I Don't Want to Be a Pirate: Part One
A pet in a family of four, Gerald was accustomed to being overlooked. His owner was usually busy earning NP, and when playtime did occur, the minutes had to be shared amongst Gerald and his brothers and sisters. The blue Shoyru wasn’t overly surprised when he was put up for adoption at the Neopian Pound.
One day, his owner decided he wanted a Faerie Chomby as opposed to a blue Shoyru. So, he had decided to place Gerald in the pound so a new owner could be found. And though Gerald was a blue Shoyru, his true color was grey. To be perfectly honest, Gerald was not happy with the way his life was turning out. He had known his owner since birth, but he had never been the shining star that his owner’s active pet had been. So, Gerald had been overlooked most of the time, and it was a difficult childhood.
Now that he found himself at the pound, Gerald decided it was about time to venture out on his own. To become his own new owner. After all, there were Neopets all over Neopia that were ownerless. Most of them had become shopkeepers or even space fleet captains. So, why couldn’t Gerald?
Just two nights after being deposited at the Pound, Gerald escaped his cage and ran as fast as he could from the facility. Dr. Death hadn’t even set off the alarm until the building was merely a speck on the horizon. And they wouldn’t be able to find him where he was going.
Immediately out of the pound, Gerald made his way to Faerie City. He knew Neopia pretty well, and he was well aware of the office in Faerie City that could give jobs to unemployed Neopets. Though he had never fulfilled a job himself, his brother had done it countless times.
“Next,” said the faerie behind the desk.
Gerald, who was at the front of the line after half an hour, approached the desk where the faerie sat. The employment office was much simpler than he remembered. It just had to be the smallest building in Faerie City, and he was surprised at the very informal way of handling things. When he had envisioned the city before when he had been with his owner, it was grand and formal. A place for the high-class society members. Now, it wasn’t so grand. Perhaps this was the realism of adulthood finally hitting him.
“Yes,” he started as he sat across from the faerie. “I would like a job please.”
The faerie looked briefly up from her paperwork to perform a quick visual inspection of Gerald. “Blue Shoyru, huh? Do you have any previous employment experience?”
“Uh... erm... not really.”
“Does that mean ‘no’?”
“Yes, I suppose it does.”
The faerie mouthed the words “no experience” as he wrote them onto the pad of paper in front of her. “Do you have any interests?”
“Interests? Like what?”
The faerie looked up at Gerald again before rolling her eyes. “C’mon, kid. You know. Like gathering apples or composing music or calculating bank interest or finding rare items. What are you interested in? What are you good at?”
Gerald looked dumbfounded. “Umm... well, I guess I’ve never really thought about it.”
The faerie blinked her eyes slowly and put down the quill she was writing with. She stared into Gerald’s eyes until Gerald thought she was actually boring holes in his own pupils. “Let me get this straight. You came all the way to the employment agency today, waited in line for at least half an hour, actually came up to see me at this desk, and you didn’t once consider what type of job you were actually interested in?”
The faerie stared at Gerald for a few more seconds before shaking her head and returning to her quill and paper. “Fine. I have a job for you. Waiter in the Golden Dubloon. Report to Krawk Island tomorrow at one o’clock in the afternoon. Do not be late. Your new boss would not appreciate that.”
“Umm... what do I do there.”
“Kid, you don’t know what a waiter does? He... well... he waits. Just show up at the Golden Dubloon on Krawk Island tomorrow. You wanted a job, and now you have one. Captain Hackett will pay your way to Krawk Island. Go to the airship immediately. Here’s your ticket. And don’t dawdle. Your new boss would not appreciate that.”
“Who’s my new boss?”
“Are you deaf, kid? I already said. Captain Hackett. Here, your ticket.”
Gerald took the airship ticket from the faerie’s outstretched hand. He wasn’t sure how he felt about flying in an airship to begin with. After all, he had never even used his own wings because of his fear of heights.
* * *
Gerald sat in the airship contemplating how things in his new life were going so far. On the whole - not so good. He wasn’t particularly pleased with the incident in the Faerie Unemployment Agency, and he wasn’t so sure he was going to enjoy working with Captain Hackett. Maybe it was the name. Maybe it was the way the faerie kept telling him that his new boss wouldn’t appreciate things.
He looked out over the seas of Neopia and saw the endless blue as it went off into the distance. Down below, he occasionally saw fins above the water or even Peophins jumping in the air before diving back into the water below. He even swore that he saw a strange ship traveling in the same direction as his airship loaded with many pets and flying a black flag with some sort of symbol on it.
As the airship began to dock at Krawk Island, Gerald looked out at his new home. It was a typical island. Just a few buildings but mostly sand and palm trees. Though it would be nice to work on some tropical resort, Gerald felt that this wasn’t exactly resort-type material. Nor did he think he would be seeing much of the outdoors. After all, this Captain Hackett sounded like someone who kept his employees indoors and working.
The airship finally stopped moving. They had docked. Gerald grabbed a bag of peanuts from the airship and walked out into the sunny shores of Krawk Island. He had slept on the flight. He didn’t really have a watch, but by estimating the sun’s position in the sky, it was late morning. Perhaps ten o’clock. This gave him plenty of time to find the Golden Dubloon and to explore a bit.
Having no luggage was a benefit in this case. As he walked around the island, gazing at the many residents and workers in the area, he wasn’t loaded down with extra items. Instead, he felt like this truly was starting out as an adventure. Hopefully, the restaurant business wouldn’t dull that experience any.
After an hour or so, he gave up on finding the restaurant on his own. He asked a Wocky who was walking the streets as well where he could find the Golden Dubloon.
“Well, you’re not about to find it here. It’s out there.” The Wocky pointed to the waters. Shocked, Gerald turned and stared out into the sea. And there it was. A miniature island was located off the shore of Krawk Island. And he could see a large building on it which just had to be the Golden Dubloon.
“Why is it way out there?”
“Well, it’s a place for boats really. If it was located on the actual island, there’d be too much boat traffic and no business would get done around here.”
Gerald wondered if this was such a good idea. “And how exactly do I get out there.”
“Well, the ferry, of course,” the Wocky said as if everyone should know about the ferry.
“Hmm... the faerie never said anything about the ferry.”
“Well, that’s because ferries don’t talk. They’re boats.” The Wocky rolled his eyes and walked away before Gerald could explain his last sentence. Instead of wasting the effort, Gerald walked up to the ferry station to obtain his second mode of transportation. It sure did take a while to travel around Neopia.
The ferry loaded, and Gerald sneaked a quick peek at a clock in the steering cabin. It was a little after noon. This ferry had better push off the shore, or Gerald would be late for his job appointment. And Captain Hackett would probably stew him in some outrageous dish if he was late.
But the ferry did push off, and as it approached the miniature island, Gerald noticed something he hadn’t seen before. On all sides of the building were myriads of ships, both big and small, docked around the small island. Apparently, the Wocky had not been lying. This truly was a place for ships.
The ferry finally reached the shore of the small island, and Gerald noticed that he had five minutes to get inside the restaurant. Instead of waiting for the official docking to be finished, Gerald jumped ship and high-tailed it to the Golden Dubloon. He heard the ferry captain yell something at him, but he ran as fast as he could. He would rather be in trouble with a ferry captain than his new boss.
He ran up to the restaurant, threw open the doors, and ran inside to meet a Lupe dressed in a pirate costume and holding a pocket watch up to his chest.
“Just in time,” said the Lupe. “Though I will say that when I was growing up, just on time was late, and five minutes early was just on time.”
Gerald was out of breath and didn’t comprehend a word of what Captain Hackett was saying. “What? Umm... sir?”
“Well, now don’t we learn fast? You are to address me as ‘sir’ at all times. Though I probably won’t be seeing you very much, Gerald. You’ll be working most of the time.”
Gerald had finally caught his breath enough to speak in full sentences again. “Working as what, sir?”
“You shall see soon enough. Follow me.”
Captain Hackett walked towards the back (presumable where the kitchen was located). Gerald followed but tried to keep the conversation going as well. “The faerie said I would be a waiter.”
“The faerie was wrong, as usual. We have enough waiters.” Gerald looked around and saw pets running around in pirate costumes, delivering plates of grub to rowdy groups seated at tables. “What we really need are cooks.”
“But, sir, I don’t really know how to cook.”
“It’s not rocket science, Gerald. You will be supplied with a cookbook for which you are to follow its instruction precisely three times a day.”
“Three times a day? But, sir, don’t people come into the restaurant at all times of the day?”
Captain Hackett stopped walking, turned on his feet, and faced the blue Shoyru. “Gerald, this is not a restaurant. This is the Golden Dubloon. We don’t only feed people here, son. We supply cooks as well.”
Gerald shook his head as the captain turned back around and walked through the kitchen towards a door on the other side. Hackett grabbed a book on a nearby stove and tossed it over his head. Gerald deftly caught it as he continued talking. “But, sir, I’m still confused.”
“Just cook the meals at the given times, son. It’s not difficult.” Captain Hackett opened the back door and shoved Gerald through it. The blue Shoyru landed on a plank leading to a parked ship. “Listen to the captain and cook the meals. Easiest job in the world.” Captain Hackett slammed the door, leaving Gerald outside on the plank.
Thoroughly confused and wondering what could possibly be happening to him, Gerald carried himself and his cookbook up the plank towards the ship. As soon as he hopped onto the wooden craft, a Krawk with a captain’s hat on his head shouted at him. “Ahoy there, matey. You must be the new cook. You better get your tail in that kitchen and make me crew a filling meal. And you best be quick about it. We set off soon, and thar be nothin’ more cantankerous than a crew of unfed pirates.”
“Pirates? Umm... but I’m a cook.”
“That you be. A cook. The new cook of the Silver Spectre. The most fearsome pirate ship in all of Neopia!”
To be continued...