Two young, seemingly male Aishas were sitting in a corner,
deep in conversation. No one would suspect that they were actually female and
had discreetly gotten passage on the ship, posing as two lads who wanted to experience
the pirate's life on Krawk Island. Fortunately for them, no one had thought to
give any attention to anything except the rotten grog that was sloshing around
in their dirty mugs.
"Loretta, keep your cap over your eyes," the
green one whispered urgently. "There are only a few more minutes until we dock,
and we don't want any unwanted attention."
"Rosetta, I'm tired of hiding my fur," Loretta,
the pink Aisha, complained, "I love the colour of it. I bet you're just jealous."
Before her sister could retort, a whistle sounded from above deck, where a mild
summer storm was brewing. As everyone wrapped themselves into warm coats and
prepared to dock, the sisters silently crept to where the crew was throwing
ropes to the workers on the pier. They quickly swung off the ship, and took
off running the instant their feet touched the ground.
By dawn, Loretta and Rosetta had found a secluded
spot to doze for a couple of hours while they regained their composure and figured
out what the next step was.
Since they were young teenagers, they had been
running, not from something nasty and evil; but from their family and their
life. Their future had been designed for them since the day they were born,
and it was a future they were expected to tolerate. First, working in the family's
inn, then devoting themselves to a marriage and a family life to the one of
the sons of the snorkel farmer down the road. That situation did not sit right
with either Loretta or Rosetta; they wanted adventure and freedom, but their
freedom had been stripped away by an accident, a terrible misunderstanding.
"Are you sure this is safe?" Loretta giggled.
"Of course it is," Sam, a server in the restaurant,
said. "Don't you trust me?"
"You know we do," Rosetta hissed. "Now light
the fireworks before this party becomes a total dud."
"Hold your horses, Lorie. Oh, crud." As soon
as the match Sam had dropped touched the firecrackers in front of them, Main
Street exploded in flames.
Worse, it was difficult to be taken seriously
when you were considered beautiful but dumb. Loretta and Rosetta were constantly
hiding their beauty marks and gleaming red hair, even though it was presently
cut boyishly short, and Rosetta was frequently reminding her sister to cover
her rose-coloured fur. It had always drawn stares when Loretta had still been
acknowledged as female, and now days, they had to be extra careful because of
"Lorie," Rosetta murmured, "wake up." She shook
her sister's shoulder until there was no trace of sleep left in Loretta's eyes.
"C'mon, we've got to get going." She stood up and stretched, her body cramped
from sleeping at the base of a tree.
"You know," Loretta yawned, "now that we're
on Krawk Island, we could go back to, Fyora forbid, dressing normally." She
swung her small bag of possessions onto her back and joined her sister who was
surveying the town in which they had arrived in late the night before.
"I guess we should because, I don't know about
you, but my shirt is starting to smell like cheese." Rosetta reached into her
bag and pulled out the rarely worn dress with the blue sash, a hairbrush and
some bobby pins. Her sister's dress was similar and had a pink sash to match
her fur. "Besides, we came here to get jobs and I don't think our prospective
employers will like it if we show up smelly and dressed as boys." Loretta giggled
After cleaning up and applying the sacred cosmetics
that they carried with them at all times, the sisters deemed themselves ready
to start their job hunt. Only no matter where they went, no one needed extra
help in the kitchens. It seemed that all of the taverns, inns, and restaurants
had everything they needed, which added to the sisters' existing problems.
Later, while they were eating lunch, at the
expense of using the few dubloons they had earned over the last couple years,
Loretta and Rosetta reviewed their options. Little did they know someone was
listening in from a nearby table.
"I say we go to the next town," Rosetta suggested.
"It's bigger than this place and will probably have more available jobs. We
wanted to keep a low profile anyways, remember?"
"True, but I sort of like this place," Loretta
replied. "Somebody's got to have a job opening somewhere." A loud cough rung
out from behind her, it sounded more like a bark actually, causing her to squeak
"Ye be wantin' to be waitresses of sorts, do
ye?" the shadowed figure growled. He moved to their table, dragging his chair
and mug of grog with him. The two Aishas stared at the weathered, bearded face
of a Lupe dressed in a seaman's garb, their gazes drawn to the rather large
hook on his left paw and the patch on his right eye.
"Yeah, we be wantin' jobs," Loretta said, mimicking
the Lupe's accent. "What's it to you, old man?"
"Lorie!" Rosetta hissed, appalled at her sister's
"'Tis all right, lass. 'Tis nice to see a girl
with some fire in her," the stranger reassured. "Ye see, in all me years, I
have done many things but now I be wantin' to open me own restaurant."
"We're listening." They leaned in closer to
hear the Lupe's low growl of a voice.
"Before I go on, allow me to introduce myself,"
he took a swing from his cup, "Captain Hackett, at your service. Who might ye
fine lassies be?"
"I'm Rosetta and this is my sister, Loretta,"
Rosetta blurted out, excitedly.
"Ye got a last name?"
"--Fontaine," Loretta interjected, kicking Rosetta
under the table to silence her.
"Well, Loretta and Rosetta Fontaine, would ye
like to come work at my restaurant, The Golden Dubloon? 'Tis going to
cater to a pirate's appetite; everything and anything a pirate will want will
be on me menu. I've got me own secret recipes that only I'll be cooking, and
I'm goin' to need ye to cook at the start 'cause I still need to hire a trustworthy
cook. Ye goin' to have to work full time but ye got to stay pretty, and ye will
have to put up with numerous skirmishes. I also believe it would be logical
if ye learned to speak like the natives. Any problem so far?"
The sisters looked at each other. "None so far,
Captain," Rosetta answered. "Don't ye worry, we be skilled at cookin' in a restaurant."
"Good. So, we have a deal?" The Captain held
out his undamaged paw. Without hesitating, the sisters shook it in turn. The
Captain then took out a card with an address on it. "This be the Dubloon's address;
be there at 9 o'clock sharp tomorrow mornin'. There is much to do, and if ye
want to be paid, ye will be on time." He strode out, tipping his hat to them
and to the bar tender before he exited.
"Fontaine?" Rosetta raised an eyebrow at the
pink Aisha sitting across from her.
"This is our new life, Rosie, so we've got to
play the part. If we hadn't lit that one fire cracker at that festival--"
"--Then we wouldn't have to be hiding. What's
more, it was that pest, Sam, who got the flames going, Loretta, but--"
"--But nothing. Right now, we're the Fontaine
sisters, the gorgeous waitresses at Captain Hackett's The Golden Dubloon.
Live it up, would ye?" Something mischievous twinkled in Loretta's eye.
"Okay. All right," Rosetta sighed. She raised
her drink in a toast. "To the Fontaine sisters."
"And to who they used to be," Loretta concurred,
clinking her glass against her sister's.