I was doing a little gardening, ripping weeds by the handful and heaving the lot of them into the woods when the cast iron stock pot I was using to store them got too full. But, on one such trip, I lost my grip on the pot (those suckers are heavy, yo) and threw it into the forest after the weeds.
The pot soared through the air, picking up speed as it went, until gravity finally claimed it and it sank into the brush.
I was still blinking after it, trying to figure out where it had gone, when the pirate exploded up through the bushes, holding the pot in his hand and cursing a blue streak.
Seeing me, he snarled. “Is this yours?”
I just gaped at him, mouth opening and closing like a fish dying on the beach.
“I said, is this yours,” he roared.
“Ummm, well, yeah, but I didn’t mean to…I mean I didn’t know…I mean…”
“Well, that’s rather rude, don’t you think? Wrenching a pirate from his well-deserved rest like that?”
At that, my mouth closed with a snap. He sure didn’t look like any of the pictures of pirates I had ever seen. “You mean panhandler, right?”
“NO! I mean pirate! I sail the high seas, pillaging ships and plundering villages!”
“Dude, you’re in Indiana.”
“I know that. I was sailing through the Great Lakes, looking for new territory to conquer, when my ship ran afoul of an oil well and sank to the bottom of that inland sea.”
“Hmmm. Surprised I didn’t hear about that one on the news.”
“It was a dark, moonless night. No one was about. And I am the only one who survived,” he said, sweeping his plumed hat off his brow and resting it over his heart sorrowfully.
“Okay, fine. But that doesn’t explain what you’re doing in my woods.”
“I’m making my way to the naval base, where I shall endeavor to steal a ship and return to my beloved ocean.”
“You mean Crane? I hate to disappoint you, but I think they just make weapons and stuff. Even if you did find a ship, you’d have no way to get it to the ocean. We’re in Indiana.”
“You mean there’s no ocean-going channel?”
“Not unless it’s super secret…and invisible.”
“Damn. I will have to think of another plan then.” He fell silent for a moment, stroking his beard as he gazed off into the distance. Suddenly, he looked sharply at me. “Do you know how to fly a helicopter?”
“What? No. I can drive a stick shift, but not anything that flies.”
“That’s too bad. I was hoping you could be useful. I guess you’ll just have to die,” he said, brandishing a sword at me.
“Are you insane? I’m going to call the police,” I yelled, scrambling backwards.
“Not if I kill you first!”
I ran toward the house, chucking Tori’s lawn toys at him as I went. Her lawn mower landed and he howled in pain.
“That’s twice! You’ll pay for that!
He gained on me, and I could feel his breath on my neck as I leaped over her kiddie pool. He, of course, didn’t see it and tripped, pulling my ankle out from under me as he fell.
I hit the ground hard, cracking my chin on a mouth on a rock. Not stopping to acknowledge the pain, I scrambled inside the house, slamming the door behind me and throwing the lock before I paused to look outside.
And when I did? I saw the pirate lying strangely still, face first in the stale pool of water.
Hands shaking, I picked up the phone and dialed.
“Ummmm, yeah. You’re not going to believe this, but I think there’s a drowned pirate in my backyard.”
And that’s how I ended up with this: