Fast little loans
Rupert Redbeard, The Bountiful’s navigator following Navi Kumar’s tragic drowning demise, was understandably distraught when receiving the news that his 129-year-old mother had passed away, and immediately submitted his application to the captain for compassionate leave.
“Mmm, I don’t know about this, Rupie,” mulled Blackbird. “Could she not have chosen another time? She’s had more than a just a wee while to prepare, after all.”
Rupert began a dreadful weeping and wailing at Blackbird’s insensitivity, driving the other pirates below deck. His head sank beneath his knees and hellish noises emanated from his throat. To witness such a ferocious pirate so wretched was, for the tough-minded seamen on the boat, intolerable.
“Go, just go!” Blackbird snapped, no longer able to deal with these unfamiliar emotions, and jumping to his foot and wooden leg.
As Rupert dived off the main deck and began the long swim ashore, Blackbird retreated to his cabin, summoning first mate Long John Platinum and simple sailors Sipho, Seve, Steve and Sergio to join him. Blackbird hopped on his wooden leg around and around the cabin, faster and faster, disturbing the other sailors in their knowledge that this habit was invariably brought forth by high anxiety.
That Blackbird was concurrently downing a bottle of rum so strong the pirates often used it in flaming bottle bombs, did not inspire in them a spirit of comfort.
“Men, men, men, we have to get to the Mediterranean in double-quick time,” blurted Blackbird. “The bird that brought the news of Rupert Redbeard’s blackest day also brought word that Greece is bleak.
“They’ve run out of money, the Germans want all their Porsches back, and rich Grecians are hiding out with their jewels on their pleasure palaces – until we get there.
“Now, listen up! Does anyone on the boat know a sextant from a stirrup, or a map from a menu?”
The fabulous, famous five shrugged their shoulders, raised their eyebrows and lifted their hands in the air.
Then one of them pushed his chair back from the table and rose to his feet. “I know what to do,” Sipho said. “We’ll take on a temp.”
Seve, Sergio, Steve and LJP nodded their heads sagely in response, their faces earnest and sincere.
“Forget about it!” Blackbird shrieked, drinking the last of the rum, pulling off his wooden leg and sinking to his knee, and searching for his eyeball. “There’ll be no spies on my boat, never. No, me hearties, between us we’ll make our way to the moon and back, if necessary.”
Blackbird managed eventually to grab the errant eyeball, which he then placed, still on his knees, in a glass on the table, before thrusting his prosthesis into Sipho’s hands.
“Use it like a billiard cue to get the ball back in my socket,” Blackbird instructed, his face pushed up against the edge of the table, while his good thumb and forefinger pulled his right eyelids wider than the Kimberley Big Hole.
Sipho looked perplexed and nervous, but all the same adopted a billiard player’s posture, cued up the eyeball, and let fly. It was hit with such ferocity that it flew upward in the air and struck Blackbird hard on the forehead.
“Your turn,” Blackbird then instructed Seve, who after some time gathering himself, miscued and lacerated his superior’s upper lip. Sergio and Steve similarly missed, though less injuriously, before LJP demonstrated why officers become officers.
“I’ll show yer,” LJP bragged, as the battered Blackbird readied himself for the next onslaught. The first mate’s misspent youth was clearly evident in his professional snooker stance, and when eventually LJP propelled that eyeball forward, it was straight and true, landing like a golf ball in a cup.
Blackbird jumped excitedly to his foot. “You see, you see, you see,” he shouted gleefully. “If we work together, we can do anything.”
But The Bountiful, sans navigator, did not make it on time to the Mediterranean. The Germans long beat them to it and ensnared the Greek vessels before annexing the entire European ocean, while our simple sailors were arguing about where true north was.
Treasure Hunting Tip: Temporary placements are invaluable in replacing mission-critical skills. Neither the best teamwork nor the hardest or smartest work will make an air traffic controller of a radio-controlled plane enthusiast. Not to replace key skills with interim placements is foolhardy.
l Peter Christie is with Exclusive People. Contact them at 011 440 8560. Visit www.exclusivepeople.co.za