‘Um, sir?’ said Oldy, waking me, ‘should we go on deck now?’ Behind him a flaming wall bent inward then fell to bits, spraying fire.
‘Hi boys,’ said Sol; a glowing outline. ‘Thanks for trying to save my ship, but it’s over. And that lying Hin is gone.’
We dived to safety.
Sol walked aft as the flames grew. ‘She’s going below!’ said Oldy. ‘Not without me,’ I said. I climbed the broken wood to save her.
From my wonderful “General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates”, here is a short selection of one pirate’s rules aboard ship. (Pirate Roberts, who was known for his relative sobriety.)
Every man has a vote in affairs of moment; has equal title to the fresh provisions, or strong liquors.
No person to game at cards or dice for money.
The lights and candles to be put out at eight o’clock at night.
T keep their piece, pistols and cutlass clean and fit for service.
No striking one another on board, but every man’s quarrels to be ended on shore.
The musicians to have rest on the sabbath day, but the other six days and nights, none without special favour.