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Heather’s Christmas Story: Santa was a Pirate

Holiday lights Champs Elysées

Author’s Note: I wrote this story in 48 hours for the Abbey Bookshop Holiday Party (December 11, 2009). They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In this case it was just easier to start with a pre-existing best-seller and a well-loved Christmas poem than to write something from scratch. And it also makes it easier to pretend the huge plot holes, geographical absurdities, warped sequencing and downright bad writing were intentional. Enjoy! 😉

Santa was a Pirate
by Heather Stimmler-Hall
Christmas 2009

George Bailey was awakened from his jetlagged slumber by a pounding on the door of his palatial Ritz suite, where all visiting professors of obscure esoteric topics are housed when they come to Paris. He was invited to give a lecture at the Sorbonne on Christmas symbolism, particularly regarding Santa Clause, aka Saint Nicolas. His research had unearthed some very controversial findings about the origins of Father Christmas, namely that he may have been an actual man, not just a work of fiction. So far his findings were limited to a few flimsy theories and a lot of coincidences, but with the right tweed jacket and enough grey hairs on his head, it was enough to get him on the university speaker’s circuit.

The pounding on the door continued. Bailey reached for his glasses on the bedside table and turned on the light. His watch showed 2am. With a groan the professor dragged himself out of the king-sized bed and across the plush carpet to open the door. It was a young policeman.

“Monsieur Bailey?” he asked.

“Oui?” he said, exhausting his entire French vocabulary in one word.

“Habillez-vous, monsieur, vous venez avec moi.”

Bailey just stared, blinking his eyes in the bright light. The policeman racked his brain, looking for a phrase from the American movies he watched that would fit this particular situation. Suddenly he puffed himself up and made a very serious face, holding out his hand. “Come wiz me if you want to leev” he said, in a thick Franco-Austrian accent.

George was too groggy to laugh, but he got the hint. He pulled on some clothes before following the policeman through the back door of the hotel and out to his car on the Rue Cambon. “Am I under arrest, Officer?” asked Bailey as the policeman opened the door. “Non, monsieur.”

“Then where are we going?” he asked, climbing in to the back of the car.

“Zee biggest museum in zee world, Le Louvre!” Replied the officer, with just a bit too much enthusiasm for 2am.

The professor was confused, but resigned himself to the journey and settled into his seat. The little French police car sped through the empty streets, hardly slowing down at the red lights. They passed the historic monuments of the City of Light, past the Eiffel Tower, up the hilltop of Montmartre, through the Place de la Bastille.

“Aren’t we going a bit out of the way?” interrupted Bailey, leaning forward in his seat to see what was going on.

“Oh, so zee American iz going to tell me how to drive in my own city?!” replied the officer indignantly. “This is not a taxi monsieur!” Before Bailey could argue, they arrived at the famed Musée du Louvre. The officer drove right up onto the sidewalk and passed with his car through a passage into the Louvre’s oldest section, the Cour Carré, where they parked in the cobblestoned courtyard.

He followed the deputy to the second floor, and past the greatest collection of paintings by the French masters of the 17th and 18th century.

He could see a few people standing around a floodlight up ahead, two CSI officers and a man in a trench coat and deerstalker hat. As they approached, Bailey finally saw what they were looking at on the floor. A dead body in a Santa suit, still holding onto a bottle of rum.

“So you brought me here because a drunken bum in a Santa suit broke into your museum and died on your floor?” The policemen exchanged glances, then the one in the trench coat spoke up.

“I am Inspector Clouseau,” he said extending his hand to show George his badge, “And this,” he said with a nod towards the body, “is the museum’s curator. He was not a drunk, Monsieur, he was murdered.”

Bailey was visibly shocked. “Jacques Skellington? I had a meeting with him tomorrow. He said there was something urgent he needed to discuss with me.” The Inspector nodded his head solemnly, but kept his piercing gaze on Bailey.

“Yes, we found your name on his schedule. That’s why we’ve…requested…that you come immediately….He was found by a family of American tourists who were wandering around lost in the museum after it closed.”

“Seems the only mystery around here,” thought Bailey to himself, “is how your security officers keep their jobs.”

“Those poor kids,” said one of the deputies, shaking his head. “probably traumatized for life now. Can you imagine being trapped in the Egyptian wing with all those mummies when the lights went out? Not to mention stumbling across the body of a dead Santa Clause!”

Bailey was only half listening to the policemen. He suddenly noticed that not only was Skellington holding a bottle of rum, but that in the other hand was a wire coat hanger bent into the shape of a hook. Next to his shoulder was a small ceramic statue of a tropical bird taken from another wing of the museum. And one leg was tucked under his body to make it look like he was missing a limb, a small piece of wood sticking out of the pant leg. Bailey scratched his head. “Very interesting,” he thought. Obviously the dead curator was trying to tell him something. But what?

“Monsieur Bailey,” continued the inspector. “Where were you this evening between 10pm and midnight?” Bailey was surprised by the question, and answered without thinking. “In bed, of course, with jetlag.”

“Very convenient,” replied the Inspector. Fortunately they were interrupted by the click of high heels on the parquet flooring. They all turned as a young woman stepped out of the shadows and into the floodlight where the body lay. The officers stepped aside, heads bowed as she inspected the body closely. Meanwhile Bailey was conducting his own inspection. He figured she was one on the CSI team, her demeanor so cool and professional. She was young, perhaps 20 or 21 years old, and remarkably beautiful in a careless sort of way that Bailey found endearing. Her glossy brunette hair was mussed up, as if she just got out of bed. Her fire red lipstick and dark kohl eyeliner slightly smeared. Her clothes – seemingly thrown on for convenience and comfort rather than fashion – included a pair of stiletto patent black boots, a black mini skirt that hugged every curve, and an oversized v-necked cashmere sweater that exposed the strap of her camisole. She obviously had no idea of her effect on men.

She gently touched Skellington’s hand, picked up the piece of wood, and looked up at the wall behind the crime scene. She stood and walked away from the body and the bright light, stopping near the wall where she paused, her head down, but Bailey caught the pained expression on her face.

“Mademoiselle Cindy Lou Who is Jacques Skellington’s daughter, she is understandably very upset,” said the Inspector.

“Oh, of course,” said Bailey. “I’ll just go and, uh, give my respects.”

Bailey walked over to where the grieving daughter stood. She was pretending to be studying a painting depicting a 17th-century naval battle. He gave a small cough and tried to say something comforting, “Excuse me Miss Who. I’m sorry about your loss. Your father was a good man.” She seemed to ignore him and continued studying the painting. “Maybe she doesn’t understand English,” thought Bailey. So he tried to say it more clearly. “EXCUSE ME MISS WHO!” She jumped as his voice echoed in the large hall, and without looking at him whispered under her breath, “I heard you the first time! Don’t say a word, they’re trying to trap us!” Bailey didn’t know what she was talking about, but he nodded his head in agreement and leaned in closer.

She glanced back at the inspector and his men, then slid the piece of wood into her Louis Vuitton bag, leaning against Bailey and sobbed loudly. He patted her head and reassured her that everything was going to be okay. It seemed like the right thing to say. She whispered again between loud sobs.

“Look at the painting! The flags of the French ships! They’re smeared in blood. The blood on my father’s fingers! He did this!”

As he looked closer, Bailey could see that the red smears were indeed fresh. But he didn’t think it was appropriate to chastise a dead man for getting his blood on the artworks. She was obviously getting hysterical. He needed to calm her down. “That’s okay, Cindy Loo, I’m sure someone will clean it up. The important thing now is to find out what happened to your father.”

“They think you did it! We need to get out of here! Come with me if you want to live,” she said, and tore away, running towards the glowing bathroom signs. Bailey froze. He saw the Inspector look his way and say something to the tour guide officer, who in turn pulled his handcuffs from his belt.

“You know, I think before we start the next tour I’m going to need the restroom, too,” Bailey said nervously, then bolted for the toilets. Inside he found Cindy Loo, who already had one long leg out the open window shimmying down a rope she had made from her sweater. “Hurry, we have to get to my car!” Bailey paused a moment, then climbed up to the window and followed her. He was considerably less agile than the 20-year-old, and by the time he gingerly placed his foot on solid ground Cindy Loo had already retrieved her car, a cherry red convertible Ferrari. She honked for Bailey to hurry up, and the wheels were spinning before he even closed the passenger door behind him. As they sped away down the Rue de Rivoli, he could already hear the sirens of the French police.

“What’s going on Cindy Loo?” he demanded, fastening his seatbelt. “Why would anyone think I killed your father?”

“Because of the Santa Clause suit, of course,” explained Cindy Loo. “My father followed your work very closely, George. He told me yesterday that he had irrefutable evidence to prove your theories correct, that Santa Clause was a real man. He was very excited, but couldn’t tell me over the phone what it was about. We were supposed to meet tomorrow, with you…. And now it’s too late. Someone doesn’t want us to find the truth….Dead men tell no tales”

But Bailey knew the truth. It was suddenly all very clear. It was time he shared everything with Cindy Loo. It was the only hope he had of clearing his name.

“Cindy Loo, your father left all the clues we needed to know the truth at the crime scene. He wasn’t just dressed as Santa Clause, he was dressed as someone else, too.” She looked confused. Maybe she had trouble driving and thinking at the same time, thought Bailey, so he spelled it out for her. “Who else likes rum? Who else has a hook instead of a hand? Who else carries a bird on his shoulder and has a peg leg?”

Cindy Loo gave a gasp of shock, “Pirates!”

“Exactly!” said Bailey, happy that she wasn’t too thick to follow. “Santa was a pirate, and his real name was…Captain Nick.”

“That explains why my father loved pirates so much!  And all along I thought he was just being a silly, obsessive old man…..But If this is true, it could change everything!” she said with her eyes suddenly wide with excitement.

“That’s right, pirates have suffered discrimination for centuries, but it’s all really been a capitalist conspiracy written into the very international maritime laws that persist today in persecuting the pirates who are only trying to redistribute the wealth to those who need it the most.”

“Like Robin Hood, or Ché Guevara!” Cindy Loo exclaimed. He placed a hand on her thigh, squeezing tenderly to show his admiration for her advanced deductive skills.

“The pirates weren’t stealing treasure chests just to keep it all for themselves. They were revolutionaries who would sail from town to town, sharing their captured booty from the high seas with the poor. Wanted criminals, they had to hide from the authorities. There could be no risk of showing themselves in public, even to hand out food and warm blankets to those in need. So Captain Nick devised a brilliant plan to do it under the cover of darkness, in the dead of winter when the nights were long and the days short. They would enter through the chimneys. This was a piece of cake for pirates accustomed to climbing the tall masts and squeezing into the tight quarters of their great ships. Supporters of the revolution would signal their loyalty to the cause by extinguishing their fires on the designated evening.”

“That explains all of the secrecy!” she surmised. “After all, if Santa was the benevolent and well-loved saint he’s made out to be in the press, then why not just come in through the front door?”

Bailey chose to ignore her little interruption and continued his monotonous monologue. “Not that the pirates needed to rely on this secret signal alone. They had their own spies throughout the world who would keep watch on the town, making lists of those who were being generous and caring, and those who were being stingy and selfish. They would send their lists to Captain Nick, who made sure everyone got what they deserved, whether it was a prize ham or a lump of coal.”

“Captain Nick was a clever pirate. He made sure the children received the best gifts. “Get ‘em while they’re still young and innocent,” was his motto. He knew that if he could capture the hearts of children, that they would essentially guarantee the perpetuity of the revolution for future generations. The kids would prepare their own offering of sugar cookies decorated with red sprinkles and a glass of eggnog heavily fortified with rum. They adored Captain Nick, and in turn their parents referred to him as Saint Nicolas.”

“But the greedy enemies of the revolution told their children that Captain Nick didn’t exist. And when their unfortunate little ones peeked out from their bedrooms on the Christmas Eve, it was indeed their parents, and not a jolly pirate, who was stuffing the stockings and putting presents under the tree. This brainwashing continues to this very day, propagated by the capitalist corporations like Coca-Cola who would have us all believe that Captain Nick was a mythical figure, a fairy tale, while continuing to demonize the pirates who fly his flag to this very day. They removed every indication that he was a pirate by moving his headquarters as far from the sunny Caribbean as possible, the North Pole! They turned him into a fat old man, implying that the bulge of the cutlass under his coat was nothing but a giant belly.

“Just as the Christians took over the pagan symbols of the tree and the wreath to promote their holiday, those plotting to use Captain Nick as a tool of blatant consumerism took advantage of his popularity. They kept the red suit, the pirate boots, and the beard, but changed his name to Santa Clause and removed anything that might indicate his communist roots. After all, they wanted people to go out and buy presents. New presents. Whereas once Christmas was a time when everyone was equal under Captain Nick’s sense of social justice, today it’s all about receiving. Kids are taught to tell Santa Clause what they WANT! It’s become all about order fulfillment, and those same heartless corporations whose ships were once raided by Captain Nick and his buccaneers are now the same who profit by selling their cheap products to Christmas shoppers.” Bailey shook his head sadly. “The only problem,” he said. “Is that I have no proof! All of the evidence linking the two has been systematically erased over the centuries by Captain Nick’s enemies.”

They drove on silently, finally arriving at the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. The little red Ferrari took them past the Grand Palais, Ladurée, and Louis Vuitton when suddenly Cindy Loo had an idea.

“Look in my purse!” she said excitedly. “The cryptex!” Bailey opened the bag, and pulled out the piece of wood that Cindy Loo had pilfered from the crime scene, and saw that it was actually an elaborately decorated wooden cylinder with eight disks that rotated with numbers 0 through 9. “I just wanted something to remind me of my father. He loved to hide secret messages for me inside. Do you think maybe there’s a secret message in this one that would help us?” Bailey repressed the urge to smack the young woman over the head with it, but couldn’t hide his sarcasm.

“Oh I don’t know, do you think?”

“Maybe inside we’ll find the proof to restore Captain Nick’s reputation and expose the capitalist conspiracy!” Cindy Loo was so excited she didn’t even slow down as the car approached l’Etoile, where thirteen large Parisian avenues intersect at the Arc de Triomphe in a swirling mess of automotive anarchy, even at 3am. Bailey gripped his seat as the Ferarri barely missed hitting two busses, a scooter, and a family of pedestrians in matching yellow windbreakers running full speed through the chaos with their hands linked, obviously unaware of the underground passage at their disposal.

“W-why don’t we just focus on opening up that cryptex first” said Bailey, trying to hide the treble in his voice. “Don’t you worry your pretty little head about the rest of it.” He could see her grateful smile from the corner of his eye and relaxed a little. They circled the Napoléonic monument three more times, and Bailey was sure he was about to throw up when Cindy Loo finally veered off on to the Avenue Kléber.

“I’ve got an idea!” she said. As the Ferrari reached the top of the hill, Bailey spotted the turrets of a pink chateau, like something out of a fairy tale.

“I thought Disneyland Paris was in the suburbs…” he said, clearly confused. She pulled over the car in the parking lot and turned off the engine.

“We’re stopping HERE?” he asked in disbelief. “At Disneyland? Can’t you see it’s closed?” She ignored him and got out of the car. Bailey had no choice but to follow her, and got out as well. She walked around the back of the car and started pushing, motioning Bailey to give her a hand. “What are you doing?” he asked. “The Inspector will come looking for us here, we have to hide the car!”  A small push was all that was needed to send the beautiful piece of Italian machinery careening down the hill and into the Seine.

“There!” she said with a self-congratulatory smile. “That will fool them for sure. Now we can go inside and take all the time we need.”

Bailey was stunned. “Did she think that up all on her own?” he thought. Very clever. He turned and followed her to the entrance gate. She pulled out a set of keys and proceeded to unlock the door.

“My father was on the board of directors, so we’d come here all the time when I was a little girl. When I turned 15 he gave me my own keys, but I thought Disneyland was for kids – just like Santa Clause — and I hated him for not treating me like an adult. I called him a silly old man. If only I had known…”  Bailey saw a tear slide down her face…she was probably thinking about her dead father, lying on the floor of the Louvre in a Santa costume. He tenderly raised her chin so she was looking into his eyes, and in the sweetest voice he could muster, said, “That’s really touching, but don’t get all mental on me now, Hon, we’ve got to find the code.”

They passed through Main Street and Adventure Land, the eerie silence making the hairs rise on the back of his neck. But then her soft, warm hand grabbed for his in the dark, and they continued on together along the darkened winding paths until they came upon a clearing where the Jolly Roger waved in the moonlight.

“Pirates of the Caribbean!” George exclaimed. “Why didn’t I think of that?!” She paused just outside the entrance, signaling with her finger to her lips for Bailey to be quiet. It was her turn to share what she knew, in minute, time-wasting detail.

“The name “Jolly Roger” comes from the French, joli rouge (or pretty red), describing the bloody banners flown by early pirates. They were meant to strike mortal terror into the hearts of their intended victims. These early pirate flags were always red, and were soon adopted by the early Commune leaders during the Revolution. Only later did the black and white flag become the “standard” pirate flag. Remember that painting in the Louvre? It was no accident that my father smeared his blood onto the French flags. It was the historic 1694 Battle of Textel, where the French fleet captured 130 Dutch ships carrying wheat. Paris was suffering from a horrible famine, and that wheat saves the population from starvation, and the captain was knighted by Louis XIV. What the painting doesn’t show is that the captain was a famous corsair, a pirate, named Jean Bart. But in the 19th century, when that painting was commissioned, no one wanted to acknowledge that Jean Bart was a pirate, and the red flag was replaced by a French flag. My father was trying to set the record straight. The cover-up has been going on for far too long.”

Once finished with her lecture, Cindy Loo opened the heavy wooden door to the Pirate ride. She knew exactly where the light switches could be found. “My father and I always came at night after closing hours. He said it was because he hated crowds, and I believed him. But I know now it was because he was hiding something here, and couldn’t risk letting anyone else see him.”

They stepped into one of the boats and began their journey, floating peacefully through the simulated Louisiana bayou. Bailey didn’t know exactly what they were looking for, but he was glad to be there with her. He felt a twinge of something deep inside… “Dammit,” he thought to himself. “I should have used the restrooms at the Louvre before running off.” But he didn’t have much time to consider his own needs before their boat plunged down into the pirate’s lair. George was not a fan of amusement park rides, and instinctively closed his eyes tightly until they were sailing smoothly once more.

But when he opened them she was gone.

“CINDY LOO!!!” he screamed in panic. Did she fall in?! He gave a tentative peek over the edge of the boat, while holding tightly onto the safety bars. The water was dark and murky. He gulped. He looked around frantically, as automated pirates, wenches and damsels in distress danced and cavorted and sang songs. “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!”

Bailey was about to completely lose it, when he saw her, running through the doorways of the model buildings, between the fake flames and sword-fighting figures. She was obviously looking for the code, and not having much luck.

She jumped back into the boat with George, exasperated. “It’s not here!”

“Did he ever get off the boat when he brought you here?” asked Bailey. He was NOT happy that she had left him there on his own, but luckily she missed this sarcasm, and was struck by a revelation.

“Yes! At the treasure chest! He always got off to get me a piece of gold, and made me wait on the boat! He must have been putting the code there!” Just as she finished this thought their boat arrived at the caves where mountains of jewels and gold and silver were piled high in the pirate captain’s galley. The pirate captain himself, a surprisingly realistic rotting skeleton in a plumed hat, sat at his big wooden desk, covered in cobwebs, counting his booty. Once again Cindy Loo hopped gracefully and effortlessly off the boat, her miniskirt allowing her legs the full freedom to clear the swirling waters below.  This time Bailey followed.

“What exactly do you think we’re looking for?” he asked as he peered into a giant urn.

“I’m not sure,” she said, looking in the drawers of the captain’s desk. “A piece of paper? Something with 8 numbers on it.” Neither of them could find anything, and Cindy Loo sat down heavily on the dusty bed, puzzled. “It’s got to be here somewhere!” Bailey picked up one of the coins from the neat stacks on the desk and inspected it closely before casually popping it into his coat pocket.

“Hey!” Cindy Loo yelled irritably at him, “Don’t steal from Disneyland, that’s just not cool!”

Bailey got defensive and tried to brush it off. “Oh, what? Like they’re going to notice ONE coin missing from the millions sitting here? It’s not as if someone consciously made eight little stacks on the captain’s desk and put a certain number of coins in each stack on purpose!….or DID they!?” He quickly pulled the coin out of his pocket and placed it back in the right stack. “Cindy Loo, get the cryptex, I think we’ve got the answer right in front of us!”

Just as Cindy Loo excitedly pulled the wooden cryptex from her purse, another boat floated into the caves, carrying a family of American tourists, all wearing matching yellow windbreakers. Linking hands, the four of them hopped off the boat and into the Pirate Captain’s Galley.

“I believe the park is closed, folks,” said Bailey cautiously, trying to remember where he’d seen them before. Suddenly the father pulled out a gun and was pointing it right at Cindy Loo. “Hand over that there cryptex, Mademoiselle,” he said in a thick Minnesota accent.

“But, who ARE you people?!” Cindy Loo asked. “How did you get in here?” The gun-wielder’s wife stepped forward to explain.

“We represent the American Family Values Association for Historic Decency. We promote a more family-friendly version of the truth,” she glanced lovingly at her two young children, who beamed back at her with identical toothy grins. “I’m afraid we just can’t allow our children to be exposed to dangerous ideas that might corrupt their innocent minds. Distribution of wealth, poor people getting something for nothing, breaking and entering, piracy? We simply can’t condone that now can we?”

The lady smiled sweetly at them, but Cindy Loo wasn’t smiling back. “You’re the ones who shot my father, aren’t you?” she said, seemingly unafraid of the gun still pointing at her head.

“Sweetie, your father was trying to alter history by defacing great artworks. He was a criminal of all that’s good and decent in the world. We had no choice. Unfortunately, we were interrupted by those corrupt police before we had a chance to get the cryptex. So hand it over now and no one will get hurt, okie dokie?”

As the woman spoke, Bailey saw Cindy Loo’s hands working to enter the combination into the cryptex behind her back. As the husband stepped forward, the cryptex opened and a small, weathered parchment slid silently out of the wooden case and into Cindy Loo’s hand. She quickly held out the other, with the empty cryptex in it, and held it over the river. “If you want it, go and get it!” With that, she threw it into the water, where it landed with a splash and started to float away.

“Oh no!” the family all shouted in unison. They jumped into the water, frantically chasing the wooden cylinder, giving Cindy Loo and Bailey time to slip away unnoticed. She handed the parchment to Bailey, who placed it inside his tweed sports jacket.

As they exited through one of the emergency doors leading to Tomorrowland, Cindy Loo turned back and flipped off the lights. “That’ll slow them down,” she said, as they raced back to the park entrance. Outside, the city was just beginning to wake up. Parisians were walking their dogs. Bakers were delivering their baguettes. And street merchants offered the couple charming little Eiffel Tower trinkets as they crossed the bridge.

“Where should we go to read it?” asked Bailey, hoping she might offer to make him breakfast at her place.

“The Eiffel Tower, where else?” she said with a laugh, pulling him towards the ticket booth. They were the first in line, and arrived at the top in moments. “What does it say?” asked Cindy Loo as he unraveled the ancient parchment.

Bailey couldn’t believe his eyes. It was the original version of the anonymous poem, “A Visit from Captain Nick”, before the capitalists rewrote it as “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. The name of the author and the date were smeared, but the remaining text, he was sure, would be enough.

And as the sun rose over Paris, he read aloud the true story of Captain Nick that would prove Bailey’s innocence, establish the real identity of Santa Clause, and end capitalist rule over the western world forever.

The original version of the poem, Twas the Night before Christmas
Aka “A Visit from Captain Nick”

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Captain Nick soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of the Jolly Roger danced in their heads.
And pa in his pjs, and I in my wrap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a dashing young pirate and eight briny Buccaneer.

In spite of his peg leg, he was lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it was Captain Nick.
More rapid than eagles his corsairs they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Barbossa and Black Bart! Sir Morgan and Red Beard!
O’Malley, Jack Sparrow, Old Sharktooth and Black Beard!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Avast, ye landlubbers, it’s our first port of call!!

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the corsairs they flew,
Up sturdy rope ladders, climbed Captain Nick’s crew.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The swashbucklers dancing, though I had little proof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Captain Nick came with a bound.

He wore a red waistcoast, plumed hat and black boots,
And his cape was all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of booty, he had flung on his back,
Our generous savior then spotted his snack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! Our gifts made him merry!
“Why shiver me timbers, it’s eggnog with Sherry!”
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as black as a crow.

The stump of his leg, clicked as he danced a jig,
Eating cookies I‘d left, baked with chocolate and fig
He had a brave face and a firm muscled belly,
And hearing his laugh, my knees turned to jelly!

He was handsome and pumped, though quite proud of himself,
But  I blushed when he saw me, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a nod of the head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, while unloading the gold,
Filling stockings with treasures, such a sight to behold
Then there came a short whistle, he was finished I suppose,
And with a heave ho of the rope, up the chimney he rose!

With the Captain back safely, the crew gave a cheer,
They escaped to their ship, their getaway clear.
And I heard them exclaim, as they sailed out of sight,
“Vive la Revolution! And to all a good-night!”


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