For weeks they drifted on
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
“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
“Ha ha,” smiled Guybrush,
“just kidding. What’s going
The pirate twisted his soiled
kerchief in his hands. “Maybe I
should go find ex-Governor Marley. She
might know what to do.”
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
“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
“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
“The one I brought back from
our honeymoon, the one you crushed.”
“I think it’s in the
“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
“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.”
agreed. “So what are you doing in
“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
“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
“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
Murray stopped laughing
completely. “I well, um, er, that is.” He paused.
“I don’t know.”
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
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.
“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?”
“Awfully selective monsoon.”
“Caribbean trade winds.
Elaine kissed Guybrush on the
cheek, leaving him in a state of Guybrush-puddle as she sauntered off towards
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.”