Monday, August 6, 2007

The High Seas Adventures of Billy Beers, Pirate Entertainer: Part II

"It was a cold December day when I first started my career as a pirate entertainer. I was working at a German themed bar in Ireland called “The Cork Zucker” where I was a male showgirl and a part-time male cocktail waitress. The hours were very long, the job quite thankless and the pay outright atrocious, but at least it was a job in show business. If you want to be in show business, you have to start at the bottom. As far as the entertainment totem pole was concerned, I had gone down all the way to the bottom.

"I had no where to go but up the pole.

"On that cold December day I was just closing out my last tab for the day as a cocktail server (the floorshow was to start in fifteen minutes) when a ragged looking man in ragged looking clothes barged through the great Gothic oak doors of the Zucker, with a wild grin on his face that was nearly concealed beneath his bushy red beard. His peg leg clinked against the industrial steel floor as he walked towards the bar.

"'Guten Tag,' said the bartender in a thick Irish brogue. 'What can I get for you?'

"'Ay, d’ya have any grog?' asked the ragged man.

"'I don’t think so. Is that a type of Apple Cider?'

"The ragged man stared at the bartender in his lederhosen, taking a moment to survey him up and down with his menacing eyes. He grumbled, 'I’ll have a Miller Light' and then turned to look out at the other patrons. I caught his eye, and he grinned at me. I smiled back uneasily, not completely sure what to do in the situation. The bartender broke the gaze by bringing the man his Miller Light. I scurried off to the dressing rooms to get ready for the show.

"'Here’s your beer. That’ll be two Euros.'

"'Arrrr. Do you take ducats?'

* * * * * * * * * * *

"The floor show went off without a hitch. It was a medley of songs from South Pacific and from the early years of Destiny’s Child. The audience of seven clapped profusely; the three Japanese businessmen seemed like they particularly enjoyed it. I hurried to change out of my sequined jumpsuit and then headed out to the bar for my customary post-show drink – a virgin rusty nail. The bartender and I were talking over the finer points of the show when I heard the clicking of a peg leg on an industrial steel floor.

"'Pardon me, Miss. May I have a word with ya?' His breath smelled of sardines and sulphur. I turned around.

"'My name is not Miss. The name is Billy Beers. And for the record, I am a man.'

"'Many apologies, Mr. Beers. I never seen a man move like before. Also, m’ thinks you’re wearin’ a frilly woman’s blouse.'

"'It’s not a frilly woman’s blouse. It’s a frilly unisex blouse.'

"'I have a business proposition for ya, Beers, if you’d only come sit with me in the corner.'

"'Okay. I’ll bite,' I said, and then turned to the bartender. 'If you see him getting frisky, call the cops.'

* * * * * * * * * * *

"'So let me get this straight,' I said. 'You want me to run a cruise show on your ship.'

"'Ay, t’is true. Many a long and lonely night have we spent crossing the cold and empty seas with naught to do but play checkers and drink. Methinks the men are becoming bored and restless and tired of checkers, and I need something to keep their minds off of the humdrum daily grind of ship life. T’is not all glamour, you know,' said the ragged man, pausing to take a big drink out of his plastic bottle of Miller Light. He swallowed. 'Most of the time, we sit on boats and wait for treasure ships to go by. You don’t see too many treasure ships these days. T’would certainly help to give the lads something to look forward to.'

"I sat and considered for a moment. This could be the break I had always waited for. This cruise ship was the perfect way for me to get away from the Cork Zucker, to get out and see the world. Maybe even sail to Las Vegas. Who knows – before long I could be hobnobbing with the likes of Wayne Newton or those Cirque du Soleil fruitcakes.

"'What’s in it for me?' I asked.

"'Adventure. Dubloons. Plenty of booty.'

"'Oh no thank you. I don’t do that anymore.'

"'I mean plunder. And, I’ll teach you to do this!' The ragged man stood up from his Bauhaus knockoff chair, pulled out a match and lit his beard on fire. He began to laugh wildly as he pulled out a set of pistols and fired one shot each into the tin ceiling. The Japanese businessmen applauded and nodded profusely. The ragged man roared with laughter. 'Plus, if you say no, I’ll run you through with my cutlass like you was a cur!'

"'Okay then. I’ll go put in my resignation. What’s your name, by the way?'

"The ragged man grinned wildly and, with a mad glint in his eye, shouted 'Captain Pete Fitzgerald. And you?'

"'Billy Beers, entertainer.'