Just a week ago Charlie had been hired to be ‘Pirate in Chief’ for a sailing flotilla organized by ‘Offshore Sailing School’ to cruise the islands of the BVI searching for treasure. There would be clues: messages in bottles, treasure maps, skeletons, all finally leading to a treasure chest. In the evenings there would be grog sessions discussing tactics for the morrow.
“The whole pantomime is in your hands, Charlie,” said the manager. “Handle it how you like – just make sure they all have a good time. You’ll have to meet and greet your fellow ‘pirates’ when they arrive off the plane this evening between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. The meeting place will be at the pool bar so be recognizable. Show them their boats and then take them to a grub and grog shop to get them in the mood.”
I put on full pirate regalia complete with parrot and headed down to the pool bar. There were tourists everywhere – some in designer swimsuits; some in city clothes, ready to head back home; others – new arrivals, white and travel weary. Flower-shirted wait staff flitted around with trays of tropical cocktails. When I walked in I got a chuckle or two and a few stares – what the hell, I figured I was incognito.
After a couple of beers I was beginning to wonder what had happened to my ‘accomplices’ when a young woman walked over and said timidly, “Excuse me, do you happen to know where the Offshore Sailing School representative is for the pirate cruise”? I sat there agape for several seconds. Wasn’t it obvious? Was my outfit that poor?
“Madam,” I said, “You have just stumbled upon the very person you are looking for.” Finally everyone arrived and after a couple of rounds we were all laughing at the incident. Her husband said that if I boarded their boat at three in the morning, clambered below with pistol in one hand and knife between my teeth, she would likely say, “Excuse me, but we didn’t order room service.”
Minutes later we were heading down the dock towards their boats when a lady from a newly-arrived couple came running up to me, “Can I have my picture taken with you?” she cooed, “I especially love the feet.” I was barefoot of course and I looked down – my big toenail was black from an accident with a rock; I had a couple of wounds from a recent hike and one was red and suppurating a bit. There were numerous scars. Next time, I thought, I won’t bother dressing up. I must be a natural.