motive, Gaillard remorsefully expressed that his actions were purely spiteful and intended to get back at Zigfried for not planning a joint birthday party with him as they had done so in previous years.
However, before Gaillard could be booked on charges of his own, the court was double-shocked to discover that neither squid was in fact responsible for the ship wreck, which was actually caused by a sea storm accidentally willed into being by the ghost of the squid brothers’ childhood intramural cricket coach. We don’t know if maritime law covers this kind of thing, but we’ll keep you updated.
Ol’ Rot-Thumbed still hasn’t followed up with us on the new details of this story. Maybe it’s in the new Marauder’s Monthly available at 826 Valencia!
By Samuel G. Stankfoot
It’s been a tough week for Flanksteak O’Flannigan, Captain of the Plundering Bat-Fish. After what seemed like a successful plundering mission at the dreaded Forbidden Island, the faithful ship returned to sea with more than just a snazzy new monkey idol.
“We knew something was awry when we all got the same cryptic message in our cereal,” says O’Flannigan. “The marshmellows in my Plunder Puffs said we were all a bunch of jerks. Ridiculous, I say! We’re not jerks at all!”
Up until this point, all seemed perfectly fine. The crew had arrived at the Forbidden Island perfectly on time, entered the abandoned temple without incident, and successfully plundered the prized monkey idol—all while narrowly escaping precarious pitfalls and treacherous traps. Upon exodus the Bat-Fish team was flying on high, but as we know, things soon took a dramatic turn.
Just after the cereal incident, First Mate Skippy Jones Jr. began experiencing some particularly odd curse symptoms.
“For a while there I thought I was a poodle!” says Jones Jr. “I barked at the captain until he gave me kibble. Then I demanded a tick bath.”
At first the crew mistook this as normal behavior; regular tick baths are generally recom- mended for us seafaring types. The barking and walking on all fours, however, also went under the radar for a few days.
It became all too clear when the entire crew had the same nightmare, wherein they showed up to algebra class without their home- work. “We always do our homework,” says O’Flannigan. “Any claim stating otherwise is purely fraudulent. We were outraged.”
At this point the crew realized that they had no choice but to return the cursed idol to the Forbidden Island.
“Sometimes you just have to swallow your pride,” O’Flannigan says. “But it should all
be smooth sailing from here. We won’t be returning to Forbidden Island, but we push on. Forward ho, I say! to our next mission: Hex Island!”
That was a wise choice by the boys on the Bat-Fish to return that idol wasn’t it? We’re sure they had better luck on Hex Island, come find out in the latest issue of Marauder’s Monthly at 826 Valencia!
There is a health crisis of epidemic proportions currently bedeviling the high seas, and
its skittering, crawling culprit is the common weevil. Some land lubber got the idea that
these crunchy critters are filled with protein or some such “scientific” babble. I chuckled at the thought, but then found out that deckhands are actually subscribing to this asinine theory. Any vessel in the Caribbean is bound to have a handful of sailors huddling on deck, sliding the wriggly buggers down their gullet; certainly not a pleasant sight. Compounding the unhygienic nature of the pest as a food item is the limited preparation and cooking options available. Most heating methods would outright obliterate the bug, so the only option left is devouring the foul creature raw, and all the sea pepper in the world couldn’t make that bearable, I mean seriously. It couldn’t.
And the thing is, you can’t just let the weevil- eaters do their gross thing without it harming the rest of the crew; a pair of weevils can lay eggs in the food storage and in a matter of days ruin the entire ship’s stash. This leaves the crew to ration whatever scraps are left, and sharing is up there with interpretive tap-dancing on the list of Things Swashbucklers Are Bad At. Did I mention some weevils enjoy wood as much as any grains? An unchecked infestation could leave you not only foodless, but ship-less as well. Don’t believe me? Ask Captain, or should I say Ex-Captain Chiggers next time you are at the local tavern in Barbados. He is anchored there in a constant struggle with the weevil infestation that haunts him to this day. If you keep your eyes trained on his beard you may notice a few strag- glers fall out, but don’t mention it; he enjoys living in denial.
Heed this warning and schedule a regular inspection for weevils by looking for the insects amongst the biscuit stores and check for small holes in any grain kernels. Catch them early and you will be able to save a majority of the stock. Lastly, avoid listening to any so-called doctors that haven’t spent a lick of time on the water. Stick with a healthy regimen of grog and all will be well on your voyage.
Thank goodness for those helpful PPSE’s! Remember to check your biscuits and check out the newest issue of Marauder’s Monthly at the City’s only independent Pirate Supply Store: 826 Valencia.