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Tales of a Blond Pirate

Tales of a Blond Pirate

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Tales of a Blond Pirate

Length:
363 pages
5 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Nov 29, 2019
ISBN:
9781393514473
Format:
Book

Description

Journey to a realm of lusty steampunk pirates, flying ships, treasure maps, and parallel worlds.

Join our valiant hero as he travels to the strange lands of women who command pirate warships and the brave seamen who serve under them.

Experience mysterious volcanic islands, daring sea battles, Viking marauders, and lively costumed evenings.

Tales of a Blond Pirate weaves a rousing adventure of pirate life turned sideways.

Publisher:
Released:
Nov 29, 2019
ISBN:
9781393514473
Format:
Book

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Tales of a Blond Pirate - Bruce Rousseau

TALES OF A

BLOND PIRATE

by

BRUCE ROUSSEAU

Copyright © 2019 Bruce Rousseau

All rights reserved.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, products, brands, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, persons living or dead, businesses, or organizations is entirely coincidental.

BruceRousseau.com

~~~

To all the blond pirates

lurking in so many of us.

~~~

Preface

As I set down my chronicles and reflect upon them, I am struck by what people from the late 1920s would have thought of me. Yes, even in my hometown of Boston, with their thoroughly modern attitudes and their indulgences in the arts and assorted pleasures, what would they think?

Specifically, I can picture the abject condemnation of my parents most clearly.

Their son . . . a pirate? And a fairly lusty one at that?

What would the neighbors say?

What would Father Thomas say? And would he even survive the hearing of my ribald tales at confessional?

Roaring Twenties or not, what would any self-respecting person of modern America think of me? I, a properly raised young man, gallivanting through wondrous adventures? Adventures, both bold and brazen?

It must surely give one pause.

Whatever became of my self-respect? Or indeed, did I ever possess any such virtues?

It is therefore in my defense that I sincerely ask what you would do, given my unusual situation. Would you embrace the hard excitement of pirating? Or would you cling to the apron of polite civility?

And yet, can anyone truly know before the tale is told?

Would a soul even know how they’d react—unless, of course, they’d walked for a time in my salt-stained boots?

Then walk with me, as I recount my most unusual tales . . . tales of bold pirate women and the rough men who served and died in their daring adventures.

Therefore, I ask you, dear reader, to clear your mind of all that is normal and proper. Throw away all thoughts of right and wrong because it is only by living it, that one knows the truth of it.

Aye, for my tale is one of bold survival, as my journey was truly twisted in the mischievous hands of unexpected fate.

They Call Me Jim

My strange odyssey began so many years ago, so many worlds ago. And yet, the moment my life changed still stands so clearly in my mind.

The year was 1928 and the month was January—a pleasantly warm summer south of the equator in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. My name at birth was James Fitzhugh Ashenturn, but everyone called me Jim. As for my age, I was 29 and dreading the loss of my youth when I would become 30. I had just arrived in vibrant Rio, and it was so wonderfully different than my home in stuffy old Boston.

But allow me to digress a moment to explain my roots.

I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, October twenty-ninth, 1898.

With dark brown hair, fair complexion, and being a tall boy with a naturally athletic build, I was the shining example of modern boyhood in the stern appraisal of my father. So, seeing me as the apple of his eye, he promptly decided to cancel my siblings before they were conceived.

That may seem an odd way to put it, but he was a banker who enjoyed platitudes such as: quit while you’re ahead. Therefore, as my mother remembered it, my siblings were indeed canceled.

As a young man, I was fascinated with science and modern inventions, but my father stubbornly insisted there’d be no higher education for me unless it was in the field of banking and finance.

The choice between uneducated bricklayer and educated banker was difficult for me, as I liked neither. But I reasoned that being a banker would allow me to invest other people’s money in the modern business of science. Ultimately, that could provide me with a path out of banking and into a scientific business of my own.

Well, it was a reasonable plan—make my father proud, until the day I could be my own man.

I might also add that I had avoided conscription in the War to End All Wars, as I was a university student, and because my father was a banker with significant political connections. Choose your battles, he would say.

Apparently, sitting in a foxhole dodging bullets wasn’t the proper battle for his only child.

Avoiding that war suited me as well, not that I was cowardly or unpatriotic, but because I had no understanding of why we needed to go to another continent just to kill Germans. For me, I much preferred to learn how things were made, and how to build new and better things, rather than blow things up.

So after graduation, I entered the thrilling world of banking as a junior filing clerk because dear old papa wanted me to know the value of starting at the bottom.

A dollar earned is a lesson learned. Yes, he even made up his own platitudes.

Suffice it to say, my father was a well-dressed pile-driver of a man. My mother, on the other hand, was prim, proper, and quietly controlling of everything around her.

And with no siblings, I was the sole target of their strict affection.

Quite naturally, I plotted my escape from parental tyranny.

Which brings me back to 1928.

Prohibition was the law of the land in the United States, but not in Brazil. Women could vote in the U.S., but not yet in Brazil. And the Roaring Twenties was a lifestyle still hanging on to its delightfully hedonistic state.

Talkies were all the rage. Dirigibles and aeroplanes soared the skies. Flappers and speakeasies were still to be found in all the best U.S. cities. Beer and hooch flowed down storm drains under the pious heel of hypocritical authority. The stock market boomed as if it would never come back down. Gaiety still flowered and flaunted its way into the public spirit.

Essentially, the good times seemed boundless and endless. The future was as a fluted glass shade, stained rose gold, perched atop a stately copper patina wall sconce, and all styled in post art deco. Art made modern by an Edison bulb.

I only knew about such things because my mother had bought two such sconces, and my father had stubbornly refused to install them. Why? Because electrified art was neither art nor practical.

Strange how petty issues seemed so important, right until they were put in perspective by life’s major events. My grandmother passed away in her small mansion in Boston. Not a bad way to go, as she had enjoyed New Year’s Eve over a bottle of Champagne with her housekeeper, then never woke up. A woman of means, and not liking my pompous father that much, she willed the bulk of her estate to me.

Well, I was 29, an up-and-coming junior banker with a keen eye for investing in modern businesses, and I was her delightful grandson—her only grandson—so of course, I was perfectly suited to handle such a large lump sum.

But that did give me pause. What to do with the money?

Me, with a job I didn’t like? Me, with very controlling parents? And me, somehow entangled with a girlfriend who enjoyed naught but spending what little money I earned?

What would any young man do under my circumstances?

Rio?

Yes. That was definitely an idea. A little time to relax and clear my head? Well, a week or two in sunny Rio de Janeiro sounded perfect.

So, as I hastily packed my bags, I casually mentioned how Rio was a possible investment opportunity for clients looking to dip their toes in international waters.

My father thought Brazil was an interesting business opportunity, but mainly he was pleasantly surprised by my initiative. My mother merely thought it was good for me to get this independent streak out of my system, then come crawling back to the staid world of banking.

As for my girlfriend? Well, she discovered I had an independent streak and a new backbone, so she immediately dumped me.

Thereby, I left Boston, not knowing what adventures lay before me. Not knowing how long I’d stay abroad, or even what to expect.

Before I knew it, I was newly arrived in gay Brazil, enjoying Rio’s sunny beaches and its splendidly unbuttoned approach to modern life.

Life was amazing below the equator—where January steamed with summer heat, and where all people, rich or poor, were determined to live to the fullest.

Yes, how truly pleasant to be lost in the alien metropolis of Rio de Janeiro, barely able to speak a few words in Portuguese, yet easily able to afford a pleasant room and decent meals that bordered on lavish at times.

Not to mention the company of cheerful young ladies for evening cocktails. Followed by intimate public flirtations on my private wrought iron veranda, as my third-floor room overlooked a street teaming with vibrant nightlife. Ah, my room—all transoms, broad white shutters, and armoires. A room sensually centered by a grand canopied bed adorned with fresh white linens and frilly lace bits.

And as if that wasn’t enticement enough for my lovely feminine guests, there was the private claw-foot tub with gold plated plumbing.

But if you surmise that I was popular with every comely young lady that inhabited Rio, please keep in mind that the local men were fiercely competitive and wonderfully tanned. I was no expert on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, but the Portuguese must have bred frequently with hotblooded Spaniards. The result was bold men, as well as flirtatious women who held all the high cards.

Wonderful weeks turned into marvelous months. Unfortunately, my amazing new life in Rio had become a foolish way to squander half my inheritance—or perhaps a bit more than half.

So that was my glorious situation. The best of life, front and center . . . while looming darkly in the background was the issue of my diminishing financial assets.

But what was a young man to do? I would turn 30 in October, so there was nothing to it but to make the most of my own roaring twenties.

February was short, but deliciously better than January, thanks mainly to stunning Ivette, creative Clara, and insatiably sexy Yara. March was clouded by excessive bottles of rum and champagne, but I was certain it was better than February.

Month after month, each calendar page made way for the next. Assorted friends, both male and female, drifted in and out of my sphere of questionable influence, while the gaiety of warm evenings capped every carefree day.

Then one night in my favorite bar, sitting at my usual table and oddly alone for that hour, fate struck me from behind.

As I was keenly focused on two lovelies across the room at the bar, I was surprised by the sound of chairs being moved at my table. I turned my attention to my immediate surroundings, expecting the sudden company of friends.

But no.

With me sat a middle-aged Brit, well dressed, but ill-mannered to sit unannounced at my table. And with him, a grizzled old man with the scruff and stench of an alleyway mutt.

As I was soon to discover, an adventure had come knocking. Yet on that night, I only beheld two curious scoundrels, parked rudely at my table without so much as a nod or a verbal greeting.

Scarcely had the two men claimed empty seats at my table, when three lovely young creatures, seductively clothed to make the most of their mid-twenties, materialized out of Rio’s energetic streets and plopped themselves in each of our laps.

The Brit then ordered a bottle of quality champagne for the table, which somehow seemed fitting, as he had a bubbly new friend in his lap and I had a very friendly one in mine, her tantalizing cleavage so close to my appraising eyes. As for the old man’s lap, it was shortly judged to be too brittle, so the third lass commandeered an empty chair and positioned it close to his.

Thusly was set our cozy tableau of six. Quite worthy of a fine art photograph. Not a still life, or even a captivating picture of a nude in repose, yet it was the very image of strange events unfolding.

Ah, the unexpected. Never second-guess Rio.

The champagne flowed freely. Pleasantries were exchanged, and we soon found ourselves to be the best of friends. The two men exchanged harrowing stories, along with nods of complete agreement. The three young women were apparently just out for a lark that night, and where better to perch themselves than in the warm company of three very interesting men?

Yes. Where else, indeed?

Especially, as the Brit had bragged of a royal title, and a bank account deep enough to not even consider the cost of quality drinks.

Then, almost without effort, we soon found ourselves kicking around a mad plan to explore the unknown.

Six unlikely bedfellows. Not in the literal sense, although I had hopes that some arrangements could be made.

Still, it was such a pleasant moment in time. With fate’s kind hand, resting on our shoulders. The thrill of a bold plan based on a secret map the old man kept strictly to himself. Buried treasure of an unknown sort. An uncharted island. A yacht that could be brought to our use. Supplies to procure. Days at sea. An adventure inexorably leading us to untold riches.

And all those aspects were so delightfully enhanced by the fog of endless champagne, and by the vivacious young woman flirting so scandalously in my warm lap.

Yes, that night was so completely compelling.

But perhaps the most compelling point of all—the lure of possible treasure balanced very nicely against my deflating bank ledger.

Ah, sweet fate. I thanked the angels above, even as I held my own beautiful angel tight against my manly chest.

* * *

The joy of that night . . . it played across my mind, over and over, as the days flew past and we made ready for our voyage of discovery. Then to finally set sail for adventure and the mysterious treasure that awaited us.

Ah, those days . . .

Such was my reverie when Sir Hubert Troc’s rented yacht ran aground on a sandbar 100 yards off an unnamed island in the South Atlantic.

Damn, Sir Hubert muttered, apparently not too disturbed by current events, considering the soft grind of sand against the hull and the crystal glass of aged scotch in his right hand.

Running afoul atop a stony reef would have been disaster. However, this sandy grounding was a trifling inconvenience. So, watching him drop the mainsail and casually toss the anchor over the side was not unexpected. This’ll do, he stated with a cavalier British slur.

Sir Hubert then turned his middle-aged head of ginger curls to the task of refilling his glass, squaring his jaunty white captain’s cap, and bumbling about while the lowered sails fluttered uselessly in the warm midday breeze.

We had arrived.

Yes, we had arrived at our mysterious island, each of us whole, and surprisingly none the worse for wear. All in good spirits, thanks to the expensive booze that always seemed to travel with Sir Hubert. Not to mention the glorious balmy day and the pristine white sandy beach that lay just ahead.

All in all, to have arrived at this pleasant isle was a rousing triumph of seamanship over alcohol. Not to mention, it was actually our intended destination.

Still, all was not quite right. I gazed down into the sparkling pale blue water calmly lapping the hull, noting the unusual yellow fish all around us and the close proximity of the sandy bottom. Sir Hubert seemed to read my mind.

Not to worry, lad. His right hand clutched a highball glass while his left hand limply gestured to the picturesque world around us. The yacht . . . the yacht is perfectly set and can easily be backed off this splendid sandbar at our convenience—given naught but a favorable tide, or a fortuitous seaward breeze. Preferably, a bit of both, I should think. Now then, who’s up for a stroll on the white sands of our good fortune?

All three ladies pulled their swimsuit tops up in unison to cover their almost tanned breasts. I’m not sure why they bothered, as modesty had long been abandoned during our three days at sea. But I supposed it was in preparation of greeting any local natives, or perhaps a wild boar. One must be properly covered when facing a wild boar—every woman knew that, as grandmothers often had such ancient pearls of wisdom to impart.

Or perhaps I didn’t have a clue what grandmothers told their granddaughters.

Then, with the ladies fully back into Rio’s most immodest swim wear, old Alfred put a hand to the tangled straggle of his gray beard and gave me a scowl, combined with a shrug, as if to say the show of lovelies was at an end—all too soon.

Yes, indeed, the show was over. Paradise found. Paradise lost. Such was ever the fate of man.

Having approached the island directly from the west, its full dimensions were unknown to us. Yet, the view of the eastern shore before us was magnificent. A mountainous crescent of land greeted us, forming a large calm bay, as if one side of an ancient volcano had sloughed off into the sea, creating a sharp crescent shaped cliff, towering perhaps 500 feet or more into the clear blue air.

The island itself was verdant with green foliage, reminiscent of the wild jungles of Brazil, only far more exotic and stunningly vertical. On the steepest sections of the crescent cliff that loomed over us, dark rocks with veins of white quartz prevailed over the wild jungle growth. One might easily mistake this island for colored illustrations of South Pacific islands, yet the usual palm trees of the Pacific were replaced with huge plants with dark green leaves, each leaf as big as a man.

The combination of black rock on the cliffs and white sand on the beach was a puzzlement, but I had more pressing issues at that moment.

Instinctively, we gathered up some basic supplies, mostly in the form of assorted drinks, food, and whatever else seemed appropriate for a party on the beach. Who would expect less? Given the boat’s company and the thrill of arrival, a lively beach party was the order of the day.

As we stood bunched together at the bow of the boat, surveying the 100 yards of tranquil blue water that lay between us and the pristine sands of the beach, Sir Hubert clattered about behind us, eventually hauling up a sizable chest from below. Don’t just stand there, Jim. Lend a hand with this.

So I grabbed a rope handle and we carried the chest to the bow of the yacht. And since it was empty except for Sir Hubert’s booze and a machete, we naturally filled it up with our party supplies.

Sir Hubert then gave us a look like we were all noobs. Well, if you expect me to lower a dinghy for you, you’ll have a bloody long wait ahead of you. So slip yourselves over the side or stay aboard. The choice is yours.

He pulled a modern revolver from the back of his belt, placed it in the chest, then closed the lid. That should about do it. As for me, I’m up for a swim. He straightened his rumpled white captain’s shirt with its laced front and its puffy frilled sleeves. In case you’re wondering, the sea chest is sealed against water, so unless you tip it right over, it should float well and good. Jim, be a good lad and do us the honor of being the first over the side, that way old Alfred and I can hand the chest off to you. Be a stout lad and take the honor.

Apparently, that was the entire plan. We were supposed to wade or swim as best we could to reach the shore, even as we cajoled the large chest along with us. And I supposed the pistol and machete were for protection against the unknown.

Nothing like a complete plan.

As I eased myself cautiously over the side, I heard the splash of the girls diving into the water, followed by their bright laughter.

Personally, I was cautious about the temperature of the water, and more to the point, worried about the possibility of sharks and eels and such. As for the young women, they seemed to fear nothing.

With my feet pleasantly set on the sandy bottom, and the crystal-clear water warm around me to my chest, I looked up in time to see Alfred roll up his secret map in oilcloth, stuff it into his trouser pocket, and finally button that pocket for good measure. He and Sir Hubert then strained to lower the heavy sea chest down to me, but from my perspective it was more of a simple drop than the promised hand-off.

So a fair amount of saltwater splashed my face when the sea chest met water. But it floated well enough, and the sand between my toes and the warm water all around me felt like a holiday in heaven.

A half-minute later, we had only reached the crest of the wide sandbar, with 80 yards of cove still to go. The water was as clear as anything I’d ever seen or imagined, and warm enough to make swimming a sensual pleasure. At the top of the sandbar, the seawater barely topped my knees. Ahead of us lay an entire island of adventure and hedonistic fun. That latter image primarily filled my thoughts, as one might reasonably expect.

Behind us stood the white yacht, so bright and stark against the blue hues of sky and ocean water. Its improperly furled sails fluttered softly, suggesting a cheery wave goodbye, while its stern bobbed up and down as if to encourage us to proceed ashore. Or maybe its bobbing was a way for it to loosen its toehold on the sandbar and bid us all a fond adieu?

At least it was anchored.

Returning my gaze to the cove, I wondered if ripe old Alfred could swim. I knew little about him, other than he was originally from Ottoman-Turkey, spent time in the Spanish Army, mostly in the brig for bad behavior, then he had packed his few belongings and moved to Portugal to escape the rigid Spanish legal system. And most recently, he had traveled to exotic Brazil to find suitable people to back this expedition.

The rest of his character lay in superficial talk of declining health and Brazil’s humid weather, and how the two maladies were interrelated. He kept his mouth shut about the three vibrant young ladies that accompanied us, but made it clear by both gesture and facial expression that he fancied certain lustful acts with them. So I chalked up his sour humor to him playing hard to get, which wasn’t getting him the position he so deeply desired.

As for his secret map and his talk of an uncharted island with hidden treasure, Alfred kept all those details close to his old brown skin. He’d shared only enough to lure our interest. That information consisted of the briefest of bait about ancient conquistadors who had hidden a portion of their gold and silver on an isolated island, presumably as a hedge against misfortune, or as a means of early retirement.

Honestly, Sir Hubert and I would have been content just to drink with the old man at a bar in Rio and listen to his mad stories. Neither of us needed a wild goose chase when Rio was so visceral and electric. But the thought of three brazen young women on a yacht for several days seemed like a slice of heaven—a slice so beckoning that it ultimately proved impossible to refuse. And if there really was treasure to be found, so much the better.

But it was the journey, not the destination. Right?

Coming, Jim?

I noticed the whole team had moved ahead of me. The girls were now swimming briskly, while old Alfred’s balding topknot and the yachting cap on Sir Hubert were barely visible above the waterline and the gentle swells. Both men had a hand on the large party trunk as it bobbed between them.

So I pushed my way forward through the pristine water and down the slope of the sandbar—the tide apparently coming in, as waves of water pushed against my back.

Then I started the long slow swim to the beach. Well, it was especially slow for me, as I could tread water much better than I could actually swim. My early life in Boston was spent avoiding its waters, made rank by considerable commerce and industry. While my recent time in Rio included fishing for new friends and attractive young women along the beach, but never actually braving the waves.

And so we made our way through the clear waters of the cove. Sir Hubert and Alfred swam awkwardly with a free hand each, while both men held onto the chest. Ahead of them, the girls laughed and swam effortlessly, diving occasionally when one would spot a pretty fish. They were like three mermaids at home in the water, laughing and beguiling the three awkward men onward, ever onward, to the wild island and whatever adventures lay ahead.

Three pretty lures for three hapless flounders.

That was us.

Alfred had refused to say where he got the map. But it crossed my mind the girls had arranged for Sir Hubert and me to land in Alfred’s desperate old hands.

Or perhaps, nothing of the sort was prearranged.

As I swam the frog stroke, it also crossed my mind there could be pirates on the other side of the island, eager to take possession of the yacht. And along with that thought, the island could be littered with the bones of men. Bones bleaching in the sun—the bones of suckers lured by comely sirens.

Well, at least we had the pistol.

Unexpected Destinations

Not being much of a swimmer, I was glad to finally trudge ashore. Our fearless young ladies were already gone, having completely disappeared into the jungle, doing whatever girls do upon arrival at a thrilling destination.

As for Sir Hubert, he had already scooped and piled the warm sand to form a beach chair facing the cove, and he was now busy setting up his bar. Off to my right, old Alfred had collapsed in a heap under a bit of shade.

Jim, old boy. Sir Hubert waved me over and held out the pistol. Best you hang on to this bloody thing. I’m already feeling no pain, and poor Alfred over there is in no condition to handle a rough situation should it manifest itself. So here you go.

He waggled the gun at me and I reluctantly took it.

Try not to shoot yourself in the leg . . . or shoot anything else that shouldn’t be shot, for that matter. And while you’re up and about, do find some timbers or logs that we can lash together to make a raft. As you might imagine, it’s so much easier to transport supplies to the beach and treasure back to the yacht if we had a proper raft. Don’t you agree?

I looked around, not optimistic about finding fallen trees or even rope. And for that matter, my optimism about finding

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