by Jake Christie

a story.

Eric Longbeard, captain of the pirates, stood on the bridge of the Aleutian Jewel and looked out over the deck. All in all it had been a remarkably easy boarding. The Jewel's crew was now safely away in a pair of lifeboats, leaving the pirates with the entire cargo of passengers as hostages. Now, once they were free of the scenic Alaskan glaciers, it was off to Russia, and then--

“Captain,” came his first mate's voice over the radio, “there's a problem on the shuffleboard court.”

Eric dashed down the stairs and vaulted the railing, rifle in hand. He found himself facing two elderly men and his first mate Jack. Jack had an expression of exasperation on his face, while the elderly men wore only anger above their ascots.

“What's the problem here?” asked Eric.

“These men refuse--” started Jack.

“I'll tell you what the problem is,” interrupted the first old man. “I had the court reserved for 1 PM, so I come out here at 1 PM, and I find this sonovagun and he won't leave.”

“We changed time zones,” said the second man. “It's only noon. Did you forget to change your watch?”

“Don't sass me,” said the first man.

Jack threw up his hands. “I told them to go back to their rooms,” he said.

The elderly men momentarily forgot their dispute and turned to Jack. “Oh, no,” said the first man. “I didn't spend good money to waste my retirement in my room. I want to speak to your manager.”

Jack pointed to Eric. The captain looked from one man to the other. “Um,” he said.

“I'm not leaving,” said the second man. “I reserved this court for an hour. I don't care what this gentlemen or the very rude help with the guns have to say.”

“I told you,” said Jack, “we're not the 'help.' This is a--”

“Bahh,” said the first man, and he wandered towards the all-you-can-eat buffet.

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