Chapter 13

Fay stumbled over a flour sack and Barnaby almost fell into the pickle barrel as the room filled with sweaty, snarling sailors. The big yellow-toothed pirate whom Fay had first seen at the shed door was now sneering into her face.

“What’cha got ta’ eat here Missy?” he demanded. “Gots ta’ be better’n Twicky’s hardtack!”

“You have tried my patience long enough sir!” said Patty stepping forward to square off with Yellow Tooth. “You have eaten everything we have, and I say it’s time for you and your nasty shipmates to set sail!”

“Plus you stink!” shouted Barnaby Hootsman from over by the pickle barrel.

Fay wished he hadn’t. Because a glimmer of craziness suddenly appeared in Yellow Tooth’s eyes which hadn’t been quite so obvious before.

“And just how pretty are you gonna smell,” snarled Yellow Tooth, “in pickle juice?” Snagging Barnaby by the shirt collar, Yellow Tooth hoisted him in the air, then dunked him head first into the pickle barrel. Barnaby scrambled to right himself and came up sputtering as the pirate crew began to chant “FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD!”

“OUT!” yelled Patty.

“You first!” hollered Yellow Tooth pushing her into the pirate mob, which kept pushing her right out the door.

“You too Codger!” yelled Yellow Tooth, as Joe Parsnip was shoved out right behind Patty.

But just as Yellow Tooth fixed his crazed glare on Fay, she heard a familiar growl from the doorway.

“What ARE ya?” bellowed Captain Arg. “Squirmy little Mommy’s boys? Weentsy little babies havin’ a tantrum ‘cause their Mama won’t give ‘em sweetsies?”

A hush fell over the room as Arg shoved his way to the center of the crowd.
“You ain’t gonna tell me,” said Captain Arg, “that you big boys are startin’ a riot on account of you run out of Jolly Rogers, now are ya’?”

The other pirates’ growls softened to a simmer. Yellow Tooth alone seemed to have no intention of backing down.
“I wanna know Cap’n!” he demanded. “About the Jolly Rogers. Are we out? Or are we flat out?”

Captain Arg returned Yellow Tooth’s fearsome stare without a blink.
“I’d like to know what difference it’s going to make,” he said, “whether we’re out, or whether we’re flat out?”

“The difference,” said Yellow Tooth, unsheathing his cutlass with a swish of metal, “has to do wif’ whether I filet you now…or later!”

Arg looked surprised, but only for a flash, as he drew a sword of his own.
“You ain’t shiverin’ my timbers, boy,” he said. “I’ll feed the crew what I want, when I want.”

A murmur started from the pirate mob, and a lone voice from the back squeaked “so long as it’s Jolly Rogers!”
“Jolly Rogers!” cried another voice, followed by another, until the entire mob was droning in spine-tingling tones, “JOLLY ROGERS JOLLY ROGERS JOLLY ROGERS…”

“And who hasn’t got no Jolly Rogers boys?” snarled Yellow Tooth with an evil curl of his lip.

“ARG!” screamed the crew.

“Skewer ‘im!” yelled a pirate.

“Roast ‘im like a bull on a spit!” shouted another.

Fay winced and shut her eyes tight as glass broke behind her. She opened them again to see a surging mob of pirates gone mad–smashing windows, spilling cabinets, and one heaving a lit tobacco pipe at a bolt of canvas which caught fire like an exploding gas can.

The door was nearby. If she ran now she’d make it out. But what about Barnaby? She’d barely had the thought when something that felt like a bird’s claw gripped her arm and pulled her out the door.

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