Friday, 3 September 2010

Friday Flash - Not For Sale

Yes, Captain Scarlight and Methuselah have decided to take over my blog again. This particular flash was inspired by this week's writing prompt by Eric J. Krause - "A strange website promises something (good fortune? Unending power? Never-ending riches?)". No, the Captain doesn't have Internet access, but it was still an inspirational prompt...

* * *

"Have you seen this, Thusie?" Captain Scarlight leaned back in his chair, holding open the newspaper. His telepathic parrot sat on his shoulder, reading the advertisement.

Voodoo? You are not being serious, Captain?

Methuselah's words echoed around the Captain's mind. He shook his head; a conversation with the parrot left him feeling like his ears were full of water after a swim.

"Why not? She's offering to pay well, all she wants is supplies," said the Captain.

Methuselah leaned in to read the advert again.

MEN OF LOW MORAL FIBRE REQUIRED. THE FAMOUS MADAME LA STRANGE IS RUNNING LOW ON VOODOO SUPPLIES. CAN YOU HELP? MINIMUM PAYMENT 400 PIECES O' EIGHT. CONTACT THE MADAME CARE OF GOVERNOR TREBUS, THORNY ISLAND.

400 pieces of eight is a lot of money, that is true. However, there must be some catch.

"Oh catch schmatch," replied the Captain.

Why is a voodoo woman working with the Governor?

"Who knows? Who cares? Money is money, and things have been tight lately," said Captain Scarlight.

Very well, Captain. As always, you know best.

"Damn right I do. Now, to the Governor!"

* * *

Governor Trebus lived in a small shack a mile inland from Port Thorne. Dirty straw covered the roof, and old newspapers blocked holes in the thin walls. A scrawny dog guarded the front door.

I have a bad feeling about this, Captain.

"Oh shush, Thusie. It'll be fine."

Captain Scarlight stepped over the dog. It whined in protest. Methuselah gazed down at the furry bag of bones. A pang of pity plucked his heart strings.

The captain knocked on the door. It rattled in its frame, one hinge threatening to come away altogether.

Are you sure this is the right place?

"Oh do stop questioning me, Thusie. This is the Governor's mansion, alright. I have an indefatigable sense of direction." He wagged a finger at the bird.

The door creaked open. A woman with black dreadlocks peered out. Mould encrusted the eye patch over her left eye. Her right eye burned gold in a face the colour of burnt coffee. Rings hung from the bony fingers wrapped around the edge of the door.

"Yes?"

"Good morning, Madam. I am Captain Scarlight, and this is my parrot, Methuselah. I am looking for either Governor Trebus or Madame La Strange," said the Captain.

"You 'ave found dem both," replied the woman.

"Excuse me?"

"I am Madame La Strange, and I am Governor Trebus," said the woman.

I told you this was a bad idea.

"I 'eard dat!" said the Governor. She glared at Methuselah.

"Forgive my bird. He is telepathic," said the Captain.

I think she has potentially worked that out for herself.

"Yes, I 'ave. Dey are very rare, Captain. 'E could be very valuable," said the Governor. She eyed Methuselah with interest. The parrot sidled along the Captain's shoulder. He tried to burrow into the Captain's mass of tangled red hair.

"To me, he is priceless," replied the Captain. He pulled himself up to his full six feet and three inches. "Now, we have come here about the advert you placed in the newspaper."

"Ah yes. I need supplies but I cannot leave de island," said the Governor.

"Because you are governor as well as Voodoo Woman?" asked the Captain.

"No. House arrest."

"I see. Well what supplies would you need, in exchange for the 400 pieces o' eight?"

"Forget de supplies. I will buy de bird for 800."

"He's not for sale."

"1000."

"He's not for sale."

"2000."

You offer 2000 pieces o' eight for me, yet you cannot fix up your abode?

"6000 pieces o' eight. Dat is my final offer."

"No deal. Methuselah is not for sale, and I don't believe we can do business for your supplies. Forgive us for wasting your time," said the Captain.

He turned to leave. The Governor lunged for Methuselah. Her fingertips brushed his tail feathers before the Captain darted out of her reach. She tripped and fell at his feet, scrabbling at his boots.

The Captain bent down and grabbed a handful of dreadlocks. He lifted her up by the hair. She screamed, clawing at his hand. She struggled to get her feet back on the ground. The dog looked up, but ignored her plight.

"I have already told you, Methuselah is not for sale. If you ever lay one finger on him again, then Governor or not, I will have your guts as strings for my piano," said the Captain. He glared at the Governor. Hatred and fear mixed in her golden eye.

The Captain noticed a tree to his right. Methuselah sat on the lowest branch to bring it within reach. The Captain tied the Governor's dreadlocks around the gnarled wood. Methuselah flew back to the Captain's shoulder, leaving the Governor dangling by her hair.

"Good day to you, Governor," said the Captain.

The pair walked back toward Port Thorne. Captain Scarlight rubbed Methuselah's head.

"Don't worry, lad. I'd never sell you," he said.

Neither of them noticed the white fingerprints on Methuselah's tail.

24 comments:

Sam said...

Brilliant! I love these characters, but now I'm worried about the fingerprints on Thusie's tail.

Gracie said...

Right on, Captain! I didn't think it was possible, but now I love him even more for protecting Thusie!

Though now I'm worried about the fingerprints, too.

Love it, Icy. Great story!

Icy Sedgwick said...

Well Methuselah tries so hard to look after the Captain, in his own way, so it's only right the Captain would protect Thusie.

Don't worry, I usually don't have a problem killing off characters but I guarantee these two will be ok. That's not to say they won't get themselves into fairly big trouble though...

Jason Coggins said...

Has Methuselah met his match? This episode really shed a little bit more light on the Captain;s relationship with his parrot ... I mean for 6,000 pieces of eight I would happily part with aspects of my own mother's anatomy.

Marisa Birns said...

Just love the nickname "Thusie"! And adore this story. Description of the voodoo woman/governor is wonderful.


Though, like Sam said above, am worried about that white fingerprint.

~Tim said...

I really like "MEN OF LOW MORAL FIBRE REQUIRED." Was that in your request for henchmen too?

Icy Sedgwick said...

Tim - It's my subtle nod to the Monkey Island PC games! Guybrush encounters three pirates on Scabb Island who describe themselves thus and I'm such a huge fan, I wanted to "pay homage" in a fairly obscure way.

afullnessinbrevity said...

These two are fast becoming my favourite characters to read. They have a great, tumultuous, but ultimately close relationship. And I love the descriptions you give when Captain hears Thusie speak: the ears full of water.
Adam B @revhappiness

Deanna said...

Absolutely love the dialogue here Icy, and the dialect - that takes Pure Talent. Super story!

Eric J. Krause said...

Loved this story. I'm glad you say you won't kill either of them off, but I'm still worried about those fingerprints. There's no doubt they'll spell trouble. I'm glad my prompt was able to inspire this one. Awesome!

Sulci Collective said...

men of low moral fibre - loved that line & also the House Arrest gag.

Have you ever thought of writing a scene where the pair open the door to someone who also has a bird perched on their shoulder?

Bests

Marc Nash

John Wiswell said...

Two thousand pieces of eight? What if I offer you sixteen thousand singles?

Laura Eno said...

I'm glad I'm not Jason's mother... :)
The last line is a big uh,oh moment!

G.P. Ching said...

Uh oh, an angry voodoo woman and a set of white fingerprints. This can't be good for methuselah. I love the captain and that the parrot is telepathic. Fun story.

scribereglyph.com said...

Nice piece.

PJ said...

Icy - this is top notch work. Vivid descriptions, terrific dialogue and the details are so fun! I look forward to more of this story! :-)

Icy Sedgwick said...

Adam - I love writing them!

Deanna - I was torn between wanting it to sound authentic and wanting it to be readable, so I'm glad it worked!

Eric - Heh, the fingerprints may come into a future tale...

Marc - Keep prompts like that for a forthcoming blog post about these two...

John - He's not for sale.

Laura - Exactly!

Genevieve - I like to think the Governor is like the Elle Driver of the Caribbean.

PJ - I'm so glad you like them!! I'm very proud of these two.

pegjet said...

Tying a voodoo woman by her hair is going to make everything even worse, even if the captain is 6'3"... fun read.

Mari said...

The voodoo woman is also the governor *and* she's on house arrest? LolLol

I'm sorry I've missed the first appearance of Cap. Scarlight and Thusie. Since it's become a serial, how 'bout putting a link so we can catch up with the story? ;)

Can't wait to see what happens with the fingertips!

Icy Sedgwick said...

Mari - It's not going to be a serial, but I'm going to be putting a entry up about that tomorrow! I'm going to have an index page on my site too. :-)

C Bailey said...

Fun stuff!

Cathy Olliffe said...

Love the bird; love, love, love the bird.
I hope those white fingerprints aren't going to hurt him!
Cool story!

Cecilia Dominic said...

Yay! I'm glad these two are going to get some more complicated adventures. I bet Methuselah can handle whatever those white fingerprints are.

The Captain was disappointingly sober for this one. Or maybe he'd only had his breakfast rum?

CD

Maria A. Kelly said...

Icy,

These stories just get better and better. Love the description of the voodoo woman and her dialect. Great stuff!

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