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The Dream of a Kitchen Boy


by ssjelitegirl

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The Golden Dubloon was filled with guests as always. It was rather late and the moon was shining over the restaurant. There were more visitors in the place than usually since a pirate ship had just returned from her journey to the eastern part of the sea. The journey had been long and tiring. Now the pirates were happy to have a chance to sit back, relax a little and tell all those landlubbers stories about the trip. The restaurant was rarely that noisy, even for being the Golden Dubloon.

     Only one pirate sat alone in the corner, eating a beefsteak and paying no attention to other guests. It was an old Kougra, with many scars and very sharp cold eyes. He was the captain of the crew, known to be ruthless and very strict. His crew respected him and so did everyone else, wherever he went. Right now he wanted to have his solitude - and that's what he got, even in that tiny and noisy place.

     Even though it looked like he was sitting there, surrounded by his own thoughts, his cold eyes were examining the restaurant every single second. So he was very well aware of a pair of very curious eyes that were staring at him every now and then from the doorway to the kitchen. The captain didn't mind it. He was used to curious little brats that wanted to grow up to be just like him. Usually those kids ended up as bank managers or shopkeepers, but it was the dream that counted.

     The curious eyes belonged to Joey, a young Gelert who worked in the restaurant's kitchen. He had always wanted to become a pirate, but it wasn't half as easy as he had imagined it to be. When he had come to Krawk Island a couple of years ago, he had been full of dreams and hopes. But he had no luck. The pirates only laughed at him when he told them that he wanted to become a member of their crew. Eventually he had gone to the Golden Dubloon and luckily gotten a job there. Now he was there, cooking and baking, dashing around with frying pans and huge pots which were twice his size. The job wasn't easy, but it wasn't that hard either. The Gelert had begun to like it. In those couple of years he had become a very good cook without even noticing it.

     The old Kougra looked around in the restaurant. He frowned. Some of his crew members who were sitting nearby noticed that he had quite an odd look on his face.

     "The captain be quiet today," one of the pirates quietly remarked.

     "Aye," the other one agreed, "something be wrong with him. He always be behavin' strangely when we come to the Golden Dubloon. Always so quiet and never be wantin' to talk to anyone."

     "The journey wasn't easy for him," a third pirate added. "He be pretty old now, famine and battles be not good for him…"

     "Shut it!" the first one hissed. "He be keelhaulin' ye if he hears that ye thinks he be too old! Our ol' captain be a true pirate till his very end, that be certain."

     The others nodded and turned back to their poker game. The old captain paid no attention to them. His thoughts were elsewhere, even though his brain registered every face, every move in the restaurant. He finished his steak and shouted:

     "Waiter! Another one of these steaks and hurry up!"

     A minute later someone put a huge plate with a golden brown beefsteak on it in front of him. The old captain looked up in surprise and raised his brows. That was a lot faster than he had expected.

     "Nice service, laddie," he remarked with a slight grin, looking at the young yellow Gelert. Joey grinned back a bit sheepishly.

     "You're very famous around here and, well, of all those stories I've heard about you, I remembered that every time you visit the Golden Dubloon, you, well, order two beefsteaks. So I, uhm, made one already while you were eating."

     The old captain glanced at him thoughtfully before starting his steak. "Ye've heard a lot about me?" he asked. Joey nodded frantically.

     "People who come here tell many stories," he said. "Even if most of them are just made up or then exaggerated a lot… say, have you really been to the other side of Neopia?" he suddenly asked, feeling a burst of bravery. The Kougra looked up from his steak with a frown. He disliked people disturbing him while he was eating, but something in Joey's enthusiastic eyes made him nod.

     "Aye," he said. "It be not as interesting as ye might think."

     Joey wanted to turn around and leave towards the kitchen, but something still forced him to stay and burst out:

     "I want to become a pirate!"

     Another thoughtful frown, another slight nod. "Many do. But y'know lad, it not be sailin' under the shinin' sun and swimmin' in gold. Bein' a pirate means fightin', hunger, hard work, terrible storms and many other things. Thar be nothin' fancy in this life."

     Joey nodded. "I know. And still… I want to become a pirate."

     The captain didn't wonder why as Joey had expected. Instead of that, he asked: "And why ye be workin' here if ye thinks ye should be swabbin' decks instead?"

     "Nobody wanted to take me along," Joey explained. "They all said that there was no room."

     The captain nodded. "On a pirate ship, every pair of paws be the worth of gold and every redundant pair of paws be worth nothing. Then why didn't ye go back home to yer mommy?"

     The young Gelert snorted. "How should I become a pirate when I'm sitting at home? No, when I'm working here, I still have the chance of hearing whether anyone needs an extra pair of paws on their ship."

     The old captain didn't reply any more. He was just sitting there, eating his steak and paying no attention to Joey. The Gelert turned around to go back to the kitchen when the captain suddenly said:

     "I started just like ye."

     Joey turned around and stared at the captain. "You did?"

     The Kougra nodded. "Many, many years ago I had a dream… a dream just like yers. I wanted to be a pirate. Me parents didn't want that so me ran away from home and came here, on Krawk Island. But nobody wanted me on their ship so me came here."

     "In the… Golden Dubloon?" Joey asked with hesitation. The captain nodded again.

     "I be workin' as a servin' boy in the Golden Dubloon for many years. Then me got lucky, an old captain took me on his ship. It were very hard, aye. Me had to eat whatever were left over from the galley, sleep on the deck under a piece of canvas even when in were rainin' and me had to swab the decks and wash the dishes every day. That be the real life of a pirate, lad, when you be wantin' to start with that life."

     "I don't care!" Joey growled. "All of them," he looked at all the pirates in the restaurant, "have made it. Why not me?"

     "Not all of them be able to make it," the old captain remarked. "Many be washed over the board in the first storm, many be killed in their first battles, many just give up and become bank managers or somethin'. Those scallywags be the toughest of the toughest. They be gone through everything already."

     "And why not me?" Joey asked.

     "Do ye really thinks ye have what it takes?" the Kougra asked back.

     Joey frowned. "I don't know. The sea must show that. But one day, when I get my chance to become a pirate, I won't waste that chance, that's one thing for sure."

     "At least ye gots a lot of will-power," the old captain remarked with a grin and stood up. "Now bring me the bill."

     The other pirates noticed that their captain had stood up so they quickly started finishing their grogs, poker games and chatting with landlubbers. Whenever the captain said that it was time to go, it was time to go and there was no arguing about that.

     "The captain be talkin' a lot to that kitchen boy," one pirate remarked to the other.

     "Well, me thinks that be a good thing for him," the other one shrugged. "Me be worried about him. He may not be likin' it, but he really be quite old. Remember the old days when we be sailin' the other side of Neopia? We saw things no other Neopian has even seen… and now we just be roamin' the quiet waters of Mystery Island and whenever we come to the Golden Dubloon, the captain just be sittin' in the corner and thinkin' about the old days. That be one old dog who not be bitin' much any more."

     His mates nodded in agreement. Their old captain's best days were most definitely over. But they still respected him a lot and as he walked up to them, they all stood up instantly.

     "We be goin' now, men," he said. The crew nodded. "And one more thing… hey lad! Kitchen boy!"

     Joey stuck his head out of the kitchen. "Yeah?" The dishes had been piling up while he was talking to the captain and now he had more work to do than usually.

     "Ye said that ye wanted to become a pirate?" the captain asked. Joey nodded.

     The old Kougra grinned. "Our cook was killed in the latest battle. Ye be makin' good beefsteaks, lad… wanna join me crew?"

     Joey blinked and gasped. "Do I what?" Suddenly he realized what he had just heard and grabbed a small rucksack from a tablet next to the door. He always kept his few things packed, just in case he'd ever happen to hear those four words he had just heard. A very wide and happy grin appeared on his face as he trotted out of the kitchen, shouting: "Hey boss, find yourself another kitchen boy… I quit now!"

     "We be sailin' to east right now," the captain remarked to his crew as he walked out of the restaurant. His men followed him and an extremely happy little Gelert pranced at the end of the bunch.

     "Where to, captain?" a sailor asked.

     "To the very east, to the other side of Neopia," the old Kougra replied. "We now be havin' a new member who needs to become a real pirate, right?"

     The owner of the Golden Dubloon watched from the tiny window as the ship hoisted the sails and headed towards the ocean. Yet another little brat who wants to play pirates, he thought. Even though that Joey-kid might actually make it. He sure has the guts for it… not like most of those momma's boys.

     "Hey boss, we need to find a new kitchen boy," a waiter told him as he passed him with a pile of dirty plates. "Someone who'd be able to peel potatoes and cook a steak without letting it turn into a pile of ash."

     "Don't expect me to find someone like that on this island," the owner replied. He looked at the ship, which had almost disappeared into the dimness. "Skills come with time. And that goes for every job."

The End

 
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