Avast you lubbers

December 2, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a pirate story. It can be about pirates or piracy; modern or of yore. Swashbuckling, parrots and rum can be involved or maybe you’ll invent details beyond standard pirates.

2015-12-06 17.33.46

The Thompson Twins (with and without the ‘p’) .

This is the prompt from Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. And before we get to the flash I want you to indulge me (like you have a choice?). I think I may have indicated I have a small but recurring passion for the Adventures of Tintin by the Belgian cartoonist Hergé. In fact, if pushed to a fav, the boy reporter himself is not in my top five characters, being displaced by, in ascending order: Snowy, his dog; Professor Calculus; Thompson; his twin Thomson and, top of the pile, Captain Haddock.

Now Haddock’s finest hour is, undoubtedly, when he pursues the treasure hunted by his Ancestor Sir Francis Haddock who fought the Pirate, Red Rackham in a double header: The Secret of the Unicorn, followed by Red Rackham’s Treasure. Hence the piratical link.

2015-12-06 17.33.39

The Glorious Old Sea Dog, Captain Haddock

And why is Haddock top of the pile? Because, he is the most creative oath creator in literature (Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It was creative but rather R rated). He has his own thesaurus, here. Some may not be politically correct now (he has been swearing since the 1930s) but he does have a range…

Addle-pated lumps of anthracite

Arabian Nightmare

Bald-headed budgerigar

Bath-tub Admiral

Cachinnating cockatoo

Dunderheaded coconuts


Pithecanthropic montebanks

But his most famous (out of some 240 plus) has to be

Billions of bilious blue blistering barnacles in a thundering typhoon

Happy days!

And so to Mary North and the flash…

What’s the bigger crime?

‘Everybody does it.’ Penny’s face told of her fury.

‘Illegal downloads are a crime. It’s piracy…’

Penny made a ‘W’ sign and stormed out.

Later Mary knocked and entered Penny’s bedroom. ‘What is it? Come on, I know you.’

Penny avoided eye contact, shrugging. ‘Like you care what I do? I get you have to look after Charlotte but traipsing all the way to Ireland? What about me?’

Mary stroked her daughter’s foot, pleased she let her. ‘Ok but that doesn’t excuse theft…’

Penny snatched her foot away, tears forming. ‘She’s the thief, stealing you. Your sister’s the pirate.’

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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26 Responses to Avast you lubbers

  1. A lot of moral dilemma and huge back story packed into this. Tin Tin I’ve never liked. The whole BD thing washes over me. Except for Thorgall. Do you know Thorgall? Great stuff. Pure lunacy a lot of it, but it makes for wonderful stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ali Isaac says:

    I remember Tin Tin, although I never really got into it. Preferred Asterisk and Obelisk myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. willowdot21 says:

    Great post Geoff, loved the whole Tintin, yes I had already picked up that you liked the books… Loved the figures too!
    Excellent flash as well nice double twist!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Norah says:

    Lovely mixed bag of emotions and emotional piracy in your flash, Geoff. Poor Penny. She has had to put up with a lot. Now losing her mum to a “new” relative. Her piracy must seem petty in comparison. Great job.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. rogershipp says:

    Enjoyed the ‘double’ theft! Life can be so unfair- or seem that way- as relationships change.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was a word snob for a big part of my life and so missed out on the pleasures of picture/comic book reading …….. I still haven’t made it back to Tintin et al. The figurines are beautiful – and the whole thing is dust free and shiny which really impresses me 🙂 (Oh dear, I sound like an aged old school marm)

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      My son and I visited your wonderful country this time last year for a month (a daily post under the Kia ora label); I indulged my passion for all things Tintin and the Weta caves in Wellington where Peter Jackson has his studios and they made the movie.


  7. I like the figurines Geoff, I can just about remember Tin Tin with his quiffy hair, and little dog, and some bloke with a dramatic voice announcing it on TV. Loved the story, poor Penny having to share her Mum.


  8. noelleg44 says:

    Nice take on piracy!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Charli Mills says:

    Penny has been so inquisitive and wise through much of this adventure and now she’s feeling squeezed out of her Mum’s life.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Tintin is where I got my quiff from. Okay, it was many, many years ago. I even named a pet rabbit after Snowy. I’m more of a Captain Birdseye person, even though I now hate boats after what you did to poor old Mrs Pickwick! Can I ever forgive you? 🙂 I think I can, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Pirates on the Horizon « Carrot Ranch Communications

  12. Sherri says:

    Love Tin Tin, and your figurines, wonderful! Your flash too, I can relate to those feelings of piracy from another time..so often a deeper reason for an outburst it seems…

    Liked by 1 person

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