Stories From the Crow's Nest (7 of 10)
The chantey man was on the capstan playing his
accordion, accompanied by Peg, his wooden-legged fiddler.
They sang songs about strong drink, and laughed and danced
and threw knives like darts.
Roughly an hour or so after the skirmish with the Portuguese ship, I climbed down the ratlines to the main deck. I went below to the forecastle to rest a bit and have a bite to eat. Doc served me some sort of seafood stew and I ate it willingly. The lanterns’ low glow wasn’t even bright enough for me to see what was in this bowl I had, and if it was dead or not. My mouthed sensed the presence of squid, a long slimy, chewy piece of fishy meat. What else could it be? McSwiggin sat across from me, an oak table between us decorated with all sort of strange nautical carvings. He looked up at me with sort of a grimace.
“You did well today lad,” he said, “I gotta tell you. I was mighty surprised, man.”
“I was just trying to survive,” I replied. This remark was true. I had no specific hate towards the Portuguese, but with the way I chopped them to bits and mashed in their faces, I was unsure what I really felt. I had a friend back home that had signed on with the British Navy, he was stationed on a man-of-war, and he had fought against Spain for the most part. When he came home he was never the same. We wanted to drink gin with him and have him tell us tales of the sea, but he sat there drinking stale ale, his eyes did not stray even the slightest, and his eyebrows were thicker and more menacing than anything I had ever seen.