Chapter 24

Fay skipped the Cinnamon Rogers and ate eggs for breakfast. At school, she entered her classroom to find Barnaby Hootsman staring at her through the wrong end of a plastic spyglass.

“Fay LaFarge!” he hooted. “You’re two inches tall!”

“Hootsman!” she replied. “You should’ve been a swabby!”

“Now now, boys and girls,” interrupted Miss Parsnip, giving the unmistakable hand signal that meant “everyone sit down.” “Yesterday’s field trip was so fraught with mishap that I never had the chance to tell you about my great-great-great Auntie Bonny Patty Parsnip!”

“Swell,” whispered Fay to Franny. “I was so hoping she’d gotten pirates out of her system by now.”

Miss Parsnip caught Fay in a teacherly glare.
“Fay LaFarge,” said Miss Parsnip. “You and Barnaby were the only children who saw the re-enactors’ exhibit. What can you tell us about Bonny Patty?”

“She ran a store,” Fay replied. “With her father.”

“A useless store,” cut in Barnaby. “No Pepsi, no trading cards, no atomic fireballs…”

Donny Bing waved his hand above his head. “How many kinds of soup did they sell in the olden days?” he asked.

“It wasn’t a soup store,” replied Fay.

Judy Fipple’s hand shot up next. “It wouldn’t have been a flower shop either,” she said. “Cut flowers can only be safely transported and preserved using modern refrigeration.”

“If you ask me,” said Barnaby, “It was a pickle store.”

“It was a general store,” said Fay. “Until the pirates burned it down.”

“Yes,” said Miss Parsnip with a nod. “According to Parsnip family legend it was when Bonny Patty lost her store in a pirate raid, that she commandeered an abandoned ship and became a buccaneer herself.”

“That’s crazy,” said Fay. “Did she have a crew?”

“Ah yes,” said Miss Parsnip with a strange and wistful sigh, “she acquired a crew…but at first there was only her paramour.”

“Pair of what?” asked Barnaby.

“Paramour,” said Miss Parsnip. “Boyfriend, lover, first mate…his name was Roger McCorley.”

“McCorley?” said Fay with a choke. “More mass, go get garbage McCorley?”

“If he had a nickname like that,” answered Miss Parsnip sternly, “I was certainly unaware of it.”

“How desperately romantic,” enthused Judy Fipple. “I hope they had a beautiful wedding…with flowers.”

Barnaby jumped out of his seat and danced a swooning jig, his hands preciously clasped. “Romance, romance,” he sang. “Oh lovely romance! Too bad it’ll never happen to you Fay LaFarge.”

“Too bad you’re going to fall in the mud on your way home Hootsman,” replied Fay.

“Now now,” chided Miss Parsnip, “you two remind me of another part of Elbow Harbor pirate lore.”

“The muddy part?” asked Barnaby.

“The wicked part,” responded Miss Parsnip, giving the “settle down class” hand signal. “The part about Bonny Patty’s rivals on the high seas. The bloodthirsty Captain Yellow Tooth and his mysterious first mate, The Pink Scorpion.”

“The Pink Scorpion,” cooed Judy Fipple with obvious admiration.

“Mind you,” said Miss Parsnip. “She was as cutthroat as they come. With those two on the loose, Bonny Patty defended harbor towns as often as she hunted treasure.”

“The Pink Scorpion,” said Fay with a knowing glance at Barnaby, who smirked in acknowledgment.

“There now, boys and girls,” sighed Miss Parsnip. “It’s been a lovely legend to share, but we must get on with our schoolwork…and I musn’t be late tonight. I have a dinner date, at Chez Crispette.”

“Miss Parsnip!” exclaimed Fay. “Who are you going out with?”

“That’s for me to know,” replied Miss Parsnip coyly. “Fractions everyone!”

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