Issue #7: The Pirate Issue (Autumn 2007)
Guest-edited by John Joseph Adams, this special themed issue contains ten swashbuckling stories, our interview with the creator of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and is illustrated throughout by James Owen. Avast! Featuring stories by Jeremy Tolbert, James L. Cambias, and Marissa K. Lingen.
John Joseph Adams was invited by the editors at Shimmer to be the editor, and his skills at choosing good stories that have plots, characters, and are under 5000 words shows through. –Grasping for the Wind.
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Table of Contents
The Sweet Realm by Jill Snider Lum
The inlet shoreline beside the sloop Pearl tilted to an unnatural angle, and Edward Teach began to feel strangely detached from himself. Oddly, as though he dreamt, he saw the Navy lieutenant turning over a dead body that lay on the deck, and recognized the body as his own.
“Round up the rest of these damned freebooters,” the lieutenant said to a passing ensign. “They’ll come easy now that Blackbeard’s gone.”
“Most of them will,” Teach said. “They’re easy to sway, the snot-brained apes.” But no one heard him, and it didn’t seem important just now. He turned his glance from the retreating ensign and watched the lieutenant examine the blood-soaked body on the deck.
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Captain Blood’s B00ty by Jeremiah Tolbert
Captain Blood, ‘leet most high of the Mystical Order of the Buccaneers, was dead. Or so said a daemon-posted blog post on his hidden website at 4:42 PM. And whether it was true or just some hacker hoax, it was major bad news either way. Either he was dead, and that sucked, or our enemies had cracked his defenses and wanted everyone to believe he was dead.
I logged in to my desktop and checked the status of my firewall sprogs—all clear—then started hitting the tracker sites looking for weapons. One of the Swedish-scene cabals had uploaded a Truename-enabled summoning sprog for a daemon from the Malleficus, so I jumped on the torrent and watched it trickle down to my hard drive. I tried connecting to my cabal’s IM server to see what our plan was, but the server timed out.
A Hand for Each by J. Kathleen Cheney
I dreamed of screaming. I came to, pinned on the deck in darkness and sheeting rain, the ship rolling under heavy seas. I could only see heavenward, rain splattering to occlude my vision, so I could not tell what had befallen my shipmates. I heard not a single voice calling for action on the deck.
I could scarcely breathe for the weight on my chest. Cooky’s body had been my saving grace, for though in death he pinned me to that spot, his blubber had shielded me from the eyes of the islanders. The smell of his emptied bowels sickened me and I strove to push his body off me. I waited until a swell pitched the ship to larboard and used that momentum to aid my efforts.
The Blackguard of God by Melinda Selmys
“Father, forgive me, for I have sinned. It be a week since me last confession, and in that time I lardered three o’ the finest ships on the brine, plundered their holds, and put to the sword all who wouldn’t join me crew. I took me troll to a village on the sea, and I confess it, Father, I availed meself o’ the female company—they were mostly willing, this time, Father, and none of them virgins, that I can attest. I blackened the name o’ God ’till me lips were blue as the billows, and sacked a fleet on Sunday, right as you was raising up the Host. I put t’shame all me mother’s tears, and me father’s ghost be uprooted from the grave. I ’scripted me soul to the devil for a turn in the wind. I sold an innocent to the slaughterers to ’scape the hangman’s necklace, and I believe I might’ve eyed me brother’s daddle o’ podge to see if he’d got a better bit o’ meat.”
“You missed one,” said the priest.
Come to the Islands by Mikal Trimm
Erik found the coin at water’s edge as he drifted down the beach in Tobago. He should’ve been back at the hostel with his wife and their friends, sipping sweet cane-sugar-and-rum-laced coffee while listening to the night-black men practicing on their steel drums in the distance, and making comments about the natives—you realize it took me two days to figure out they’re speaking English here? God, could there be any more rotting fruit on this island? What the hell meat did they serve us this morning, and what’s with the blue potatoes?
Instead, he’d found himself awake with the first hints of dawn, his headache from the previous night’s overindulgence still ricocheting between the fast-eroding walls of his skull. Maybe a walk will help, and he’d grabbed at that ridiculous thought like a man walking the plank and hoping the sword at his back turned out to be cardboard.
An Inconvenient Pirate: Interview with the Founder of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster by Jen West
Wearing full pirate regalia while sailing the high seas could reduce the effects of global warming, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Or so the followers of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster believe.
The Barbary Shore by James L. Cambias
David Arnold sat in a king-sized hotel bed and watched for his next prize. As “Captain Black” the space pirate he had five fan sites on the Web and at least as many highly secure law enforcement sites devoted to tracking him. He was twenty-six years old and the absolute gold-anodized titanium pinnacle of the techno-badass pyramid.
On his laptop screen he saw a tiny bright dot rising above Mare Smythii: a booster carrying four tons of helium-3. A treasure ship, worth two billion dollars on the spot market. It was a Westinghouse cargo from the American base at Babcock, on course for the Micronesia drop zone. “Ship ho, me hearties,” David said.
Pirates by Adeline Thromb Age 8 by Marissa K. Lingen
Pirates are offten found in the South China Seas, the Spanish Maine, the Caribbean, and other places more interesting than Wisconsin.
They might show up anywhere though. You never know.
REALLY YOU DON’T EVEN THOUGH SOME PEOPLE SAY THEY NEVER EVER COME HERE THOSE PEOPLE ARE WRONG
The Furies by Rajan Khanna
The Furies came upon us in the light of a clear morning.
We were out of Tortuga, heading west with a good wind, our stomachs full for the time being, our eyes eager for any prize. The Mandrake was riding low in the water, heavy with loot. To be truthful, we were feeling a bit proud of ourselves, from the captain down to the lowliest deck hand.
She came in like a whisper of silk. I didn’t know her then, but the Harpy was aptly named, a fierce, predatory ship. Upon her prow was no maiden of the sea, but a demon succubus, crowned with horns above a cruel, fanged mouth. Gazing upon it, I felt that she would devour us, swallowing us into some hellfire abyss.
The Perfect Hook by Justine Graykin
At first she thought it must be the actor from the play, taking a stroll between acts. But it wasn’t. The actor in the play was adequate. The character who stood before her was tall and grand and absolutely perfect. From his plumed hat to his cuffed, polished black boots; the scarlet coat trimmed with gold braid and brass buttons to the white lace cuffs of his shirt hanging from the sleeves; the black leather belt with the sword hanging from it to his face with the wickedly arched black brows, curling mustache and neat black beard, and the long, glossy, sable curls of his hair. And of course, from the end of his right arm, that shining curve of silver.
“Captain Hook,” she breathed.
“At your service,” he replied with a gallant bow, sweeping off his hat. His long curls nearly touched the flagstones.
Hard Times for Bartleby Crow by Grant Stone
Bartleby Crow ran his tongue over his lips and grimaced. One of his teeth had been chipped, probably when that jailer son-of-a-bitch had thrown him down the stairs. At least it didn’t hurt as much as his right wrist. Manacles held him tightly and the skin beneath was already rubbed raw. When they’d chained him here, he’d groaned. Not because of pain, but simply because it was so predictable.
“Please tell me this is some kind of joke,” he’d said, “you cannot mean to imprison me here. This isn’t a prison, it’s a pantomime set. Should I change into my striped pajamas, or will you see to that later?” The jailer, whose tongue had been removed several years earlier following an ill-judged remark about the emir’s wife, made no reply.