We'd Have Been Better Off With A Dog At The Wheel
Recap: Chapter One
Before I tell you what is going on with the little cliffhanger situation we're in now (Skoob trying to steer a boat for the first time), maybe I'd better give you a little back story.
My name is Hal A. Peno and I'm a CPA. Certified Public Accountant. I wanted to be on Wall Street fighting against corporate raiders and hostile takeovers. You know, truth, justice and the American way. Instead, I'm at sea on a British frigate fighting against pirates of a different type.
My introduction to this goal in life was because of a man (or I should say "group of men") known as The Dread Pirate Roberts. Yes, my investigations have led me to believe that this is actually a title and that more than one man has held the position; otherwise, the guy would be 200 years old. One of them used to whine all the time about some bimbo named Buttercup. The one that came after him used to brag "I killed the man who killed my father. He wasn't prepared to die." Anyone, my problem was with the guy after them; a Dread Pirate Roberts that sank the boat carrying my wife and children.
I wanted to be a real seaman and military man to avenge their deaths. Tough guys that are fighting pirates, however, tend to be taller than five foot nothing and don't wear bifocals, have fallen arches, and are not seasick half the time.
I tried infiltrating a pirate crew to kill their captain. I could say "Arrrr" and "Avast, Matey" and "Walk the plank" with the best of them. I couldn't, however, lift a cannonball or swim. So much for undercover work.
The only way I ever got on board a ship was through my training. I'm the accountant on the HMS Buggerall. My assignment is to keep track of the booty (generally gold dabloons and pieces of eight). My real main job is to keep the crew paid and happy. The generally consists of keeping lots of ale and/or rum on board at all times and hiring wenches for the straight guys when we're in port (the sissy boys can always find another British vessel). I'm also charged by the non-swishers to keep a full stock of anal bumcovers on board (sort of a backwards chastity belt) to protect them from "unwanted intrusions" in the middle of the night.
I'd just come this afternoon with the Captain from the Admiralty. We'd been given our assignment for this mission: seek out the missing Captain Horatio Hornblower and his ship and crew. It seems that there were a few Major Generals and Admirals and other bigwigs that really enjoyed the swashbuckling hero and his special abilities. Rumor was that that he had a big reputation as a real horn blower, if you know what a mean (and knowing the reputation of the Royal Navy, you know exactly what I mean).
He was last seen in the vicinity of the Ivory Coast, and we were supposed to set sail for that region and try to track him down.
Along the way, of course, we were supposed to sink pirate ships, find buried treasure, save damsels in distress, keep Monkey from taking the ship to Middle Eastern ports and harrassing the Moslem women, find out just who the hell was "Who the Hell is Mohit," seach for the mythical giant pink sea snail, save the Oompa Loompas from the viscious knids, capture a mermaid for the National Zoo, and uphold the honor of King and Crown.
We'd been given a crew of brand new sailors, most who thought that "the sea" was the third letter of the alphabet and that "seaman" was what they could expect to clean from their cracks on a regular basis. Most of these had spent the day pucking over the sides of the ship.
I'd spent my afternoon laying in a good supply of fresh fruit, water, some salted beef and pork (fish gets old real fast), tabasco sauce (makes this bland English food edible), and other goods. I made sure that we all had plenty of Old Spice aftershave (yes, sailors really do all wear Old Spice) and soap on a rope (so the boys could play drop the soap, but still tie it off so it didn't go overboard). In case we ran into any damsels in distress, I had the required ball gowns that they all change into after rescue (of course, a few of the officers would probably try them on and model them for each other). I had us prepared for a long journey, just in case we were out there for a while on our search.
Anyway, enough background on our mission. I'll get back to the cliffhanger now.
Skoob was steering (yes, that's a scary thought, considering that he's the guy that can't draw a straight line with a ruler, can't plow a straight furrow in a field, and couldn't throw a rock and hit the barn side of a broad. Mrs. Skoob (who was really a cross dressing bearded East German athlete) even said on more than one occasion that he wasn't straight "down there" and that it looked more like "Z." (Note: no wonder Mrs. Skoob walked funny.)
In fact, he was headed straight for the French ship that we were supposed to be slipping quietly past (which was the first straight thing that Skoob had ever done in his life!).
Fortunately, we were an ironclad. Unfortunately, so were they. Fortunately, we were heading right for her weaker midsection. Unfortunately, they had seen us coming and were loading cannons in that section. Fortunately, Monkey and Buck were running to the wheel to knock Skoob out of the way and take over. Unfortunately, they both slipped running across the poop deck (some new sailors thought that the poop deck was where you were supposed to defecate and the whole area was covered in man manure). Fortunately, the waves were moving our ship slightly to the side. Unfortunately, the same waves were moving the French Man of War in the same direction.
Only about fifty feet separated the two ships. I could see the leering faces of the Frogs as they went to put the flame to the powder and first their cannons. I could hear the Captain screaming as he rushed from his cabin to get to the wheel, knowing that he would be too late.
Just at that instant, ...well, maybe I'd better let First Gunner's Mate Percival Pissgums tell what happened next, since he was the man of the hour.
(By the way, he wasn't really the first gunner's mate, ...they just shared a hammock.)