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A Rat's Tale about Captain Blackguts

 

        

First Draft, 9/27/2001

            “Ah, such a marvelous morning!” was what I told myself, “I really do wish mum could have been present.” It really was a wonderfully splendid morning that day, the only problem that mum had eaten some rat poison and couldn’t tag along. I had awoken that morning to find the sun beaming through my window and cheerfully greeting me with a “Hullo there, Harold!” In fact, it was so miraculous that I had decided to take a slow stroll down to the wharf, perhaps meet a few new friends, which I had plenty of. It’s just that I kept losing contact with them. Oh my, such dilly dally, anyways, I leisurely took my stroll down to the harbor, jumping from one flagstone to the next while always carefully avoiding the puddles and enjoying the salty breeze. The calls of the sea birds sounded like music with the occasional whisper of the waves crashing into the surf. I have always enjoyed the area around here; normally I walk up to an anchor that solemnly sits right before the drop to the green calm water from the wharf. By Jove, there was quite a nice sight by my favorite anchor during that moment. A huge war galleon had sailed in and its white sails fluttered, moving like the clouds, and coloured like the presents the seagulls often leave plastered on the houses and the harbor. I decided to close my eyes and imagine what it would be like to sail on one of those magnificent ships. The wooden planks on the wharf moved with the waves and with the salty air seething through my fur I could feel myself shouting orders to the crew. They would call me Admiral Harold, yes! Sounds quite nice, doesn’t it? However, my dream was shattered when I took a step backwards and quite accidentally bumped into something that let out a shriek and took a tumble into a tangled heap behind me. This was rather upsetting for myself; imagine a gentleman of good breeding being rude! I quickly started to apologize, “Oh, I’m dreadfully sorry, old chap! Here, let me help you up. Why, would you like to come have a cup of tea at my house?”

            “Bah, get lost ye scallywag.” He growled, picking himself up with a slight difficulty he then rotated around on his peg leg and left before me. Now he was a quite interesting fellow, also very miraculous as well because of his outlandish fashion. With these excellent qualities I quickly decided then that this charming old bloke would be my next friend! His appearance was quite odd as well, for some reason his right eye had a black patch over it and when he walked his peg leg emitted a soft shuffle, clunk, shuffle, clunk sound as it scrapped across the wooden floor. Reminds me of one of those rat corsairs my mum always talked about, but I took no notice at the time. It was then that I tried to start another conversation with him by giving him my regards and asking him for forgiveness when his charismatic behavior took hold of him again.

            “What do ye want you flea-bitten cur of a rat?” he screamed at me twirling around on his wooden leg with a ragged scraping sound.

Of course my etiquette quickly took hold of his kindness and I replied, “Pardon? I just wanted to know your name, sir, and if you would fancy coming over for tea. My name is Harold and I’m actually quite sorry for my act of clumsiness.”

            “Argh, me name is Captain Blackguts and go away before I feed your hide to the fishes!” And with that he twirled around once more and set off at a faster pace down the wooden plank steps and towards the dock. This is usually the same treatment I always get when trying to make new friends. Sadly, this just made him hard to befriend. I’ve never gotten a friend easily. Anyway, isn’t it that most friends can often start off as enemies? Blimey, it was then that I decided to start an even better conversation to increase the bonds of this growing friendship.

            “Nice weather here, wot?” I managed to squeeze in between my fast strides to cover the growing distance between us. Twisting around he squinted at me from his good eye.

            “Are all ye landlubbers this annoying? Or is it you? Do ye live here?” he grumbled loudly, now leering at me.

            “Oh yes! This is where I was brought up with my dear old mum!” I am very pleased with my mum, and I love her dearly. But before I could continue with my speech he decided to retort, “Argh, haven’t ye got anyone else to bug?”

            “Of course, my sister once lived with my mum and I but she has moved out a few years back. I don’t know why still. She never did like me too much; she always called me annoying or something of that sort. Mum always likes to talk to me,” I pointed towards the direction of my home, “she’s somewhere over there, that’s where we live in the basement of an old house. Anyway, perhaps you would like to join us for a cup of tea? My mother always comes up with the best conversations over cheese as well as the latest fashions that are present in—Hello? Mr. Blackguts?” It was at that moment that I noticed an old peg-legged rat jump into a small red matchbox and steadily row towards the horizon over the calm green ocean. Oh well, another friend lost. I spent the rest of the morning searching for another potential friend. If only they wouldn’t always run off.

 

 

The next morning I awoke to a quite astonishingly contrasting view. The sky was thundering down with rain and the air was filled with that odd stench of moisture. Peering through fogged window I joyously decided to grab my raincoat and scurry off to the wharf once again, stomping in puddles is fun! Then vanishing out my door I strolled down the paved street whistling the wondrous tune God Save the Queen. I was then suddenly disturbed by a hearty laugh that seemed to have originated from the tavern across the street. Squinting through the sheets of rain that waved before me I read the sign that hung above the hole. “The Laughing Pirate,” I whispered aloud, as if I was a bit tipsy, and joyously started towards it. Pushing aside the doors I was greeted with a fine warm air and a burning fire upon a stone heath that roasted a duck on the far right. To my left sat a huge bunch of outlandish rats along with my old chump Mr. Blackguts. It seems that he had bought a new coat and was having the best time of his life. The entire area was covered in grog as other piles of rodents slapped each other on the back and shouted hearty curses at one another. Of course Mr. Blackguts would so kindly introduce myself to all his bloke pals? I approached quietly and joined in with their mirth. That got their attention all right; they all stopped and glared at me.

“Eh, Blackguts, is this one of yer stout sea mice?” spat a fat old vole, grinning at me.

Cringing the Captain twirled around in his seat and gasped in horror when he saw me. “Garh! Shiver me timbers, it’s that sea-cow freak!” he screamed and then promptly fell out of his chair.

“Hello old chap!” I smiled and shook his hand. “Is this where you live?”

One of Mr. Blackguts’ friends chuckled evilly. “Hehe, why don’t you introduce us to your old chap, Gutsy?”

“No! No,” he screamed, turning red and standing once more. I guess that he was going to make it more mysterious before he made my presentation public. Kind sort of chap, don’t you think?

Hehe, come on ol’ Blackguts” said a toothless cat and gave a jolly wallop on Mr. Blackguts’ back.

“He’s not me friend or shipmate” he moaned loudly. By god, now that was not to kind of him, but it’s adding to the suspense so I was glad! “The fish-gut just some bird-bladder that ran into me yesterday!”

I decided to cheer up the atmosphere with some good humor, splendid eh? “What do you get when you throw a new hook and an itch at a pirate?” The entire company stared at me as if I were the most insane person in the entire world. “A pirate with an eye patch!” I gaffed loudly, “You get it? Because the pirate scratched his eye with the hook.”

All of them glared at me with their one eye.