I Don't Want to Be a Pirate: Part Two
“Pirates? The Silver Spectre?” Gerald stood dumbfounded in front of the Krawk who must have been the captain of the ship. But this was all so confusing. There had been no mention of being the chef on a pirate ship when he had received this position at the Faerieland Employment Agency. It just didn’t make sense.
“Did you hear me, boy? Get your tail in that kitchen and start making me crew some grub. Now!” The Krawk captain was losing his temper fast, and suddenly Gerald wished that he was instead working for Captain Hackett of the Golden Dubloon. What a strange wish.
Gerald let the command sink into his brain, and he decided he had to act quickly before he was thrown overboard to the Jetsam. He sprinted from the entrance to the ship to the cabin before he realized he had no clue where the kitchen was located. But instead of asking the rather irate captain, Gerald jumped through the cabin door and decided to search for himself.
Immediately beyond the threshold was a set of stairs leading into the bowels of the ship. Gerald breathed deeply and steadied himself before heading down the steps into the dimly lit cabin of the pirate ship. And what he stepped into was absolute chaos.
As soon as his feet hit the wooden floor, Gerald stared in awe at the number of Neopets running this way and that way through the cabin of the ship. Straight in front of him was a long hallway with several doors on either side. Neopets dressed in pirate garb ran this way and that through doorways, yelling and screaming. Gerald could only catch bits of what they were saying, but he knew what they were all shouting about.
“Grab the rope!”
“Get yourselves ready!”
“Captain Bloodscar will throw us overboard if we don’t hurry.”
“It’s time to set off from shore!”
Gerald listened to the bustling and screaming until finally the pirates began running past him up the stairs. Soon, they were all above the cabin, no doubt preparing the ship for its final stages before setting off. Still amazed at what he had just seen, Gerald began to walk slowly down the hallway, checking each room for the kitchen and searching for signs of life from pirates who might not have gone up to the main deck.
“Hey there. Who are you?”
A voice came from behind him, and Gerald turned to face a green Acara who was leaning up against a wall in the hallway and munching on a green apple casually. The Acara barely even looked at Gerald but instead studied the apple she was eating as if searching for any trace of a wriggling grub.
“Umm...” Gerald wasn’t quite sure how to respond to anyone on the ship. He had tried to communicate with the captain, but that didn’t go over well. In fact, he was sure he had already obtained an enemy. “My name is Gerald.”
“Gerry, huh? You must be the new cook.” The Acara walked up to Gerald, her eyes finally gazing into his. He noticed that they were a deep blue hue, and they were slightly mesmerizing. “I’m Pella. Good to see ya aboard. So, what’s for dinner?” she asked as if the apple wasn’t spoiling her appetite in the least.
“Um, well, I’m not really sure. I’ve never really cooked anything before. I was supposed to be a waiter at the Golden Dubloon.”
Pella the Acara shook her head. “Don’t tell anyone else that, Gerry. They’re liable to be quite upset with you if they think you can’t cook. Besides, all you have to do is pick a recipe from that book of yours and follow the instructions. It’s not that difficult. I used to watch our old cook do it.”
Gerry began looking around for the kitchen again as he continued their conversation. “Oh, yeah. And what happened to him?”
“Her, Gerry. Not him. And it was a horrible error of judgment on her part. Should have followed the instructions... and who would have known that mIxing a Bagguss with any type of pepper would cause that type of explosion.”
Gerald stopped and rested his eyes in Pella, looking for any sign of humor in her face. There was none.
“Umm... where’s the kitchen?”
Pella grinned. “Wow, they sure did pick a newbie, didn’t they? Kitchen is the second to last door on the right. And you’d better hurry and pick a recipe. If you must know, I prefer a stew of some type. Fills you up just right, and it’s loaded with the necessary nutrients for any pirate.”
Gerald walked quickly towards the kitchen, opened the door, and gazed at the mess of a kitchen he was to be cooking in. Stains splotched the walls. Dishes and pots were unwashed in the sink. The stove had an eerie pile of black soot on it. This was not going to a fun adventure.
“No one’s been in here since the accident.” Pella had followed Gerald into the room.
“It’s... charming. By the way, I’ve been meaning to ask you about this pirate thing. What exactly do you guys do?”
Pella smiled, stopped eating her apple, and thrust her chest out proudly. “We sail the high seas, looking for adventure. And spoils, of course.”
“You know, booty.”
“C’mon, Gerry. I mean treasure, of course.”
“Wait, so you’re a bunch of thieves.”
“Thieves? The Pant Devil is a thief, Gerry. We are pirates!”
Gerald shook his head, trying to thwart the confusion which was wrapping itself around his brain. What was the difference between a bunch of thieves and a gang of pirates? But now was not the time for some philosophical debate. He had a dinner to prepare lest he be thrown overboard by a horde of angry pirates. So, he set to work.
He thumbed the cookbook, looking for a stew recipe. After all, it seemed he had made a friend, so he might as well make her happy. “How does Lentil Stew sound?”
Pella laughed. “Lentil stew? Hardly the filling meal. How about a nice Chunky Meaty Stew. Now that will put hair on your head.”
Gerald thought it best not to point out that sprouting hair on a Shoyru’s head was nearly impossible. Rather, he thumbed through the cookbook until he found the recipe for Chunky Meaty Stew. “Umm... it calls for a lot of meat.”
“Yes, Gerry. That’s why it’s a chunky and meaty stew. Honestly.” Pella rolled her eyes.
“Where’s the meat kept?”
“Oh, of course. You don’t know your way around the kitchen yet. There’s a pantry over there,” she said pointing to a door built into the back wall. “And that over there is a meat locker. They keep all the meat nice and cold with huge ice neggs and occasional ice motes. Very nice in there on a hot day, I might add.”
Gerald opened the meat locker and immediately saw all types of meat hanging on hooks in a rather frigid room. “I see. And which of these do I put in the stew.”
“The cookbook, Gerry. Honestly, didn’t anyone tell you to follow the instructions carefully?” Gerald nodded. Indeed they had. Funny how he kept forgetting that. “Now, listen, Gerry. I have to go on deck now. We kick off shore in a few minutes, and I need to be in the crow’s nest. I’ll catch you later. And be sure to let us know when dinner’s ready. If I were you, I would have it ready for sundown.”
Pella left, and Gerald collected various meats from the locker. He was going to miss not having anyone to talk to, especially since he was still so curious about his current situation. He had heard from her that pirates looked for treasure, but where? Where was the crew headed to? Were they just going to wait for other ships to pass and steal things from them? This whole pirate thing was completely foreign to Gerald. After all, he had lived a simple life with his owner up until two days ago. Real life was facing him like a charging Tonu.
Gerald did as best he could, throwing various types of meat and broth he found in the pantry into the largest pot in the kitchen. He had been careful to clean it thoroughly before using it, though he got the feeling that it had been the first time the pot had been cleaned since it was manufactured.
He let his ingredients stew (thus why it was called a stew) for a good hour or so before tasting it. It wasn’t exactly a gourmet food, but it wasn’t too bad. The meat wasn’t as tender as he liked it yet, but his time was running out. Though he hadn’t gone on deck to see, he was sure sundown was very near to now. While he let it stew on its own a bit more, Gerald decided to clean up a bit. If this was going to be his environment, it might as well suit his needs.
It took about fifteen minutes before Gerald found a mop (which was presumably used to swab the upper deck rather than the inside of the ship) and a bucket, and he swabbed as best he could until the water he was using in his bucket turned a shade of black of which a skunk Elephante would be jealous. He stopped and looked around. It was an improvement, but it was hardly in the state that Gerald would prefer. Perhaps in a few days, this place would be completely spruced up.
Suddenly, Gerald heard what had to be a stampede heading down the stairs and in his direction. It must be sundown. Dinnertime. Shouting and yelling met his ears as he hurriedly put the mop away and turned his attention back to his culinary concoction.
“You ready?” came a voice from the doorway. Pella was standing there, no apple in hand. “Mess hall is this way. Bring the grub, and you better be quick about it. The captain is in a bad mood.”
Not quite happy with the idea of his upset captain, Gerald used two potholders and carried the still steaming pot to the mess hall, following Pella as she led the way. His stew smelled good enough, but he hadn’t had a chance to taste it after his additional simmering.
Entering the mess hall, he gazed up and down a large table. Pirates lined it, carrying on about tales of the seas and the spoils they were looking forward to accumulating. Captain Bloodscar was sitting at the head of the table, quietly observing his crew and awaiting the first bite of the stew Gerald had prepared.
Carefully, Gerald followed Pella to the head of the table where the Captain sat, and he set the pot of stew in front of the Krawk. Suddenly, the table got very, very quiet. Captain Bloodscar leaned forward, took the ladle, and scooped a healthy portion into his bowl on the table. He then took his own spoon, dipped it into the bowl, lifted the spoon to his snout, and threw the liquid into the back of his throat.
The Krawk smacked his jaws a few times, tasting the mixture as if he was the ultimate food critic. Suddenly, Captain Bloodscar stood at his end of the table, pointed a scaly finger at Gerald, and yelled in a commanding voice, “Throw him overboard!”
To be continued...