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Category Archives: Pirates
Unable to get well enough to drive for Uber without risk, I now face economic and health uncertainties that could bring about the end of everything for me personally.
I have submitted an application for substitute teaching in the local school district. They still haven’t offered me a job, which I am clearly qualified for, and which I did for the same district successfully more than a decade ago. School is starting Monday. And even if they give me the job, there is no guarantee that I will be well enough to do it.
So, do I panic now? Or wait and panic next week? Or give up already?
That, of course, is not my way. I always approached teaching as a swashbuckling adventure. I may die in the attempt, either at the cruel hands of little school bunnies, or possibly behind the wheel of my rusty, trusty Uber car, But, either way, I will go down fighting with my pirate boots on.
So, I will sign on with Zorah the Sea Witch, joining her pirate crew, and I will set sail towards the sunrise of a new and potentially dangerous new day.
One of the things I was taught by the good people of I-Universe Publishing is that writers do Twitter. They set me up with a Twitter account that never got followed by real people and got no traction of any definable kind.
There are obviously magic spells out there somewhere that help you sell copies of your beloved first real novel if only you are willing to go on Twitter to engage… to sell yourself and your books… to trolls… and nudists and other writers and nudists who are writers… and, inexplicably, the Norwegian Branch of the Tom Hiddleston as Loki Fan Club. In order to do this I ended up having to establish my own Twitter account to handle what the I-Universe account couldn’t. What a mistake that was!
I have after six years finally gotten past the 2,000 follower mark. I have sold a precious few copies of more than one of my books. And I have learned what a horrific alternate universe Twitter actually is.
Trying to sell my books to Twitter followers who seem like the kind of person interested in reading YA novels full of humor and fantasy and goofy stuff, obviously generates more marriage proposals than sales.
Apparently, young women on Twitter are looking for husbands and lovers online. It you answer their direct messages thinking they are women interested in your writing, they will aggressively try to convince you that they have fallen in love with you, one even saying this without asking for a better picture of me than the cartoon I use to portray myself. They ignore the fact that you have been married for a quarter of a century. They ignore the protestations that you are only on Twitter to sell books, and ask you to send them money for an airplane ticket so they can come to where you live and have an affair with you… even though you protest that you are married and don’t have money for airplane tickets even if you wanted to have an affair with a young lady who could be your granddaughter age-wise. One essential function on Twitter is learning how to block someone. Ooh! That was a lifesaver. Learning who not to answer is useful too.
And women are not the only ones with dangerous schemes to take your money away from you.
I was Twitter-friended by Arab royalty. Prince Hamdan of Brunei wanted to give me money as part of his charity work to salvage the image of his royal family. He offered to put thousands of dollars of oil money in my bank account just because he liked me and felt sorry for me. All I had to do was give him my online bank account number. I may have told Arabian royalty that I had a fatal disease that made me forget all my bank account numbers and would cause me to die before he could get a reply sent back to me. I stupidly gave him no bank information what-so-ever. And my bank account audibly breathed a sigh of relief.
So, I have successfully now used Twitter to sell copies of Snow Babies and Recipes for Gingerbread Children. I have become a member of Twitter’s #writingcommunity. I have also become a member of a group called Writers Without Clothes. (
#FF #naturist fiction by: @Mr_Ted_Bun, @buffprofwally, @CalowAndrew, @AuthorMatBlack, @NakedDan, @smdenham3 and @mbeyer51 (growing list!)) They offered me a chance to join their group because they liked the nudists in my book Recipes for Gingerbread Children, and because they learned I have written for nudist websites and do much of my writing in the nude. I recently also got a tweet from a fellow author who is reading Snow Babies and loves it. She says it is a well-written book, high praise from another published author.
So, I intend to keep writing… right up until the end… and maybe I can learn how to use Twitter from beyond the grave so I can keep my writing alive and my future ghost-tweets can make you all horrified enough to be compelled to buy my books. They say my books are funny, even the nudist parts, and maybe I can make more Tom Hiddleston jokes to keep that part of my Twitter following happy too.
If you are foolish enough to look for me on Twitter, you can find me at @mbeyer51.
Canto Nineteen – The Log Book of the Reefer Mary Celeste
It would be two days before anything more could happen in the quest to understand about the Captain. Valerie finally found the time to visit Mary Philips’ house while Pidney was also there. None of the other Pirates proved available. Danny had a 4-H meeting to attend in the old Norwall School House, and Ray Zeffer also was in 4-H. 4-H Club was the center of farm-boy life in small farm towns in Iowa. Both the boys and the girls had their own division of the club. Heart, head, hands, and health, the 4-H’s were an international organization that encouraged youth development and prosperity through projects and learning goals. 4-H was to farmers what Boy Scouts were to the Army, Navy, and Marines… indoctrination into the secret cult of the tillers of the earth. Technically, the three Pirates meeting in the basement of the Philips’ house were supposed to be at the meeting too, at least Pidney was. The Norwall Pirates were also technically a 4-H softball team, so there were definite ties to things that couldn’t be ignored for long. Still, this secret meeting was temporarily more important.
“I’m glad creepy old Doble couldn’t come,” Pidney said. “I don’t trust him around you girls. He doesn’t go to 4-H meetings any more, but he apparently has more important things to do with himself anyway.”
“We have to consider him a Pirate, though,” said Mary. “He is the only remaining member of the original club.”
“Yeah, whatever.” Pid was frowning until he looked at Valerie. Then he smiled. “But I’m sure glad you could come, Val.”
Valerie smiled her thanks at the big Polack. He could be kinda dense at times, but Valerie was deeply in love with him anyway.
“I have the log book here,” Mary said, “and we can pick up reading where we left off.”
“About the mermaid?” said Pid.
“Yes, about the mermaid.”
“Chinooki,” reminded Val.
“Let me turn to the book mark,” said Mary.
The mermaid was a miraculous creature. Kooky actually had very little trouble catching her in the nets he used for catching prawns whenever we were near the island of Tahiti. It was like she wanted to be caught for some strange reason. And we soon discovered that keeping company with Chinooki was something every man aboard desired with a passion. Her singing voice charmed the men to sleep and suggestibility. The mermaid possessed every piece of scrimshaw, every golden ornament, and every valuable jewel on board the ship in very short order.
“Chinooki likes sweet mens,” Chinooki said so often we never stopped to think that it might have a double meaning.
Chuck Jones was the first man to disappear. Kooky later told me that Chinooki told him she ate the sweet man. But she could say practically any scary and awful thing, and then sing a sweet song, and everyone would smile and think she did no wrong. The cabin boy disappeared next, and Bob Clampett swore he saw the kid’s severed foot at the bottom of the oyster stew Cookie served that same night.
“I am becoming alarmed here at this story,” said Pidney. “Is this one of those things where you read the scary story in a book and then it comes true in real life?”
“It can’t be,” said Mary. “You know full well that Captain Noah Dettbarn was a fool and a liar long before he ever went to sea. He has a reputation in this little town, and the old folks all say that telling a lie is the same as telling a Noah.”
Mary continued reading aloud.
Chinooki was a favorite of every sailor aboard. She entertained us constantly with stories and songs. She could play Kooky’s ukulele, too, like a professional. She had us all dancing and singing along without being truly aware of what was going on. Crewmen kept turning up missing. Then, when Kooky started kissing her on the lips at every opportunity, I realized I needed to confront her. I think I owe Kooky for that, because if he hadn’t interrupted her songs with his kisses, I might never have returned to my senses.
“Chinooki,” I said, late one night at the aft rail, “you have to stop doing to us whatever it is that you have been doing to us.”
“Chinooki not know what you are meaning, nice Captain mans.”
“Don’t accuse her without all the facts,” Kooky said.
“The crew likes what Chinooki has been doing for us,” added Bob Clampett.
“Look around, Bob,” I said. “Where exactly is the rest of the crew?”
Bob looked all around the deck. There was a lot of nobody to count. His eyes got big and round. “Good Lord! You are right, Captain! Something is definitely wrong!”
“Ho ho! Sweet Bobs has seen through the glammer! Maybe silly Captain mans too!” said Chinooki. She then wobbled up to Bob using her fish tail to travel upright in the manner of a cobra. She put her silvery arms around his neck and gave him a big old smooch on the lips. Then she bit deeply into the side of his neck. Together they pitched backwards over the ship’s rail and fell into the ocean below. Poor Bob did not even have a chance to scream.
At that point in the story, poor Pidney was so pale, that Mary stopped reading, apparently afraid the big Polish football hero was about to pass out from fear.
“Don’t stop now!” Valerie insisted. “This old log book thing is getting really, really good.”
Canto One – A Secret Meeting Awaits
Valerie was on her skateboard on Main Street. She was thrashing. It didn’t matter how dangerous Daddy said it could be. She was a thrasher, and she knew how to ride. If he thought he could forbid her from doing it, well, that was just so boofoo! No. She couldn’t use that word. Not after Danny Murphy told her what it actually meant. Yeesh! Okay, un-cool, then.
She was ten. She was wearing her latex biker shorts. You know, the ones Mom forbid her to wear because they were skin tight. But why did it matter so much? It was not like she actually had a butt to show off. She could ride her skateboard naked and no one would really notice. She did an ollie off the edge of the sidewalk and onto the hot pavement. Summer was ending, but the last day of the Labor Day weekend was still hot. Iowa hot. Eighty degrees in the sun with warm, humid air that boiled you right out of your biker shorts sort of hot. But Valerie wasn’t ready to find out if it was true that no one would notice. She needed to keep them on. They were black with a purple slash of color on the sides. Her favorite thing to wear.
Across the asphalt street her wheels and trucks buzzed as she rode to the south side of Main Street. It was a small Iowa farm town. Only maybe four cars were parked there at any one time, and no one was on the street but her. Still, she wished she could burn her way across right in front of someone’s moving pickup truck and scare them into dropping a bale of hay or two. No one marked her passing by in one of the most boring places in the whole Mr. Boofoo Universe. No. The Mr. Un-Cool Universe. She had to remember not to say that other thing anymore. Especially in front of Mom, even if Mom didn’t have a clue what it really meant.
She was headed for the Ghost House on the south eastern edge of town. The Ghost House was the only remaining haunted house in Norwall, Iowa, and it had collapsed in on itself. It was more a pile of broken boards and garbage than a house, but it was the place where she was headed because, unknown to most of the adults in town, the Ghost House still had a functioning cellar, shored up with railroad ties by her cousin Brent Clarke and the rest of the original Norwall Pirates. The Pirates had been a secret club in the 1970’s, a secret that nearly everyone knew at least one thing about. They had been a liars’ club of young boys who supposedly caught a werewolf once and chased an undead Chinese wizard around town. Liars’ club was more than just a local nickname for it. It was more of a literal definition. But she had been called to attend a secret Pirate meeting. A meeting that shouldn’t exist because there had been no Norwall Pirates since they had graduated high school in 1978.
Mom would have a fit if she knew Valerie was headed to the Ghost House. It was the kind of run-down rattle-trap that all mothers worried about. No decent mother worthy of her official Mom-card would stand for a child of theirs going to such a place, especially not Val’s Mom, the Queen of Worrywarts.
She thrashed her way down Whitten Avenue and then around the corner, zigzagging for two blocks, and then passing Ugly Bill’s Junkyard to the huge pile of broken crap that had been described to her as being the actual place.
She came to a stop, kicked up her board and grabbed it, and looked around, not quite as certain now as she pondered a wilderness of junk, thistles, and burdock leaves. Ugly Bill Pixeley had tons of used car parts and wrecked truck parts from which he salvaged the pieces that he, his brother, and his two idiot sons put together as trucks and other vehicles which he then sold at a huge profit. Pixeley was a talented mechanic and a very crafty self-taught engineer.
“You here for the Pirate meeting?” asked Danny Murphy, pulling up on his bicycle.
“Yeah,” she answered, popping her Bazooka Joe bubble gum. “Mary Philips says it ain’t just gonna be for boys anymore.”
“Yeah. I heard that too. And I’m glad you’re gonna be a Pirate,” Danny said with a sly grin. He was a sophisticated man of twelve… well, not really… but he was a boy older than Valerie by an entire school year, though only about five months in age. Older boys being in the club was one of the main attractions for her. “It will be cool to have the most beautiful little girl ever born in Norwall in our club.”
Valerie blushed and dropped her eyes a little bit at that. Her Uncle Dash had always said that about her since she could remember. But it was one thing to hear it from family, and something else to hear it from somebody she rode the school bus with. Some things get around by word of mouth a lot faster and farther than you ever wish they would.
“Do you know how to get inside?” Valerie asked.
“I can show you a secret entrance … for a kiss?” Danny blushed intensely as he proposed the bargain, a truly dark red that can only be achieved by somebody as boney-skinny, white-skinned Irish, and shy of girls as Danny Murphy was.
“Boys who think like that all grow up to be rapists,” Val shot back at him. “That’s what my Aunt Jennifer says, anyway.”
Danny turned an even darker shade of red-violet. Valerie was suddenly feeling guilty, as if she might possibly have caused his head to explode from embarrassment by her cutting remark about his personal urges. She didn’t dislike him. She just didn’t want to kiss him.
“Aw, I didn’t mean anything by that. I’ll show you the Tunnel of Doom.”
Danny pointed to a large concrete drainage tile that had been rolled up against the side of the Ghost House’s foundation. She could see that if you crawled through the tile, you could enter through a large crack in the brick foundation. Spiders and potentially snakes to crawl through. Ughh! But Valerie was no Shrinking Violet. She pushed Danny out of the way and went in.
Disney recently unveiled the new President Pumpkinhead animatronic doll that they are putting into the Hall of Presidents at their theme parks. Scary thing, that. Scarier still, it would probably make a better President than the one currently in the White House.
And in the Congress, the House and Senate each passed a tax reform bill that will reverse-Robin Hood money away from the poor and middle class to feed the never-ending greed of the top one per cent.
And a third thing that is now revealed this week, devastating for me personally, is my Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, signed and finalized on Monday. My bankruptcy, unlike Trump’s many Chapter 11’s, does not cancel any debt. I must pay 100% of the money won by Bank of America in their lawsuit against me and 100% of the rest of my unsecured debt with all of my other credit cards like Discover that had to be canceled out. The only break a personal bankruptcy affords a retired teacher like me is that I no longer have to pay any interest on any unsecured debt. And Bank of America does not get to take away my house and car and dog and light bulb out of my refrigerator. They are most certainly disappointed by that last thing.
So, now we get to see the suffering actually come to an end. Yes, no one must any longer worry about going to Disneyland and being bored by stuffy politician robots in the Hall of Presidents. Instead the Hall of Presidents will now be one of the scariest horror shows in theme park entertainment history. A robot Cheeto Man will be horrifically disemboweling and eviscerating the Constitution and portions of the English language on stage in front of children, grandmothers, and everybody. Rich people will no longer have to suffer the discomfort of knowing that other people have any money at all, or are entitled to any of the wonderful things that only ultra-rich people are supposed to enjoy, like Disneyland, for example.
And Bank of America and its merry band of blood-sucking pirates can rest easy in the knowledge that Mickey no longer has any money to fund undeserved privileges like the ability to think for himself.
Paul Ryan and Donald J. Trump can now sit smugly satisfied and glory in the fact that Mickey’s losses guarantees them a Mickey-less world.