The Pirate Queen
by Katherine Allen
In the mid 1800’s a tall and handsome man stood at the bow of the pirate ship, his hands tied behind his back. He watched the dark sky of night being lighted by the burning mass that was once his ship. Anger surged through him as he wondered what kind of a monster could have so little heart as to commit this crime. Feeling a poke in his side he turned to see a man standing at his side.
“Sir,” he said. “The captain wishes to speak with you.”
Drawing himself up he looked at the man with a face full of pride and disgust. “I have no wish to speak to your captain.”
“Yes sir, but frankly, you don’t have much choice.”
As they walked along the length of the ship a question rose to the top of the man’s mind. “Sailor,” he began, “why do you call me sir, and treat me with a semblance of respect?”
“Captain’s orders. Says that we should treat all captured prisoners, as we would want ourselves to be treated. Says it’s a proverb from an old book. I figure it’s good advice.”
Again the captain’s mind was filled with questions. A pirate captain encouraging respect? What kind of ship was this?
At the stern of the ship the sailor stopped and pointed at a figure at the side. The man approached the cloaked figure. As though he sensed the presence of another human the captain turned around. When he spoke he had a high and soft voice. He suddenly took of the hood of his cloak and... the pirate captain was a woman! Seeing his astonishment she laughed. “Surprised to see a woman doing a scoundrel’s job?” Surprised at the candor in her manner he decided to respond in like. “Yes, frankly I am! What kind of a woman spurns all things feminine and decent to lead a bunch of cutthroats?”
“That’s not nice. We aren’t cutthroats per se. We don’t kill unless in self-defense. And all my men are gentlemen... as much as one can expect, at least.”
“Madame, you did not answer my question.”
She sighed, “Very well.” She then raised her voice. “John! Luke! Greg! Harvey! Backup singers!” As the four pirates assembled behind her she removed her cloak and assumed defiant stance. To the man’s surprise, she opened her mouth and burst into song:
I am a pirate queen,
My ship is a true beauty.
I have a very good crew,
As long as they get their booty
I may be silken and soft,
My gentleness unbounded.
But if does not what they ought,
My anger blazes hot!
We have a little agreement,
It keeps the peace on board.
They do everything I tell them,
And they don’t get thrown overboard.
I am a pirate queen.
My father king before me.
He died a natural death,
In a business somewhat smarmy.
I was his only heir.
Of brothers I have none.
So I traded my silk for a saber.
And my pearls for a gun.
I used to think to marry a duke.
A duke with lots and lots of loot.
I forgot about Joe, and I gave up Bill.
Just to sit, and crochet by the windowsill.
But, I am the pirates’ queen.
My crew had better salute me.
I gave up a life I loved,
Just to lead them in their looting.
A tall a swarthy maiden,
At least that’s what I should be.
But instead they’re stuck with me,
A short and dumpy Susie.
I’m stuck here on this boat
As it sways and rolls galore.
And when there is a storm.
I am found... with my head... overboard!
But I am the pirates’ queen.
I’ve sworn to do my duty
To keep the peace on board.
And find them lots of booty.
So I’ll stay, on my ship till... I die.
For a pirate queen, am I!
As her song ended the rest of the pirate within hearing distance wiped their eyes and led a rousting round of applause. She turned to the prisoner. “That sir, is the kind of girl who, how did you phrase it? “Spurns all things feminine and decent to lead a bunch of cutthroats?”
“Ah,” said the man. “A most intriguing song, especially one verse. Did you know I was a duke?”
The woman smiled. She then linked arms with the man and said, “Really? What did you say your name was, again?”
Copyright © 2005 by Bewildering Stories on behalf of the author