|A Tale From The One-Handed Thief
||[Jan. 27th, 2004|06:02 pm]
OK, hope this works...with any luck, click on the thingmajig and you get my story. Apparently it's the first one which is rather daunting.|
Commodore James Norrington was sitting in Port Royal’s most disreputable bar. In actual fact, it was Port Royal’s only disreputable bar. This was because, situated as it was in the immediate vicinity of a fort-load of Navy boys, the inhabitants of the port tended towards the law-abiding. However, as most of the area’s small, select, more crooked community would tell you, reputable drinking establishments are no fun at all. So, as it were, you could say that all the criminal mindedness of Port Royal was concentrated in the one bar.
Then what, you may very well ask, was such a fine upstanding member of the public as Commodore Norrington doing there? He was drowning his sorrows and he didn’t want anyone to see him do it, that’s what. Or as he would have put it at that precise moment, ‘None of your bloody business.’ What he was currently drowning his sorrows in was rather poor quality beer; any less persistent sorrows would probably have given up and died of liver poisoning long ago. With an absence of powdered wig showing cropped brown hair, and the smart red uniform replaced with worn civilian clothes, most of James Norrington’s fellow officers would have been hard put to recognise him.
However, a certain man sitting in a shadowy corner of The One-Handed Thief had sharper eyes and a better memory for faces than they did. Golden teeth made a brief appearance in the gloom as the man smiled, and booted feet made their way across the less than clean floor as their owner went to sit next to the sullen Commodore.
‘James Norrington. It is James, isn’t it? Whatever are you doing here?’ Norrington’s head swivelled to stare blearily at the man beside him, but the features of the strange man who knew his name were indistinguishable under a dark hood.
‘Who’re you?’ Norrington managed.
‘Ah now, don’t say you don’t remember me.’
‘Don’t remember you. Can’t see your face. And in answer to your prev…prev…earlier question, ‘m getting drunk.’ The hooded man eyed the contents of the tankard sat on the counter.
‘Well, you won’t get too far on that stuff.’ Jack Sparrow (for it was he- don’t say you hadn’t guessed) nodded to the barman. ‘The liquor for the two of us, Charlie.’
‘The liquor’ was a local drink made from distilled palm sap, known also as treewhisky, Devil’s Sip and knockback brew. An odd thing to make a drink from, it’s been said, but the owners of the discreet containers it came from held religiously to the maxim that anything can be distilled if you try hard enough.
It arrived now in two very small glasses, clear liquid of a rich dark brown. Norrington sighed wearily.
‘Well no wonder ‘m not drunk enough yet,’ he said. ‘If they’re going to serve me drink in such tiny tiny glasses.’ He picked up the liquor and drank it in one go. Jack curled slim fingers around his own glass and watched with an expression of good-natured interest. But didn’t drink his own.
Five minutes later, a military marching band jumped on Norrington’s head and beat him vigorously about the temples with their trumpets. Or at least that’s what it felt like. Jack, who was actually quite impressed that the Commodore was still conscious, got him out of the tavern by a combination of manhandling and poking and sat him down on the ground in a small street outside.
‘And how is Miss- I do beg her pardon, Mrs Turner, these days?’ Jack said in a seemingly off-topic way. Norrington went still at the mention of the name. ‘Lovely wedding this afternoon, weren’t it?’
‘Jus’ who are you, anyway?’ demanded Norrington belligerently.
‘I’m an old acquaintance of hers. And the boy, of course. Near broke my heart to see a promising lad like that tied down at so young an age.’
‘I know…I know what you’re trying to say, you know. Not true. Would have been a convenience marriage only. I’m not upset about it. ‘M not.’
‘Course not. Fine girl, though.’
‘Mm.’ They sat in silence for a few minutes, until Jack, as he had done to so many other things in his life, broke it.
‘She would have married you, you know. If you hadn’t said she didn’t have to.’
Norrington was not an emotional man, and he spoke sparingly, as if each sentence had a fee. But this evening, either the liquor, the man beside him or the day’s events had caused his words to flow more freely than normal.
‘I know. But Elizabeth…I’ve known her a long time, and she’s always been a- a- free sort of person.’
‘And I couldn’t keep her in a cage.’
‘Aye. Like I couldn’t drag young William off to adventure and pirates on the high sea, however far and few between good shipmates might be, when he needs to stay home with his fair maiden. Peas in a bloody pod, us.’
‘My head hurts.’
‘You don’t say.’
‘That’s you Sparrow, isn’t it?’
‘If I weren’t entirely sure I’d fall over if I tried to stand up, I’d arrest you, you know.’
‘Sure you would.’
Norrington stood up. And fell over. Jack looked at him and tutted disapprovingly. The prone man beside him was obviously going to be out for a good few hours. Still, he had given him something to think about. And wasn’t that always what Jack Sparrow set out to do?