Oh my good Lord!
Do my eyes deceive me?
Surely that cannot possibly be a tri-masted man o' war dropping anchor in the bay?
Tis nobbut a hallucination. The northerly wind blows down from the arctic with unparalleled fury as I prepare kebab, pizza, and fish and chips for my handful of ravenous customers.
By crikey, it is!
It's the bloody Buggerall! And they're sending a landing party. Acting with a dexterity I never knew I possessed I slide the full English breakfast pizza off the greasy hotplate and wipe my hands on a greasy towel before hurrying out of the door and running (not very rapidly it must be said - you can't run rapidly with a bad back. It jars.) down to the beach.
As the brine pebble dashes my corneas, I squint desperately at the approaching vessel. I can vaguely discern oarsmen - yet something is amiss. No two appear to be conjoined. How curious. The Buggerall without the Pissgum twins? What's afoot here?
Gradually the image before me crystallises.
By the Christ himself - it's himself! The Cap! Morse the proud skipper standing proudly in the wind - with Bollocks the parrot firmly ensconced on his mighty, broad shoulder!
"Have and avast that cook! Thou scurvy ass hole! How art thee?"
"Why are you talking like that?" I ask the noble Captain. "I mean - it's not as if you come from Bristol or Swindon or summink?"
"Screwed if I know," the Captain says as he wades ashore. "Good to see you ya bum!"
"Wow! Me too Skipper!"
There follows the briefest of embraces, but not in the traditional sailorly way. No crotch rubbing or any of that gay nonsense.
I gasp. For my breath is taken away. Following the Captain ashore in this prestigious landing party is none other than Doctor Vic. His bearing imperious as ever, he puffs sedately on his meerschaum as he appears to be attempting to stretch a pollock.
"Doc!" I say. "I'm so glad to see you! By the way - you can't stretch pollock. Wasting your time there mate."
"Hello cannibal. How are you?" asks the Doc.
"Haven't eaten anybody for ages," I tell him. "I gets me meat shipped in from a butchers in Lerwick these days."
"Hmmm," the Doc muses. It's almost as if he's teasing me. "This butcher chappie - he isn't by any chance named Burke? Or Hare? Or Sweeney Todd? Or Sawney Bean? By any chance? Hmmm?"
"No Doc," I tell him. "Gent goes by the name of William McGonnegal. Good butcher. Crap poet."
I look further, and see a man of the cloth.
"Is that you birbee?" I ask.
"Aye. Acourse it is tha gret wazzock. Who did tha think it were? Mother Theresa?"
"How absolutely lovely to see you again old chum!" I enthuse. "But what's the crack with them blue shoes?"
"Nah don't thee fookin' start," he scowls. "I 'ad ter go all oer't shop ter get me mitts on these bastards. And if tha starts tekkin't piss I'll bastard well have thee. Lancashire bastard!"
We embrace in a manly way, the Wars Of The Roses temporarily forgotten.
And then I see her - Madame Dora Piebottom, the whore of Marseilles. My heart skips a beat. I have loved this woman from afar for many a waxing moon, even when the Skipper was shagging her into insensibility.
"Madame Piebottom..." I splutter.
"Cook," she says, and nimbly sidesteps me as I attempt to kiss her hand. Maybe she's worried I'll try to eat her. It wouldn't be the first time. And definitely fucking not in a gay way.
I look beyond...
Bosun McCarthy approaches from the boat.
"I want me brekkie roll ya prick!" he says.
"Hello Fergus," is about the best I can muster.
Then a young chap approaches me - a stranger. New to my eye. I recall him not from our encounters with the dastardly French.
"Hullo there boyo isnit," he says brightly, with remarkable assurance for one of such tender years. "Fuckin' cold here Bach isnit. Colder than Rhyl in January. Freezin an that isnit. I'm Masterchev by the way boyo. I'm new year isnit."
Masterchev? Does this mean that I am not to be reinstated as ship's cook? I'm no chef, but I can serve a mean leg of 'lamb' with Cardiff City tattoos on it.
"I'm new too," says a chap who bears more than a passing resemblance to the late Dean Martin. "Just call me Jean. Not that I'm French or anything."
"And I'm PM," another one says. "Awfully sorry about the scars, but shit happens."
"And this?" I ask as a lady in torn up fishnet stockings wades graciously ashore.
"I'm Charpa," she says. "Sorry about the stockings - I think I inadvertently wandered into the wrong collaboration."
"Charmed I'm sure Madam," I say but as I try to grasp her hand to kiss it, she snatches it away. Obviously my reputation precedes me. And it's all damned and malicious lies. Some of it.
"Enough of this Limey bullshit!" the Captain calls with great authority. "Let us repair to the nearest pub! I have a great thirst for amber Belgian lemonade! Is there such an establishment hereabouts?"
"Aye Cap'n," I tell him. "The Admiral Arsebow."
"To the Admiral Arsebow!" cries the Captain.
THE ADMIRAL ARSEBOW
We sit at table 5 with our backs to the wall.
The conversation involves principally myslef and the Skipper.
The Skip tucks into a dish of Steak and Ale Pie, Chips and Garden Peas with lashings of gravy.
"No rats," he remarks.
"I beg your pardon Captain?"
"No rats. I've started to kind of get to like rats. You get used to having them around. Cute little critters once you get the hang of 'em."
I know not of what he speaks. Tis a mystery. Yet my curiosity is piqued. I swill some ale, and muster up the courage to speak to my beloved Captain. (Not in a gay way - maybe I should have said esteemed.)
"Why did you come here?" I venture.
"Why?" he shouts. "We have derring do to do! Buckles to swash! Matters of rape and pillage and plunder! Just like the good old days!"
"So what's with the new Chef Cap?" I ask quietly.
"New chef Skoob?"
"Aye," I say. "Masterchev - your new chef..."
"Oh you dumb fucking idiot!" the Cap laughs. "He ain't the Chef - he's the new cabin boy! You dumb shit!"
I feel a sense of impending rage at this slight.
"Oh yes Captain. A dumb shit I am and true. That I must be. You dumped me here in this Godforsaken shit hole while the rest of you went off partying in the US Virgin Islands. You bastards. You fuckers..."
"Skoob, Skoob..." he brushes the air before him with an open hand. "We had no choice. Let's be honest about this - you're a heathen and a fucking cannibal mate..."
"I was a cannibal..." I begin.
"Ah forget about all that," the Captain says as he stuffs his face once more with steak and ale pie, showering me with bits of gravy as he continues. "We couldn't have taken you there! You're a fucking animal man! You'd have scared all the pussy off!"
"So," I say. Calmly. "You cast me adrift for wealth and a profusion of willing pussy?"
"That's about the strength of it old chum. If it comes to a choice between wealth and a profusion of pussy and a cannibal cook who can't cook worth a shit I'm afraid it's the fucking Hebrides for you matey."
"So why did you come back?" I ask.
"Fucking bad investments dude. We're all shagged out to hell and back and broke so we figured on one last money making cruise. We had to include you dude. No other fucker was daft enough to volunteer. Plus you were pretty handy on the poop deck as I recall."
"And what of the Pissgums, and Peno the accountant, and able seaman Turse, and that mad monkey fellow?" I enquired after pause for consideration.
"It's like this Skoob," - he was still showering me with lumps of gravy as he spoke. I hate it when people do that. - "The Pissgums and Peno shipped out to India. Word has it that they've started a paramilitary terror cell targeting Muslims, gays and Democrats. That's all we know. AB Turse has been kind of busy lately but we may be able to pressgang him if we play our cards wrong. The monkey - gone beyond the pale I'm afraid. Went setting fire to ants and ripping his trousers playing football in Thailand. Maybe Piebottom will tempt him out of his reclusivity. Who knows."
"What about Sidney Bollocks?" I ask. "He seems pretty handy with a pint glass. And he's a fucker for killing kangaroos, or so I hear."
"Bit far to go though Skoob - Australia. I'm not Captain fucking Cook y'know..."
"So what are we gonna do Cap?" I ask.
"We're gonna track down the Golden Goose Skoob. That's what."
"You what Cap? You mean the Golden Goose of legend? The one that Jason lost when his man o war got scuppered in the Bay of Biscay?"
The Skipper looked me straight in the eye at that point. He didn't shower me with bits of lumpy gravy as he spoke - which was a relief.
"The very same," he said quietly. "If we can track down the Golden Goose we'll all be financially secure for life."
"But you said that the last time," I say. "And look what happened then..."
"Secure for life..." he says.
"Life is for ever," snaps Bo'sun McCarthy. "Oops! Sorry! I thought we was back on the anagram thread ya gobshites!"
To be continued...possibly...