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September 20 is Talk like a Pirate Day.



"AHOY!"

Avon nearly put his head through the bulkhead, waking up in a blind panic at the vast roaring voice coming from the intercom.

"AVAST, ME HEARTIES!"

Avon groaned and looked at his calendar. 19 September, again... he put the pillow over his head and tried to ignore the rubbish coming from the com.

A few minutes went by, and the com went silent. Something grabbed his ankle and yanked hard, flinging him onto the deck. He shouted in outrage. Jenna looked down at him, grinning madly, her expression heightened by the gem-encrusted patch over her right eye and the papier-mache parrot on her right shoulder. "Up an at 'em, ye lubber!"

"I don't want to," Avon said flatly, staring up at Jenna's bosom, which was half-visible in a boldly black and white striped blouse.

"Do ye want a taste of the cat?" Jenna waved a whip which appeared quite genuine, and which Avon didn't want to enquire about. Neither the whip, nor her apparent expertise. Her grin widened. "Or would ye like to be the captain's cabin boy?"

Avon leapt to his feet, his body remembering last 19 September all too well. "No, thank ye, Cap'n Stannis, sir!" He stood to attention.

Jenna looked disappointed. "Swab the deck, then, polish the brightwork! I want all made shipshape and Bristol-fashion by oh eight hundred!"

"Aye, aye, Cap'n!" Avon saluted, even though he thought Jenna's jargon was far from authentic.

On the flight deck, Gan was standing with folded arms and bare chest, looking impressive, while Blake and Vila were rolling a large barrel down to the centre of the deck. "Grog!" Vila shouted happily, bouncing so the tied ends of the bandanna around his head danced.

"The sun's over the yardarm!" Cally announced, and punched in the bunghole on the barrel with her fist. She dipped a mug into it, tasted it and grinned at Jenna. "That was a good week!"

The day wore on, full of sea chanties, hornpipe dances and pirate video conferences with other Free Traders, Amagons, and Avalon's headquarters. At one point, Cally took him drunkenly aside to proposition him. "I've crushed seventeen men's skulls between me thighs!" she said. And Avon quite believed her.

Avon looked desperately at Blake, but Blake just laughed. "Oh, go on, Avon, hoist your Jolly Roger for a change." Blake slapped Avon heavily on the back and nearly fell over. Blake had a poor head for grog. He landed on the couch and began snoring, which was just as well, because just then the main screen lit up with the image of Travis, scowl, leather, eyepatch, garish yellow ring and all. "Prepare to be boarded, ye SCUM!" he shouted.

"Not on yer life, ye stinkin' privateer!" Jenna shouted back and began issuing orders about cannon and mainsails and mizzenmatches. Blake snored. Gan scratched his chest. Vila fell headfirst into the rum barrel and valiantly resisted Cally's efforts to pull him free.

Liberator shook and Jenna screeched like a parrot. "Give me ship a broadside, will ye, ye one-eyed bilge rat!" Avon decided it was time to abandon ship and turned towards the exit. Jenna grabbed Avon by the scruff of the neck and threw him at a gaping hole that suddenly appeared in the front of the flight deck. "Walk the plank, ye scurvy poltroon!"

Avon was sucked out into space, screaming silently.

And then Blake shook him. "Avon. Are you all right? Have you finished the repairs? What are you doing in there, daydreaming?"

Avon blinked and looked around the engine room, remembering the mess it had been in after a vengeful Amagon had left a neckband to explode in it. Avon had worked for forty-three hours straight cursing pirates with his every breath. He lay his head back down and laughed.

Blake raised an eyebrow. "I'll get you some coffee."

"Put some grog in it!" Avon shouted as Blake retreated down the passageway.

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December 2011

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