Haywood and Merle sat on their deckchairs, watching the men around them keep the ship sailing. Left and right, fore and aft, scruffy, hard-eyed men toiled away while the two sat in luxury, giving the occasional glare when someone looked rebellious.
“When you get right down to it,” Haywood said, “I think I’d had enough of pirating.”
“Enough of pirating?” Merle sat up, surprised. “How could you say such a thing?”
“Well, just the artifice of it, you know? The ‘yarghs’, the ‘mateys’, the pillaging. I mean I know we’re mostly robbing from the already rich, but we’ve stolen from more than a few deserving folks as well. And for what? So we can sail around and drink crappy beer and catch diseases from prostitutes?”
“Hey, you don’t know. A little discharge does not Chlamydia make.”
“You’ve said that for a month now, Merle. You need to get that looked at.”
Merle sighed. “You’re right. Next port, I’ll try to find a doctor.”
“And that’s another thing. No regular health care on ship. Everyone just drinks they’re troubles away. I tell you, Merle, I think at least half our crew has a drinking problem, and the other half is depressed.”
“Haywood. Captain. These are pirates. They think it’s their job to have a drinking problem. Besides, we don’t exactly have easy access to fresh water.”
“True. But still. It would be nice to have a regular shower. To not feel so dirty all the time. To know that if I get a cut, it’s not likely to turn gangrenous. I’ve lost two fingers and my whole damn right foot! And this peg is itchy as hell.”
A boom interrupted Merle’s reply. A man with an eyepatch – that switched the eye it covered every other day – came running up and said, “Yargh, captain, we be nearin’ the Yanks’ gold ship.”
Haywood gave a sidelong glance to Merle, then pushed himself to his feet. “Yargh, then make haste, mateys! Arm the cannons and hoist the jib! There’s plunder to be had!” The eyepatched man hurried off, and Haywood turned to his first mate. “We’ll continue this discussion later.”
Merle nodded and took off to ready the men for battle.