Chapter 12

“Your name is Patty Parsnip?” Fay asked, looking at Barnaby to see if he was thinking what she was thinking.

“Bonny Patty Parsnip?” asked Barnaby.

“Well, if you say so,” replied Patty with a grin, “but that’s a little fresh for a boy your age.”

“And you really think this is 1711?” asked Fay.

Patty nodded. “Last I checked it was,” she said.
“And you really don’t have a Pepsi?” asked Barnaby.

“A whatsy?” asked Joe Parsnip. “Did you two just get off a boat from Shangree-la or somethin’?”

“Can’t be that,” cut in Patty. “Haven’t been any new boats in this port since Captain Arg and his scurvy crew took up residence.”

“Captain Arg?” asked Fay. “Mr. Arg is the captain of those pirates?”

“Yup,” said Joe Parsnip. “Ol’ Yellerwhiskers.”

Fay noticed Barnaby sizing up Patty with his usual stupid, trouble-making grin.

“Bonny Patty Parsnip…aren’t you supposed to be a pirate too?” he asked.

“What boy?” replied Patricia indignantly. “First you’re fresh, now I don’t know what you’re getting at!”

“Please,” said Fay. “Ignore Barnaby. You’re obviously not a pirate.”

The front door of the store squealed open and Mr. McCorley, the flavor-lab man stumbled into the room.
“Pirates!” squawked McCorley looking around wildly. “And I think they’re real!”

“Of course they’re real,” said Patty. “I should know. They’ve been disrespecting my store since they made berth in Elbow Harbor.”

Again the door squealed, and this time the scrawny cook with the bloody apron shuffled in.

Patty put her hands on her hips. “Mr. Twicky!,” she said. “Have I not made myself perfectly clear? You have cleaned us out of basil and bay leaves! There are no more herbs until the boat comes from Boston!”

“Ain’t ya got any tarragon?” asked Mr. Twicky.

Patty was quickly losing her patience. “No tarragon!,” she said, vigorously stacking jars of assorted vegetables on a shelf. “No oregano. No rosemary. No parsley. We don’t even have any cinnamon!”

Mr. Twicky began to twitch. “The boys is tired o’plain chicken,” he said. “They’s tired of chicken soup, chicken fricassee, chicken pie, and fried chicken. They’s tired of chicken!”

“Um, duh?” said Barnaby. “Fix something that’s not chicken.”

“Ain’t got nothin’ left boy!,” complained Mr. Twicky. “Exceptin’ me Pappy’s special hardtack…and they don’t even want it!”

“What do they want?” asked Fay.

The answer came like the first rumble of thunder before a storm. “We want Rogers!” yelled the unison voice of the mob of pirates which seemed to be coming from just outside the Parsnips’ store.
Soon the rumble became a steady chant. “Jolly Rogers, Jolly Rogers, Jolly Rogers!”

“They sound pretty antsy,” said Fay. “Do you think they’re dangerous?”

Patty didn’t look as calm as she was trying to sound. “Usually that Captain Arg of theirs keeps things under control, but he’s been gone a while and they’re getting restless.”

“Mr…um, Captain Arg is back,” said Fay reassuringly. “He came with us.”

But the chanting was getting frighteningly loud.
“Jolly Rogers, Jolly Rogers, JOLLY ROGERS!”

“Maybe we oughta’ hide in the root cellar,” suggested Joe Parsnip.

Barnaby piped up. “I’m assuming you don’t sell Jolly Rogers here?” he asked hopefully.

“Don’t know what it is, sonny boy,” replied Joe Parsnip.

“It’s that crunchy stuff what the Cap’n’s been bringin’ ‘em,” offered Mr. Twicky. “And now they won’t eat chicken. Or me Pappy’s hardtack.”

“Barnaby, “ whispered Fay. “Did Arg have any cereal with him when we got here?”

“Uh, I don’t think so,” replied Barnaby.

The chanting was louder, more insistent, and now it seemed to be right on the front porch. And this time the front door didn’t open with a squeal. It exploded inward, popping right off its hinges, as an angry mob of pirates screaming “JOLLY ROGERS” gushed through the opening.

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