The seas were rough, the spirits were low and seagulls were annoying. How they made it so far out to see was beyond my comprehension, then again I was a meager captain of a sinking pirate ship. Thankfully, everything being literal except for the sinking part though it did feel like I was drowning.
This year, my fifth with Luna the ship and first as her captain, was the year 2020 and it was a relief to be quarantined at sea from the reports I’ve been hearing. If would go on at sea while the world was dealing with a scurvy like no other. It was just a shame I didn’t quite like the people aboard the ship.
There was Peg Leg O’Toole, he was alright, and did have both legs but he had shrimp for brains. He was my number two, chosen by me, as he was good for the ego and never questioned an order. It was still hard to tell if he actually understood them but what he lacked in intelligence he made up for in comedy. He was a hoot and entertained us all. The hardest worker aboard the ship, yes including me, but some tasks he did were unusual and useless. Like I asked him to wash the windows and found him hanging upside down on the outside of the ship scrubbing the outside. He saw me and asked if she should be using salt water or fresh. I pretended I didn’t hear him and let him continue.
Walking into the bunks I saw Sparrow Greedy with a bucket and a sponge waving to O’Toole while she cleaned the opposite side of the glass. It was like one of those sketch shows on television but of course, we didn’t have one of those out at sea. Technology didn’t yet allow for it.
Greedy was our most desirable in the crew in the way that she desired everyone and everything. She had a need for treasure as sure as I did. We were both quite determined to find something other than fish and tackle. “Thanks Sparrow,” I offered. “Sometimes I don’t know how he even found our ship.”
“It’s ok, I needed the distraction and it’s quite comical. He keeps talking to me but I can’t hear a thing. Well, except for his screams when the waves take him for a ride. Only he’s vomiting more on the windows than he’s cleaning. If it wasn’t for the carnival rides, his blood would be running straight to his head. I’ll pull him up when it does.”
“Good lady. I did want to talk to you though. About that treasure you heard of.”
As she scrubbed she told the tale. “The skeleton of Big Foot. I don’t have much to tell really but it was a legend passed down from my Pa, Ned Head Mad, I’m sure you’ve heard of him.
He told the biggest fish tales of anyone. One he told me he caught a mermaid and tried to convince me she was my mom. Only my mom can’t even swim so I know that can’t be true. Imagine, Captain, a mermaid not being able to swim? That’s worse than O’Toole here not being able to think. Uh oh, I lost him. Maybe I should go to deck – oh! No, there he is again and gone but he’ll be back. Look at that smile.”
“Oh yes, where was I?” She made her way to the next window while I sat on the edge of the bed and took out a map. “So he said there were bones of this, well, he called it Sasquatch, and he kept trying to dig it up but there were too many obstacles. He found it a challenge, you see, to get through a hurricane at sea and that hurricane truly was my mother. I heard stories of her, she was quite a tyrant and always asking to get on land and stay there. She loved my father so much but hated the sea even more. So she kept begging my Pa to dock but every time he did she just sat in the water. They were too scared of her drowning but she said the sand hurt her feet. So they would go back, you see. My father, you knew him – Creeper of Atlantis. Not sure why everyone was so scared of him but…”
“Sparrow!” I normally didn’t get so upset by her ramblings but she did need to get to the point so I knew where to steer the ship.
“Sorry, yes, so he landed on this island – CappaChino where she got off. It was the softest sand… oh, that’s for another time. So she actually stayed on land and the ship embarked but my father forced Pa to let him take one of the life rafts to go get her. They weren’t far and he was a good sailor and he just loved her so. So Pa told him to walk the plank into the life raft and go but he was continuing the journey. It was up to them to get back to the ship.
So my father, as he tells it, lands in the raft and paddles back in the direction they came from only he didn’t account for a wave to push him over too far west. He found another island, west of CappaChino but mom wasn’t there of course.”
“So is the skeleton on CappaChino or this other island? We’re close to both.” My patience was running out and so was my trust in Sparrow. The room went darker and we both looked to see O’Toole screaming and pointing like he was going mad. We both ran up to the deck and looked over. He was still pointing and finally I looked to see that we were, in fact, getting much too close to land. I took over at the wheel and dropped anchor real quick, narrowly missing O’Toole as he was being brought back to deck.
“There it is, CappaChino,” Sparrow said in awe.
“How do you know for sure?” I joined her trusting the ship would stop.
“My mom’s there, waving!”
“She’s still there? What happened with your dad?”
“So now you want the tale. Well, he couldn’t find her on that other island so sailed his way back to the ship. It was stormy that day, he didn’t see my mom waving at him. He thought she had drown and moved on but…”
“But you’re here so they must have…” I was caught up now, enraptured in this ridiculous story but not understanding how Sparrow could be here if. “Was she already pregnant?”
“Indeed she was, Captain. He had no idea, of course. They didn’t have those tests on the ship and everyone was sick morning to night. He wasn’t a bad man.”
So Pa did his route and then came back this way. By then father was gone, went to another ship and another lady but his stories were still being told. Pa stopped at CappaChino and found my mum with me. She refused to leave but gave me up to the crew, knowing they would take better care of me. She was the one who found the skeleton and realized she wanted to be an archeologist more than a sailor. She loved exploring under the sea and taught herself how to swim. She said it did feel odd having to kick her feet separately but learned to synchronize them to push her through. And her ability to hold her breath was impressive!”
“So CappaChino and your mother is there and knows where this skeleton is?” I was already preparing the life raft and getting ready to walk the plank. “You coming?”
“Oh yes. Won’t she be surprised?”
O’Toole came aboard the life raft too and I put Old O’Malley, former captain in charge. I was going to find this treasure!
The journey to dry land wasn’t a long one and O’Toole and I hoisted our raft into safety while Sparrow reunited with her mother. All the while it felt like we were being watched but we figured it was the remainder of our crew and paid them no mind.
“Miss of Atlantis, so nice to finally make your acquaintance. Your daughter is one of my best mates.” She seemed skeptical, maybe it was the hint of sarcasm I could never quite disguise but she seemed to eye me like I meant mate as bedmate. “Sparrow has told me quite a tale and I wondered if you could show me some evidence.”
“I sure can,” as she said it she ran for the water and dove in just like a dolphin would, her feet seeming to merge into one large tail. She was deep underwater for much too long and I wondered if she had drown but then up she came again. “Aren’t I magnificent?” She was looking to her daughter who stood with her mouth open.
“Oh yes, Miss. That was a feat for sure but what I really wanted to know was about the bones you’ve found. I heard you uncovered a Big Foot burial ground?”
“I did but it is not to be disturbed. I made a promise.”
This was ridiculous, she was all alone and had no one to promise a thing to. Before I could ask who would mind the world darkened but I knew it wasn’t a day for a solar eclipse. Looking up, way up, I was startled to see a living Sasquatch looking down on me. “She promised me,” it said.
That was when I fainted and when I came to Sparrow decided I would no longer be Captain of the Coast but Captain Big Squatch. I had found my treasure and promised to never mark the island on the map or tell a soul.