Captain Zane stood at the bow of his beautiful ship triumphantly named The Great White. The magnificent schooner had been named for its glorious white sails, but it also happened to be Captain Zane's favorite animal. The seas were calm today, which was good news. The crew had been plundering for many months and Captain Zane was eager to return to shore with their sizeable haul of treasure. The captain looked off into the distance, eagerly awaiting his first sight of land. Instead, he saw something he hoped he would never see again.
Their journey hadn’t been without peril, and the seas contained many dangerous foes. Not only competing pirates looking to add to their treasure hordes but also creatures of legend. One such legend was bobbing ominously on the horizon. It was The Yellow Duck of Doom. Captain Zane turned to his men, "Look alive ye’ scallywags!” he shouted. “We’ve got trouble on the horizon!” Captain Zane used one hand to hold his tricorn hat in place as he descended the steps leading from the bow and made his way to the helm.
“What are your orders?” the coxswain asked the captain. "No more shall we run from this beast," Captain Zane said defiantly. “Raise the sails, full speed ahead!" The crew cheered as they made ready for a final battle against an enemy that had harassed them since the start of their campaign.
The schooner cut through the water effortlessly leaving a rolling wake behind it. The Yellow Duck of Doom dwarfed the ship and its crew. The closer they got to the towering sea monster the less confident the men became, but Captain Zane led them in a ferocious cheer of defiance. “Ready the cannons and standby to turn hard to port!” Captain Zane shouted to his men. The Great White was outfitted with 10 cannons total; 4 fixed to either side of the ship, one mounted on the bow as its chaser gun, and another on its stern. “Deploy the cannons and make ready to fire on the starboard side!” ordered the captain. “Agrr!" replied his crew in compliance. The men deployed the retracted cannons, loaded them, and awaited the order to fire.
Captain Zane allowed his ship to get as close as he dared before shouting to his coxswain, “Turn to port!” The helmsman turned The Great White hard, and the ship rolled from the abrupt motion. At first, it seemed as though Captain Zane waited too long to give the order. The rudder strained as it turned against the unforgiving sea. The eyes of the monstrous duck looked menacingly down at the ship. Its giant beak opened and let loose a stream of water that sent unlucky crew members sliding across the deck. The Great White finally leveled out as it began to pass the Yellow Duck of Doom on its starboard side. “Fire!” commanded the captain.
In unison, the cannons fired with thunderous bangs. Every shot hit its mark, wounding the beast. The crew cheered as they loaded their cannons for another pass, but Captain Zane was ready to end this right now. He took control of the rear-facing gun as The Great White started to come around. The creature was in his sights and well within range. The captain fired and landed a perfectly aimed shot on the forehead of the mythical duck. That was all that it took. In a great cry of pain and anguish, the Yellow Duck of Doom began to tip over, slowly at first but quicker as its center of gravity changed. In seconds the beast that had tormented them for so long was defeated, floating upside down in the water. The cheer from the crew was deafening. Once again, the captain had proven his bravery and earned the trust and respect of his men.
Captain Zane laid a strong hand on the shoulder of the helmsman. "Great job," he told him, pride beaming in his voice. “Avast me hearties!” Captain Zane boomed over his men. “We’ve been waitin’ on this day ‘fer a long time. No longer do we need fear the curse of that yellow scallywag!” The crew cheered. “The Great White,” continued the captain, “runs from no fight!” Another roar broke out among the crew and suddenly the ship heaved violently. A scaled creature longer than the ship itself roared out of the water, crashing into the bow of the vessel. It was the most feared sea monster of all, Gatorsaurus.
Gatorsaurus stretched over 15 fathoms long and its entire body was covered in thick, leathery scales. It had short arms and legs, yet each claw was easily the length of a man’s forearm. The beast’s head tapered to a narrow snout, and its fangs were each the size of a child. Gatorsaurus also had a long, thick tail that was covered in hideous spikes. Sailors have told stories about that tail breaching a hull with just one swing. Captain Zane knew they were in trouble.
They had been fortunate enough to avoid this monster throughout their voyages, but it appeared their luck had finally run out. “Ready the cannons!” shouted the coxswain.
“Belay that order!” Responded the captain. "Draw in the cannons, full sails!"
“Sir,” said the coxswain confused. “I thought The Great White ran from no fight?”
"You just worry about the wheel unless you want us all to be sleeping with Davy Jones tonight."
The crew did as they were ordered and set out full speed ahead. The masts creaked as the wind pushed them towards their max. Behind them, the head of Gatorsaurus was just above the surface and closing. Captain Zane knew that the cannons were useless against such a creature, and their only hope was to make it to shallow waters. “Sir!” came a cry from his lookout. “Whirlpool ahead!" A hopeless situation just became much worse.
Captain Zane pulled the ornate spyglass from inside his doublet and looked ahead. The water in front of them had seemed to form into a swirling cyclone, sucking down anything that dared get too close. He turned and saw Gatorsaurus, still closing in fast. "Keep us to the high side of that whirlpool mate,” Captain Zane told his helmsman in as cool of a manner as he could muster. “With any luck, it will take care of Gatorsaurus as we escape.
They kept the whirlpool on their port side as they approached. The beast was right on their stern, close enough that it began opening its enormous jaws, preparing for the killing blow. "Hold 'er steady!" Captain Zane yelled as he felt the force of the whirlpool pulling them in. "I can't hold it!" shouted the helmsman in desperation. Captain Zane laid on the wheel with all his weight as he heard the roar of the monster behind them.
In an instant, Captain Zane was lifted from the bathtub by his mother. She wrapped him in a towel and kissed him on his forehead. Gatorsaurus would have to wait for another night. Right now, it was time for bed.