Fiction Friday – 18 April 2008
This Week’s Theme: gongoozler
Seriously. The prompt was just one word. Now, as it turns out, gongoozler is a real word. It means someone who watches canals and canal boats in the United Kingdom. Who knew? Not me. So I’m not using the meaning of the word for this idea. Oh no. Instead, I am inflicting upon you something that has been long threatened. If you read this article, then you’ll be aware of a character called Captain Juan. At the risk of causing my older brother to groan, here is an introduction to the fabled adventurer. Enjoy…
“Yarrrr, there be a ship on the horizon Cap’n!”
Redbeard grinned, gold teeth glinting in the mid-day sun. He hobbled over to the mainmast on his two peg legs, and looked up to the crow’s nest. His look-out “Blind” Billy leaned over the edge. “She be just to the East of us!”
Redbeard swung round. “Hoist the mainsail and bear down on her. We’ll pluck her treasures and put the crew to the sword!” As the ship lurched with the wind, Redbeard teetered to the bridge. “Where is my looking glass? Jake, bring me my looking glass!” A young boy, no more than eleven, trotted over with a slightly battered telescope and handed it to Redbeard. The telescope slipped through the hook on his left hand and clattered on to the deck. “The other hand boy, the other hand!” Jake swiftly picked up the telescope, paused to check that the lens hadn’t cracked again, and placed it sheepishly in Redbeard’s good hand.
He extended the telescope with a flick of his wrist and brought it up to his eye. They were gaining on the ship, bearing down on it at a rate of knots. Fast. Too fast…
He blinked, and shook his head. No, it couldn’t be. Peering through the looking glass again, there was no doubt. They weren’t simply gaining on the other ship. It was heading towards them too.
“Billy, why isn’t that ship running?” “Blind” Billy grabbed his telescope and had a look at the rapidly approaching ship. They were running the skull and crossbones, as well as Redbeard’s own flag. Any ship that saw them should have turned tail and prayed for a good wind. This ship wasn’t running. It had turned and was making a course straight for them. It was a Spanish frigate, fully armed and carrying the colours of the Spanish court and…
“Dammit Billy be careful!” The telescope narrowly missed Redbeard’s head, shattering against the deck. “I’ve not got many original parts here ye scurvy knave.” Redbeard snarled at the crow’s nest, then paused when he noticed Billy wildly gesturing and babbling.
“Cap’n! Ship! Frigate! Cap’n! Spanish! Captain…. oh lord! The ship… oh lord the ship…”
“What are ye blabbering about man! What ship is it?”
Redbeard crossed himself and swallowed hard. La Gongoozler. The scourge of the seven seas. Personally commanded by the hero of the Spanish Court, famed adventurer and explorer, Captain Juan Ferdinand Fernandos. And he was bearing down on his ship…
“Hoist the flag of surrender, turn us about! Retreat lads, retreat!”
Standing at the bow, sword drawn, the wind whipping about his clothing, Captain Juan threw his head back and laughed, a glint in his eye and immaculate white teeth gleaming. “Surrender in the name of His Majesty, or I shall be forced to fight you all!” A deft twirl of the sword, then Juan jumped from his ship, swinging across to the bridge of the pirate ship, before landing on deck, pistols drawn. The assembled pirates dropped their weapons and held their hands aloft. Juan twirled his moustache and laughed. Another victory for the Spanish Blade, El Capitán, counsel to kings and lover to queens, the finest sailor, shot and swordsman of the age, the fabulous, flamboyant, fantastic Captain Juan.