This post is part one of the three part series I’m titling ‘A Pirates Life.’
I was new in town, only really knowing the guy I shared a ride with to get here. I was looking for work, because that’s what I was pretty good at. I found some part time work at the tavern once a week, the barkeep seemed relieve to have someone on board to help with some of the odd jobs around the place. It wasn’t super fulfilling, but like I said it was work and that kept me busy.
One of the nice things about working in the tavern from time to time was getting to hear what was going on. It was convenient to hear the latest news from people as they would come and go; as someone who really was not familiar with the area it was useful to quickly get up to speed. One night I overheard someone talking about a treasure they had recently found and were looking to plunder. Being the enterprising soul that I was, I made sure to spend my time mopping the floor near their table to try and pickup as many of the details as possible.
Much to my confusion, the sailors seemed to be taking a very roundabout approach to getting to the treasure. I wasn’t really from the area, but I had a rough understanding of the seas they were headed into and it seemed like they were sticking to much larger channels than some smaller and more direct ways that were out there. I considered offering my suggestions when they were leaving, but they looked considerable more experienced and I was a just working at the tavern. They left, but I didn’t forget about the treasure they were talking about.
I didn’t work everyday, so I had plenty of spare time on my hands. After some thought and recreating the map they seemed to be talking about I decided to head out and see if I could get to the treasure just as quickly as I thought I could. I set off in small solo sail boat that direction. I’ll spare you the details of my journey, but I confirmed that the route I thought I knew was faster. After successfully arriving at the treasure, I was even able to open up the treasure and take a few coins with me. I headed back and planned to return to work as usual, I didn’t really know how to get a hold of the pirates (that’s kinda the nature of pirates I believe) so I just smiled to myself, proud that I had at least been able to do something they seemed unable or unwilling to.
I returned to work because, well, that’s what I’ve always done. I “left” the coins I found on the counter near my overcoat and the barkeep asked me about them, wondering where I got them and all sorts of things. I told him that I got it from the treasure that I heard folks last time talking about, he seemed impressed that I was able to find my own way there and open the chest. I played it off as not much work because I didn’t want to look like I had tried too too hard at it. I got back to mopping because someone spilled their ale.
The night/morning was winding down, and when I was just getting ready to head out the barkeep pulled me aside and said he had someone I should meet. I was mildly nervous, had I done something wrong, was I being “loaned” to someones crew, all sorts of unpleasant situations ran through my mind. Uh oh, it was one of the guys from the table that was talking about the treasure. He must want my coins back or “express” his anger at me for beating him to the chest!
Much to my surprise, that’s not how it went down at all. He was impressed to hear that I had made it there so quickly and didn’t seem too hung up on the fact that I too had opened the chest and taken a few coins. I was fairly shocked at how it wasn’t a big deal at all, what was important wast that I had figured out a better way to get there. He asked me to join he and a fellow sailor, as they were likely going to be looking to find more treasure and could use a guy like me aboard. I said sure because well let’s face it, who doesn’t like the appeal of treasure hunting? I figured that we’d be back in town every few days so I could keep up my appearances at the bar and would still have some spare time to take care of my personal business.
I reported to the dock the next morning not really sure what to expect. I was worried there might be a huge crew that wouldn’t really have a place for me or that I would be thrown overboard for not knowing enough to pull my own. Luckily, it was just my fears that got the worst of me. The “crew”, if you’d call it that, consisted of the Captain and his good friend the Chief Mate. I would be coming aboard as the Second Mate, though the traditional navigational duties would be handled to the Chief Mate while I got my bearings and sea legs.
The whole experience sat surprisingly well with me. I’m still fairly impressed at myself for being able to successfully find and open the chest by myself, but the initiative I took way back then paved the way for a number of exciting, unpleasant, educational, thrilling, or otherwise terrifying experiences.