Captain Weatherspoon reached the deck just as the Fair Wind entered the fog bank…that Blood Red fog bank. Yelling to the helmsman as he emerged from below “Hard a lee Mr. Drum! Put the wind to her back and lets see if we can run clear of this bewitching fog!" Mr. Drum spun the wheel and the ship heeled hard to port as the Masts and rigging protested the violent change.
By now the seas had risen to a hard boil, indeed we were running with 12 to 18 foot seas. Riding the waves as we struggled not to be washed astern the Captain had to judge carefully any change we would make from this point forward. The seaman in the rigging started to wail in a panic over some apparition as yet unseen by us below. “What see ye?” the Captain called aloft, but there was no reply. It was as if their fear was so transfixed that they became dumb. “I said, what see ye damn it!” Then one of the sailors, I think it was Biggs, pointed astern and cried out “’tis Satan his self Capt’n” “Satan be chas’n us to hell!”
Then, as if to confirm Biggs’ belief, we came to dead calm. The sea went from full fury to glass. Our sails in one instant went from near ripping with the wind, to full slack on the masts. The boat became silent, so silent you could hear your own heart and the heart of your nearest mate. One of the women came up to deck, only to suffer the Captains wrath. “Get below damn you Lass, I told you to stay secure in your bunk until this was over!” Not get you out of my sight before I throw you overboard myself!” At that very instant a cannon echoed astern and there was a geyser of sea foam to our port bow.
We turned to see what could be sailing in this calm, and by God, Biggs was right, it was Satan, or at least a ship that had the looks of one his. The hull was black as the night, the red sails beat with a rhythm of a heart as the boat moved, under full control, in this quite calm. A voice called across to us. “Ahoy Fair Wind drop your sails, and prepare to be boarded” “Ye have no wind to move ye and I don’t recommend you try and make a fight of it for if you do we will stand off and give you to Davy Jones. Agreed?”
Capt. Weatherspoon turns to me and says “Mister Jackson, go below and tell the woman to dress plain as they can, for this may be their only chance.” He than turns to Satan’s ship and calls out “The Fair Wind has nothing of value aboard, some cotton and tobacco is all, and if that will satisfy you you’re welcome to it!” and with all the sarcasm he can muster, “We await your pleasure.”
The devils boat makes a full circle around us, as if the devil himself were pushing it through the water. It was only as it passed abeam that the Captain whispers to me “do you see anything unusual Mr. Jackson?” I look hard at the boat, but tell the Captain I do not. “Wake Mr. Jackson, she leaves no wake!”
Soon enough the ship pulls abeam again and grapping lines seem to come from a dozen unseen hands. The Fair Wind is pulled tight against this apparition and made fast. We still have not seen a living soul aboard her.
As if reading our minds a boarding plank slides across, and from an invisible mist a giant of a man strides across her to bound to our deck. He is followed with perhaps a score of men to keep his back. He comes to the helm, searching for the Captain. His eyes seem to be black as coal, and twice as cold. Approaching, he flourishes his hat and bows deep and low, a vulnerable position, but he is obviously not a man to worry about small details like a saber slash. Rising he looks our Captain in the eye and says bold as you please. “Captain Weatherpoon, it has been a long time coming this game of cat and mouse we’ve played but I am here now and I would beg a few moments of your time.”
I am befuddled, we’ve been boarded by some evil demon but he talks with our Captain as one would with a friend. The giant continues, “I am Jasper, my crew and I have been condemned to sail these seas for eternity” “We have no need of earthly goods but we do beg your help.” Captain Weatherspoon looks at him and nods. “I’ve heard the legends, but I don’t know what service I can be to ease your journey?”
“We’ve set our course and are bound to it, but we have one path that could put our souls to rest! It is something you, and only you, can do.” Captain Witherspoon looks at him a long moment and then nods his head, “What do you need of me?”
Jasper explains, “We’ve started a petition to have September 19th declared ‘Talk like a Pirate’ Day. We need you, your crew, and your passengers to carry our petition to the President and gain this as a holiday. When that comes to pass we will slip this cursed life and find peace.” Witherspoon grabs Jasper and agrees to this chore. From that day we have been roaming the halls of Congress with our petition.So here I be! Asking your help for poor Jasper and his crew…. Speak ye like a Pirate when it become the 19 of September.