Friday 20 August 2010

Friday Flash - Captain Karaoke

Here's my attempt for this week's Fiction Friday challenge on the Write Anything blog, also submitted to the Friday Flash collection. Prompt #169 was;

The note taped to the door said: See you at Wild Notes Karaoke Bar.

"Well I don't know about you, Thusie, but I've had a damn good night," said Captain Scarlight. He swayed along the quay towards their ship.

I do wish you wouldn't keep referring to me as Thusie. My name is Methuselah, said the parrot on his shoulder. Being telepathic, Methuselah didn't need to speak out loud. The captain screwed up his face as the parrot's words echoed around his brain.

"Don't talk to me in my head like that, you know it confuses me."

It is the only way we may maintain a conversation.

"Pah, I don't want to talk to you anyway," said the captain. "All you ever do is tell me off for drinking and being merry."

That's because all you ever do is drink and be merry.

"That is not true, not at all!"

The captain stumbled up the plank to the ship. He tripped onto the deck, driving his knee into the wooden boards. He yelped in pain.

Indeed, Captain, you are as sober as a judge.

The captain threw an evil look at Methuselah. He hauled himself to his feet and tottered up the steps to the next deck. A piece of paper fluttered against the door to his quarters.

"What's this?" he said. He pulled the paper from its pin, and squinted to read the awkward handwriting. The note simply said: See you at Wild Notes Karaoke Bar.

"Oh-ho! A karaoke bar!" Captain Scarlight grinned.

What on earth is a karaoke bar?

"It's just a pub with a house band. They play songs you know, and you get up and sing them," replied the captain.

I do hope you are not planning on attending.

"I have to! Look, I've been invited." The captain waved the note at Methuselah.

The captain spun on his heel and wobbled back down the deck. Methuselah flew past him. He let an air current carry him to a bollard on the quay. A karaoke bar sounded like his idea of hell, but he felt obliged to accompany the captain. Lord knows what might occur if Captain Scarlight went unchaperoned.

"Come on, Thusie, it'll be fun!"

You have already spent four hours in the local watering hole with your men. Why must you go elsewhere?

"Pah!" replied the captain.

Methuselah thought it best not to ask how the captain knew the location of the karaoke bar. It made life easier not to question, or even understand, his bizarre ways.

Wild Notes Karaoke Bar squatted at the end of an alley filled with trash. Ancient handbills papered its stone walls between narrow windows. The captain yanked open the door and sound poured out into the alley. Raucous laughter and bad music filled the air. The captain plunged into the sea of bodies.

A four-piece band stood on the small stage. They fought their way through an old sea shanty. What they lacked in ability, they made up for in boundless enthusiasm. One musician used a stick and three strands of rope attached to a box as a double bass, and he plucked the strings with gusto. A man lurched and rolled in front of them. His tuneless caterwauling hurt Methuselah's ears. He fluttered across the bar to land on the captain's shoulder.

"Ah, my kind of place!" said Captain Scarlight. He caught the barkeeper's attention and ordered a drink.
A young man sidled up to the captain. A gold ring dangled from his left ear, and a scar twisted up his cheek into his hair. Methuselah recognised him from the ship. The parrot looked past him and saw several of the younger crew members further down the bar. They gazed at the captain in awe.

"You got our note then?" said the pirate.

"Ah-ha! Jonno! I did indeed! Very good choice of venue, my boy," said the captain. He thumped Jonno on the shoulder and laughed. Jonno grinned, but rubbed his shoulder when the captain looked away.

"Rex met a wench at the last pub and she told us about this place. We thought you'd like it," said Jonno.

"And I do indeed. Have you boys had a go yet?" The captain gestured to the stage. The drunk man sat in a heap in front of the stage, his place taken by a swarthy man in red. He crooned an old classic, drowned out by the band.

"No, we're too nervous. But we wondered if you would?"

"Of course I will! Where do I sign up?"

"No need, sir. Our current customer was the last to volunteer. If you want to go next, just wait at the bottom of the stage," said the barkeeper.

"Splendid!" roared the captain. He pushed his way through the crowd to the stage. The boys from the ship loitered by the bar. Methuselah perched on a beer tap.

The crooner left the stage, shaking his head. The band helped Captain Scarlight up onto the stage. They conferred for several moments before the captain turned to the crowd. A hush fell over the bar.

"My good gentlemen, and lovely wenches!" said the captain. The crowd cheered.

Please, Captain, do not do this.

The captain glared at Methuselah across the bar. He held up his hand for silence. Methuselah stole a glance at the crew. They stood transfixed. The captain dropped his hand and the band broke into tuneless song. The crowd whooped and cheered as the captain shouted his way through the first verse. Methuselah shook his head in disbelief when the captain reached the chorus.

"Did you ever know that you're my heeeeee-rooooooo? And everything I would like to beeeeeeeeee? See, I can fly higher than an eeeeeeeeagle, and you are the wind beneath my wiiiiiiiiiings!"

* * * 

Captain Scarlight and Methuselah have appeared before in two previous Friday Flash outings! Check out Pieces O' Eight and Polly Wants A Cracker.


Stacey said...

Hahahaha! I love how supercilious the parrot is! I raced through this, very fun :).

Sulci Collective said...

Who else would be better at karaoke than a bunch of sailors brought up on sea shanties. All together now, this one's in pieces of eight time...

Marc Nash

ChloƩ P. Kovac said...

I like how the Captain can call women "wenches" yet it doesn't bother me as he has a certain joyous charm about him.

Benjamin Solah said...

I loved these characters the first time, so was glad you used them again. And what a song to choose!

Icy Sedgwick said...

That Captain Scarlight is a classy fellow.

John Pender said...

I enjoyed seeing these two again. Pirates in a karaoke bar ... seems surreal.

Marisa Birns said...

I went to a karaoke bar twice. Only sang with a whole group of people. Would have loved to see a captain standing there warbling. And a telepathic parrot sitting on a bar tap.

Great story!

Anonymous said...

Oh YES, YES, YES. The ONLY song to be sung to Methuselah. This is awesome. You have a great knack for the comic here, especially with the dialogue. And the pub descriptions sound like some I've been to seeing bands. Perfect.
Adam B

Janet Lingel Aldrich said...

Oh, too funny. Well done!

Eric J. Krause said...

This was a lot of fun. But the captain should have listened to Methuselah with that song choice...

Unknown said...

Oh, shiver me timbers, Icy! I'm laughing so hard right now. OF COURSE Captain Scarlight would sing that song. And poor Methuselah to be exposed to such undignified behavior.

I adore these guys, and I'm always tickled to see them. Great story!

Valerie said...

Someone always has to sing that song. ALWAYS. Next it'll be all the pirates up on stage doing Bohemian Rhapsody. Nice work.

Icy Sedgwick said...

I'm glad people enjoy these two - they're a lot of fun to write! And there will be many more of their adventures to come...

~Tim said...

Fun tale and a perfect song choice.

Carrie Clevenger said...

Great story between these two! Loved it

Jason Coggins said...

I may have missed the previous outings of the Captain and "Thusie" but I know I am keeping good new company when no one bats an eye-lid at a telepathic parrot. You made me smirk and your description of the band pretty much describes my whole approach to dancing.

John Wiswell said...

Haha, eat drunken singing Thusie! Good choice of song, too.

mazzz_in_Leeds said...

Now that's the kind of karaoke bar I wouldn't mind attending! Although I'd still sit at the back and exchange pained glances with Methuselah, no doubt :-)

Joz Varlo said...

Oh this is funny as hell! Loved it. "Wind Beneath My Wings!" HAHAHA. Poor Methuselah. :)

Laura Eno said...

Hah! Loved his choice of song. Poor Methuselah...

Unknown said...

Har, poor parrot. Fun characters.

Pamila Payne said...

OMG. That was so great. I totally identify with the parrot, though. Karaoke is of the devil.

dan powell said...

Fun stuff. Love the choice of song. Poor Thusie.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love these two! Glad to see them back. I love the Captain's song choice. So very fitting. :) Another great adventure for the Captain and Thusie.

Cecilia Dominic said...

LOL'd at this one. I'm happy for the chance to catch up with these!


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