September 19

International Talk Like a Pirate Day


“Aaarrr, mi’lady!”

Jamey has a black circle of cloth tied over one eye.  He brandishes a plastic sword, swings it in the air around his girlfriend’s body.

Aileen doesn’t respond.

“Question,” he says.  “What’s a pirate’s favorite fruit?”

“It’s not funny, Jamey.”

“Answer.  Aaarrr – anges.”

He swings the sword again.  “I’ve got tons more.  What did the pirate say when — ”

“You know what happened,” Aileen says.  “You’re disrespecting everyone’s memory.”

Jamey drops the plastic sword, but he seems to have forgotten he’s still wearing the eye patch — which undermines his attempt to adopt a serious tone.  “We have to live,” he tells her.  “They’d want us to.  We can’t let, um, aaarrr – mageddon get us down.”

He made another bad pun, tried a few more awful jokes.  Aileen couldn’t laugh — she especially couldn’t laugh about pirates.  After the world nearly ended, she and Jamey and their friends had formed a peaceful community at an abandoned summer campsite.  They made their own clothes and cooked for each other, built fires at night to keep warm.

The fire attracted another group of survivors.  When Jamey and Aileen had stepped away for some private time, that group attacked the campsite.  They had real swords, and knives and other weapons improvised out of rusted metal.

Hiding in the dark, Jamey and Aileen listened as their friends were slaughtered.  These pirates didn’t say “Aaarrr matey,” or joke about making someone walk the plank.  They just killed without reason, then took whatever clothes or food they wanted before moving to find the next peaceful community.

Jamey always tried to cheer her up, to insist that things needed to go on as before — and in his mind, that included trying to recreate goofy traditions or holidays from the Before time.  But pirate jokes would never be funny to her.

She couldn’t wait until “Talk Like a Pirate Day” was over.