I put my thumb on the scanner and hold it there for two minutes.
“You are a Pirate,” said the Career-o-matic kiosk. “Congratulations.”
Earlier today, this thing told me I was a Surgeon.
“Please return items from previous Career,” said the machine.
I stuffed the bloody surgical scrubs and malpractice lawsuit documents into the disposal slot.
Whirring. A slight warm breeze.
“Please remove new Career items,” said the machine.
Reaching into the slot, I pulled out an eyepatch, cutlass, and a parrot.
“What’s the eyepatch for?” I asked.
The parrot flapped his wings and hit me in the eye.
When the ship’s crew sang “You ho ho, and a bottle of A1 Steak Sauce!” I began to worry.
I thought I was signing on to a crew that would search for gold and treasure, but all we’ve done is search the Spanish Main for steaks, burger patties, and all-beef sausages.
“What kind of pirates are we, anyway?” I asked Captain Greasybeard.
“Yarrrrr, we be meat pirates!” he chortled, and the entire crew raised a mighty cheer.
I looked around, shrugged, and cheered along.
It’s been a good life on the ship, but walking the grill hurts like a motherfucker.
“Grab the landlubber!” shouted the Captain. “Make him walk the plank!”
The crew grabbed the man and the First Mate slid the plank out, but it fell overboard and floated away.
“Well, shiver me timbers,” said the Captain, “What will we make him walk now?”
“We could make him walk the dog,” said the First Mate.
“Yarr,” said the Captain, releasing the stowaway and handing him a plastic bag. “Be sure to pick up all the dog crap.”
“Why?” asked the stowaway.
“We don’t want this to turn into a poop deck, you see,” said the First Mate.
The custodian at the gym heard the too-familiar banging and yelling from the locker room.
“Not again,” he groaned.
He went to his tool chest, pulled out the bolt cutters, and headed to Davey Jones’ Locker.
Davey Jones was pounding on the door, calling the combination lock a backstabbin’ scurvy dog.
“Please stop that, Mr. Jones,” said the custodian. “I’m just going to have to bend all that metal back.”
The custodian snipped off the padlock and opened the locker. “Have you ever thought about just using a lock with a key?” he said.
At least he tipped in gold.
Five kilometers past Strayhorn Reef was where the map said the lost freighter exploded and sank.
Bits and pieces of the vessel littered the ocean floor, if 2-ton glowing chunks of iron and steel could be described as a bit or piece.
The only survivor of the wreck was a one-legged parrot. All it said was “Sammy!”
The investigators tried to coax more out of the parrot, using crackers and peanuts, but all it ever said was “Sammy!”
Divers went down, but never came up. Even when tagged, their signal would vanish.
And so did they.
“Sammy!” shrieked the parrot.
Nobody knew why Dragon’s Cliff was named as it was.
Except Arthur. He knew.
Arthur clutched Captain Dragon’s treasure map and laughed.
“Fifty more paces, and I’ll be rich,” he mumbled.
As his feet walked the final fifty paces, his mind raced through all the wonderful things he’d buy with the gold.
Or diamonds. Or whatever Dragon had buried.
It was after forty-five paces that Arthur encountered two forces of nature at once:
- Erosion had worn away the cliffs in the three centuries since Dragon made his map.
- Gravity yanked him the seventy feet down to the rocks below.
We matched velocity and docked with the luxury liner.
The alarm went off as we suited up. Damn, those things are annoying.
Floating throughout the ship we found dozens of lifesacks. Must have been sudden atmospheric failure.
Every one contained a passenger or a crewman. All dead. No survivors.
Was this a bad batch of lifesacks? The hole stabbed in each suggested no. Each victim was frozen in horror.
Who’s the murderer? We checked manifest… all accounted for.
Did they finish everyone off, then themselves?
Whatever. That’s the Orbital Navy’s problem. We’re pirates.
We robbed the cargo hold and left.