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Every Grog Has Its Day
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Chapter 1: Another Day in the Caribbean

For weeks they drifted on that sea
And no sight of land did come
Then the pirates knew Death was at hand
When vanished the last drops of rum
 

“Oooo, that was a good one,” approved the crew, nodding over their kegs.
“Definitely a chiller.”
It was nights like these aboard the Scurvy Marie that old One-Ear Pete would light his pipe and regale the crew with ghost stories, all set to rhyme.  Sometimes his rhyming proved more frightening than the content, but occasionally the grog wore off and he’d set all their timbers a-shivering. 

Pete leaned back against the coil of rope, his glittering eyes barely visible through the pipe smoke.   Behind him, the late night stars burned with the same intensity.  Even further back, the lighthouse on the point of Lockjaw Island reminded the crew that Pete’s stories were just that, and reality was not far off.  Then for one brief second, it all blacked out.  Those who saw it, or rather, the lack of, attributed it to the grog burning down their throats, and scooted closer as Pete began his next tale.

Johnny Keelhauler was meaner than mean,
He’d kick all the puppies for fun
With eyes red like blood, and a soul darker than mud,
All trembled at word of his schemes
 

Pete paused in his narrative.  This was better than usual, he thought, pleased at the way these battle-scarred villains were quaking in their boots already.  His grog-glazed eyes didn’t note that they were staring horrified at something beyond him.

His barnacled ship was the fright of all men
Its name, “The Riptide” struck horror

If it sailed into port, then your life would be short,
For Johnny did not like to make friends
 

C’mon, it wasn’t that frightening, yet all the pirates were scurrying away from him like crabs on a hot gridiron.  Each face was laced with panic, barely visible as a cloud slipped over the moon.  Pete felt the brush of something cold tickle his neck, and as he turned he had just enough time to catch sight of ominous dark sails and a bright flash of steel before that same flash cut short his story.  His last thought rued that he wouldn’t be able to finish the poem… 

Guybrush sighed contentedly and settled back into the lawn chair.  Now that he’d had those obnoxious hedge sculptures cut down, the view really was quite nice.  A chittering at his elbow caught his attention.

“Well hey Timmy, that’s awfully nice of you.”  Guybrush took the brightly colored drink, slipping the tiny umbrella in his pocket for safe-keeping.

“Mr. Marl- Threepwood, sir, I’m afraid we have a quandary.”

Guybrush shaded his eyes, squinting to see the pirate that stood before him.  “Well, okay, just leave it on the doorstep.  Elaine ordered it, I’m sure.”

The man paused, a tinge of confusion knotting his face.

Drat it all.  Elaine insisted on offering vocabulary-building classes to the locals and now he had to deal with the consequences.  Better come up with something before the man realized it was his mistake.

“Ha ha,” smiled Guybrush, “just kidding.  What’s going on?”

The pirate twisted his soiled kerchief in his hands.  “Maybe I should go find ex-Governor Marley.  She might know what to do.”

“You shouldn’t.” Guybrush shook his head.  “She’s taking a bath.”

The man’s eyes lit up.  “I really think this is a job for ex-Governor Marley.”

“Spill it.” Guybrush frowned.  Pirates. Sheesh.

Timmy appeared from nowhere with another drink, which set the man more at ease.  “There’s a group of pirates terrorizing the waters between Skull and Lockjaw Island.  No one wants to sail out there anymore, and as you might know, Lockjaw is the only good place to get grog these days.”

“Why don’t you just ask them nicely if they’ll go away? If you’d just talk out your differences I’m sure that-”

“Guybrush, listen to yourself.”

“Oh hi, honey, I didn’t hear you coming.”

Elaine adjusted her bandanna.  Guybrush shuddered. The whole bald as a cue ball thing hadn’t settled in yet.  [Hint: Read “The Elaine Marley Fanclub.” You’ll like it!]

“Guybrush, darling,” she started in that condescending way that made Guybrush both irked and mushy at the same time, “I don’t think that talking is what this situation requires.  Now how many ships do they have?”

“Just one,” replied the pirate hesitantly, “but that’s more than enough.  You see, ma’am, they’re sailin’ above the waves.”

“Oh, a bunch of ghosties, is that all? Why, let me at ‘em! I’ll-”

“Guybrush, roll over dear, you’re starting to burn on this side.”

“I’ve beaten every knuckle-dragging undead corpse from here to the gates of Hell itself!  What’s one more skeletal horde demanding to be vanquished?”  Guybrush leaped to his feet, striking what he hoped was a heroic pose atop the lawn chair.

Elaine shook her head.  “Dearest, I left my hat inside.  Would you get it please?”

Guybrush hopped down off the chair, nearly landing on Timmy.  “Which hat?”

“The one I brought back from our honeymoon, the one you crushed.”

“I think it’s in the attic, though.”

“There’s a good boy.”

Guybrush sighed and trotted indoors, up the flight of stairs, down the hall, and up another lengthy flight. 

The attic was warm, dusty, and smelled like boots.

“Boots with gangrenous feet in them!” affirmed Guybrush, trying not to breathe.  There, atop a mountain of boxes and maps, sat the sought hatbox.  A short climb and a long tumble later, Guybrush unearthed himself from the pile, and reached for the box.  Luckily, it remained unscathed, and Guybrush let out a relieved ‘phew!’  He reached in and pulled out- “Murray!”

“Ahoy there!” growled the same.

“Well don’t you look swarthy,” Guybrush said approvingly, placing Murray on an old sea chest. 

“Do you like it? Do you really?” chattered Murray, styling his eye patch.

Guybrush tilted his head.  “Well, your lack of eyes takes away from a true sinister appearance, but overall, it suits you.”

“I’m glad!” snarled Murray.  “I’m going to a party tonight and I want to look nice! In a foreboding and evil way, of course.”

“Naturally,” Guybrush agreed.  “So what are you doing in my attic?”

“I blame the monkey!” grumbled Murray.  “When I get my hands on that miserable ape- well, when I get hands in general he won’t actually be the first thing I wreak havoc on, but he’s on the list!”

Guybrush found the hat atop a stuffed swordfish.  “And when exactly are you going to get hands anyway?”

“It’s one of the door prizes tonight.”

“If you don’t mind my asking, what kind of a party is this?”

Murray rolled himself off the chest, landing with an unsettling thwack.  “It’s a biannual meeting of the Undead Pirate and Wenches Society.  Very exclusive.  But it’s more fun than lighting people’s beards on fire.”

“See, that’s why I never grow one, sort of.”

“Yeah, I’ll bet.”

An idea struck Guybrush, and although it hurt a little, he got over it and asked Murray another question.  “So, basically all the undead pirates in the area will be attending?”

“Of course.  Even those from as far away as Rot-Gut Isle, although you can bet not many will be glad to see them.”

“So Murray, can I come?”

Murray rolled across the floor in his laughter, crashing against a box of old clothes.  It tipped over on him, but Guybrush could still hear his laughter from under the heap.  Murray peeped out, adorably cute wrapped in one of Elaine’s lace shawls, but Guybrush didn’t have the heart to tell him that.

“You, MORTAL, attend the most EVIL and DEATH-INSPIRED event in the ENTIRE Caribbean? I THINK NOT!”

Guybrush waited until Murray’s roar of diabolical laughter faded.

“How are you getting there again?”

Murray stopped laughing completely. “I well, um, er, that is.” He paused.  “I don’t know.”

“Well?”

Murray’s eye sockets seemed to narrow in frustration.  “Hey Guybrush, what are you doing tonight?”

“Where do you want me to pick you up?”

Murray grimaced. “I’ll be right here. Seven o’clock. Don’t be late. Oh,” he amended as Guybrush headed for the doorway, “wear something nice and ghastly.”

 

Elaine was just finishing up with the pirate as Guybrush approached with the hat.

“Oh there you are darling, I was starting to get worried.  You know how dust can get to you.”

Guybrush resumed his seat on the lawn chair.  “So what’s going on?”

Elaine shrugged the question off, and her bandanna slipped to one side.  Guybrush stared down at his feet.  Maybe she’d get a wig or something….

“Really, it’s nothing, dear.  Just some undead pirates trying to protect a treasure. What else is new?”

His eyes still locked on his beaten-up shoes, Guybrush found himself asking yet another question.  “What treasure?”

“The Secret of the Ultimate-” started the pirate.

“Yeah, yeah,” interrupted Guybrush, “already did that.”

“No, dear,” began Elaine. “This is different.  This is the Secret of the Ultimate Intoxicant™.”

“Why are there all these secrets and treasures that no one ever tells me about?” hollered Guybrush.

“You probably should have stayed in school instead of skipping merrily off to be washed up on some shore trying to become a pirate,” suggested the sailor, who received a dirty look from Guybrush for his pains. 

“Tell me more about this Ultimate Intoxicant,” Guybrush prompted, but Elaine shook her head.    

“I think we’ve had quite enough adventure-seeking for one week.  It was bad enough you had to challenge the entire Scumm Bar to Insult Scrabble.”

“I blame that on the side effects from the sushi.”  The Scumm Bar might have been reverted back to its better grog-swilling, salt-drenched self, but all the patrons decided they liked the daring idea of eating raw fish.  Not to mention that the little umbrellas made them feel tiki-riffic. 

Guybrush watched as the pirate peg-legged off, leaving him and Elaine to themselves.  Nothing wrong with that, but Guybrush was going to have to talk Elaine into letting him go out that night.

“Honey,” he started hesitantly, “can I go out tonight, with the guys?”

“Only if you promise not to commandeer a ship and sail after those undead pirates off Lockjaw Island,” Elaine bargained sweetly.

“Don’t go to Lockjaw Island, check,” replied Guybrush.

“And no wenches.” Elaine’s firm tone knocked the smile off Guybrush’s face.

“You got it, baby,” Guybrush suavely assented. 

“I’m going to go inside and fill out some paper work.  Grandpa Marley left me in charge while he’s on vacation, and that means I’d better do something about something.”  Elaine looked up, as if for the first time noticing that something was different.  “What happened to all my topiaries?”

“Monsoon.”

“Awfully selective monsoon.”

“Caribbean trade winds.  Go figure.”

Elaine kissed Guybrush on the cheek, leaving him in a state of Guybrush-puddle as she sauntered off towards the mansion.

Oh sure, he wouldn’t go to Lockjaw Island, but if those undead marauders did have the guts to show up… Well, it wasn’t going to be pretty.  Nothing that’s supposed to be six feet under and rotting usually is anyway.  And one way or another, he was going to find out about this Ultimate Intoxicant thing. “I hope it’s BYOB,” muttered Guybrush, ‘because I’m bringing the root beer.”

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