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A Pirate's Life for Me
Waves smack into our ship and it feels like we hit one brick wall after another. Water pours over the sides of the boat so rapidly that I grab the arm of the scraggly man standing next to me so I do not get washed out to sea. Thunder cracks above our heads and lightening lights up the night sky as if the sun magically appeared only for a few seconds. Rain pelts my face and it feels like a million tiny needles puncturing my flesh and I know where our ship is headed. I dread these nights the most because a perfect storm makes for a perfect robbery.
Finally we reach the Spanish ship that we plan to rob, a miracle that we found it in the dark. I go to stand inside the cabin away from the storm but it does no good; my long blonde hair is already sopping wet and my oversized blue dress hangs from my petite, slender body.
“Let’s go Annabelle!” Captain Black pushes me out the door. “Times a wastin’…I gotta get my treasure!”
I hesitantly go back out in the raging storm because I know if I do not help with the raid my comrades will punish me later. As I walk out onto the dock and into the darkness of the storm I cringe at the helpless cries of women and children being torn apart. A flash of fire darts across the sky and lands with a burst of flames on the ship that is under attack. I stand in amazement as I think about the pain we inflict on these innocent people. The storm dies down and we leave just as quickly as we came, only this time we make out a hundred times richer. We leave the ship we raided abandoned and broken in the middle of the sea with no money and no way to get home.
They call us pirates but I hate that term. Actually I hate being a pirate in general. The rain slows to a drizzle and the winds calm to a breeze as we make our way back to our home, The Island of Gold. Sitting out on the bow of the boat as dawn breaks on the horizon, I cannot help but think about that day five years ago.
On June 21st, my twenty first birthday, I mistakenly wished to become a pirate, I wanted to escape the stress of college and growing up. Little did I know, some fluke of nature granted that ridiculous wish, and I found myself on The Island of Gold with a bunch of grungy, dirty looking men and women, my fellow pirates. I spent the first summer in fear of remaining a pirate forever, but sure enough on September 21st, the last day of summer, I ended up back in my college dorm in Bridgeport, Connecticut just in time for my senior year. Since graduating from college I got a job at Callaway Parochial Elementary School teaching fourth grade, and every summer I can expect to end up back on The Island of Gold. No one knows my secret of piracy, not even my parents, but for two months each summer I leave my one bedroom apartment in Bridgeport in exchange for a falling down shack on the sandy beaches of our island somewhere untraceable in the Caribbean.
As morning draws near, we pull into the harbor at our island. Captain Black divides the loot up evenly among us and I head to my shack for some much needed sleep. By the time I bathe and lay down on my hammock, the temperature sits well over one hundred degrees. With the temperature so high I cannot fall asleep and my mind drifts to the problem that I avoided all summer, school starts on September twentieth this year! I need to find a way to make it back to Bridgeport for the first day of school without the other pirates finding out. If caught leaving duty early, I will remain a pirate forever.
Ideas start running through my head on how I can sneak off the island and get back to the United States. In the middle of my daydreaming someone bursts through the rotten wood door of my shack. Morgan, the cutest pirate of them all, stands in my doorway. His tall, tan body leans against the doorframe and his beach blonde hair looks even more luminous in the afternoon sunlight. Morgan has good hygiene unlike a normal pirate; he takes a shower and shaves everyday, which makes him even cuter. Not to mention he is the Captain of his own ship. I like him a lot and last summer we started dating. I accidentally told him my secret.
“Hey Miss Annie what are you up to?” he asks as he gives me a flirty smile.
“Nothin’ just thinkin’,” I reply wearily. “Remember how I told you school starts early this year? Well I was wonderin’ if you would want to help me out.”
“Sure, what do you need me to do?”
“I was thinkin’ that maybe you could take your ship and drop me off at Key West and I could catch a plane back to Bridgeport so I won’t be late for the first day of school. I have been stressing out today because it is the 19th and school starts on the 21st.”
“I can do that but you know the season isn’t over until the 21st. If anyone, especially Captain Black, notices that you are gone then your punishment is to be a pirate forever. I know how much you hate bein’ a pirate.”
“I know but I can’t be late for my job Morgan. Will you please just help me?”
“Okay we will leave early tomorrow morning when it is still dark out. I’ll come and wake you up.”
In all my excitement I jump into his arms and scream,” Thank you so much! I love you!”
He looks at me funny for a minute and then smiles back, “I love you too.”
My heart jumps in my chest from all the excitement. This moment is the only good thing that ever came out of my experience as a pirate. For the rest of the afternoon I anxiously await the next morning. I finally fall asleep at dusk with the sound of the other pirates playing music and laughing as they drink the night away.
Before I know it Morgan stands in front of my bed with my bags in his hands, “Let’s go Annie or you’ll never make it to Key West in time for a flight.”
We board his ship and pull out of the harbor without anyone noticing. They were probably still sleeping off the night before. We get on the ship I head straight into the cabin and sleep until Morgan comes to get me three hours later. We finally pull into a harbor in Key West and call a cab to take us to the airport. The Cuban driver pulls up and we get in the car. The smell of fish inside the cab makes me nocuous but I roll the windows down and bare the twenty-minute ride to the airport. The next flight to Bridgeport departs at three in the afternoon and it just turned twelve noon. Morgan and I walk around to the shops inside the airport until my plane leaves.
It is time for me to go and Morgan gives me a hug, “I will see you next summer Annie; I love you.”
I do not want to leave him but I board the plane and go to my seat in coach right next to a new mom with a screaming newborn baby. It is four long hours until we finally reach Bridgeport around seven. I take a cab to my apartment, unpack my bags, take a shower, and snuggle up in my enormous king sized bed. It feels wonderful to be home. I made it just in time for the start of school without any of the pirates finding out.
My alarm goes off at five thirty in the morning, and I jump up with excitement and get ready to go to school. My new fourth graders file in with their summer tans and their endless stories of what happened to them. We play icebreakers to help each other get acquainted until recess. After they come in with their sweaty little bodies I assign a paper on their most memorable experience they had this summer.
The air conditioner broke this morning and the room gets hotter by the minute. The whole room goes silent as they work on their papers. One little boy in the back drifts in and out of sleep and I nudge him to wake up. The sweltering afternoon sun beats through the windows. Kid’s faces turn a brighter shade of red by the minute. An occasional cough or squeaking from someone shifting in their desk breaks the silence.
All of a sudden a group of men burst through the classroom door with the principal following shortly behind screaming at the top of her lungs. The pirates spot me and yell, “Get her!” Busted! Now everyone knows I am a pirate and I am stuck being a pirate forever.