Interview with the Swashbuckler

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic


Interview with the Swashbuckler

Once upon a planet in the galaxy called Andromeda, there lived a man who was a swashbuckler or, in layman’s terms, a buccaneer. He loved adventure, especially when he could find it on the high seas, in particular the Saline Sea, which covered one third of the planet on which he lived, which was called DooDah. The man’s name was Captain Kiddo and, in his prime, he was a master swordsman, acrobat, and part-time raconteur. Now he was 120 years old in DooDahdian years (80 in Earth years). “I got a million stories,” he used to say, “if you want to hear them.” In fact, that’s just what he said to me on the morning that we first met. I was a free-lance journalist from Earth, and had just landed on Doo Dah where I intended to collect pirate stories for an article I was hoping to publish in Interplanetary Geographic Magazine. He was a grizzly old coot with a full head of hair, greyed from age, and a long mustachio that would be the envy of galactic pirates everywhere in the universe. (Mustachios were rare on DooDah, on account of the dry climate, thus the saying, “If you can grow it there, you’ll grow it anywhere!”)

“That’s what I’m here for,” I answered him. “Do you mind if I record your story on tape?” He said that would be okay. He was sitting on a rocking chair and there was a pitcher of lumenade, made from the fruits of the lumen trees (which grew all over DooDah) and two glasses on a small table between us. “Pour us a nice cold drink,” he said, “and I’ll tell you about the time I sailed to the island of Puberty where the natives were all just coming of age, and I stole from them the thing they valued most, their youth.” I told him how I had read that great ethnography, Coming of Age in Puberty, by Margaret Mudd, and how excited I was to hear his story. I turned on the tape machine and said, “Go ahead, Captain, we’re recording.” And what follows is his tale:

“Puberty was an island in the middle of the Saline Sea which, by the way, was the purest sea on DooDah. We used to say, afloat the Saline Sea, ‘Looks like clear saline from here on in.’ My ship, the Skullen Crossbow, dropped anchor near Puberty and I led a small landing party of pirates ashore in a skiff which we rowed with long poles. Every Pubertian knew we were pirates at heart, even though we looked like ordinary seamen. They tried to hide their prepubescent children from us, but that was like trying to hide Myna birds in the basement—their high-pitched wailing would give them away in an instant. And so, we quickly ascertained where the little kiddies were by following their prepubescent giggling.

“In those days we had a motto we lived by, ‘Once discovered, twice lost.’ That would pretty much sum up our plundering. On Puberty, though, we were after more than just ordinary booty. We wanted to rob the Pubertians of their youth and use it for our own selfish porpoises. Everyone aboard the Skullen Crossbow had a porpoise in life, even though they weren’t allowed to bring it on board. My porpoise was named Nathan. The Skullen Crossbow sailed without porpoise, but not without ghouls and objections. We always had more ghouls than our rivals and would end up on the top of our game, despite any objections.

“We pirated the soles of the prepubescents and locked them away in various treasure chests aboard the Skullen Crossbow, leaving them to stand on their own two feet in their backyards in soleless sneakers. This decimated and permeated the Pubertians until they suddenly became postpubescents, one and all. And then we got back to the smooth Saline Sea and voyaged home. And that’s the story of the plundering of the youth on the island of Puberty.”

I looked at him with my mouth agape, to which he tossed a grape at me and made a hole in one, by way of reply. “That was a tale told by an idiom, all right,” I said, “full of drowned and furry and signifying Nathan.” I thanked him profusely, to which he replied, “You are so very welcome—but don’t wear it out!”

The End


Submitted: May 11, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Lawrence Grieco. All rights reserved.

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