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Sailing with Charlie: Peg Legs

Graphics by Hannah Welch
Graphics by Hannah Welch

Charlie’s a bit of a history buff and recently he researched the history of the Caribbean island of Dagadavita. Apparently, sometime in the mid 19th century, an enterprising shipwrecked mariner started a shoe making business to help the barefooted population (and to make a ton of money, of course). Unfortunately his business failed because so many of the inhabitants were peg legged pirates, could only use one boot, and naturally they wanted 50% off. The dejected entrepreneur became known as Dudboot.

Now Dudboot had a brother called Deadbeat. He would idle away his days at the local rum shop telling lies to tourists and accepting free drinks whenever possible. Then one day the rum ran out and this gave Deadbeat the inspiration he needed to try making his own liquor. With the help of his unemployed brother Dudboot, he set up a still and after several months of experimentation came up with a recipe for a powerful potion that included cactus juice, conch jelly, secretions from a rare iguana and other carefully guarded secret ingredients. Dudboot then had the dubious honor of being the guinea pig and soon it became obvious that the clear distilled liquid had seemingly magical properties. After only three cupfuls Dudboot was seen singing a bawdy sea shanty while carrying an overweight, unwashed trollop into his shack. Dudboot emerged some three hours later exclaiming to Deadbeat, “That stuff is magic! It turns an overweight, unwashed trollop into a raging beauty. I think we’re onto a winner. What shall we call it?”

“Well,” said Deadbeat, “it looks like vodka and it turns toothless, bedraggled harlots into beautiful maidens, so how about Belle Fille, French for beautiful girl?”

And so it was. They changed the spelling to Bellfee so as not to upset any Americans and Bellfee Vodka became an overnight success. But it wasn’t until some nine months later that a new and interesting side effect came to light. Overweight and unwashed trollops island-wide were giving birth to peg legged babies, provided that the father was so inflicted, of course. This amazing gene muddle was attributed to conch karma whereby conchs at one time had two feet but now had only one. Apparently a washed up pirate had built an outhouse over a conch bed and two footed conchs mutated to one footed ones. For those interested in science the conch foot is called an operculum.

Dudboot again took up the entrepreneurial challenge and became quite successful manufacturing pairs of boots specially designed for peg legged pirates; one for the foot and one for the peg. Deadbeat became very rich but died suddenly whilst signing his 246th franchise for Bellfee Vodka.

Isn’t history wonderful!

Julian Putley is the author of ‘The Drinking Man’s Guide to the BVI’, ‘Sunfun Calypso’, and ‘Sunfun Gospel’.

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