Posts Tagged ‘Open End’

(This story follows The Pirate’s Story-1. b.)

Elixir Of Life ©

The night still hung over the Atlantic. Open End suddenly shot up in his bed and eyes snapped open. If there was a scream it just trailed away in a whimper. It was a bad dream all right and Snake-Eyes his valet was at hand to get him come out of it. Snake-Eyes, the man from Memphis, was also the bo’s’n, his physician and spirit counselor all rolled in one. “ Is the ship on course?” Open End asked. Snake-Eyes nodded and said he would fix him a jug of toddy. Open End drank. It tasted unlike anything he had ever tasted which went under the heading of toddy. Sheepishly the man from Memphis said it was a new concoction. In the end he volunteered to explain it was the food of the gods.
After a pause he asked, “You don’t like it Cap’n?” The pirate said it was indeed the food of the gods and he had nothing against the drink. “Only that S.E, I just dreamt a dream, a terrible one at that.” Open End moped his forehead and his bewilderment was still obvious. “In my dream I was the food for the gods.”
Before Snake-Eyes could digest this he asked in a puzzle,” What is a pulque?” No man came more superstitious than the man from Memphis and he
knew the matter was serious. He explained, ”It is a beverage made from the sap of Maguey or century plant.” Next moment he wondered loud, ”Those plants are only found in Mexico!”
“Why on earth would I want to think of pulque?” Open End still remained amazed. He had never for once tasted the fermented drink or heard the name mentioned; and yet he was speaking of matters real. “But it is a dream. What has it got to do with the real?” Open End considered his ship as real as his treasure chests that he had buried in places Snake-Eyes would have never dreamed of.
Had the man from Memphis said the drink was the favorite drink of a Huastec god it would have made the pirate nervous; and the thought it was what a sacrificial victim got to drink before being dispatched to the underworld would certainly have made him squirm. Snake-Eyes said instead,” Pulque is grown in Mexico and it is very much part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain; and we are in that world which explains your dream however fanciful…” Open End waved him away unable to stand some abstruse nonsense that did not peel an onion, as far as he was concerned. However. He was still shaking. Only the thought his dream was vivid and he was in a fancy dress playing some game in order to please some god was revolting enough….



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Love Among The Ruins©

(This is another tale from the Adventures of Open End. Valentine’s Day is in the offing. It is only appropriate then to post an episode from the life of  this  scabrous pirate in which he is ready to give a shot at love.b)
It was the month of March. Open End was holed up in Cartegena, Colombia and from the day one it was clear to the pirate those who belonged to the Golden Cockerel were a breed apart. The Golden Cockerel was a club where every member had class.  It was housed in a palace. All the streets led to it and ornate carriages riding on sent swirls of dust and the locals were to accept them as a class apart.And they didn’t care two hoots if they were inconvenienced. Open End of course was not there to acquire any class but to clear a doubt: What made them special?
The palace stood in its solitary grandeur surrounded by a sea of manicured lawn dotted with every sort of tropical plants; and not a plant among them was allowed to be there by accident. They were chosen for its color, fruits and form and they served a purpose. The lush growth of greenery merely tickled the fancies of those chosen few as they drove through its serpentine driveway to be received by a liveried footman. Within the cool halls paved in marble the ones who were admitted could recapture through a fretwork of Moorish design, those bygone glories of Cordoba. Those who had come from their wearied travels to pant before an elaborately carved fountain in the central courtyard perhaps thought of pleasures of paradise to come. Where the senses wearied of every day smells and sounds here was a heaven on earth! It was a paradise, which the Moors longed for. It was an impossible dream but in Cartagena it was an every day reality. Of course for Open End it was a challenge that he could not escape.
At the Golden Cockerel no one lived in the past or for future. They held the glory of Spain in a palace, which was dedicated to uphold the highest ideals of the realm. The Palace of Thousand Ports. Yes those who streamed to its portals would have done business at thousands or more ports of the world. Only the blue blooded darkened its halls and there they lolled all day while an army of lackeys let themselves into a lather dancing to their tune. What was the name of the tune they so brazenly called for? Privileged We Are. It did not matter if it was out of tune but who sang and for whose benefit alone counted. Open End could not believe it. He had taken enough knocks as a pirate and told so many lies to gain an advantage he didn’t think his uppercase was the sole arbiter to his sanity. Whenever he felt confused all those money in his treasure chests seemed to convince him he was as good as those hidalgos whom he had in so many encounters worsted time and time again.  He took a hard and long look at himself. He was low born and lived a low life all through. Or was he under some delusion?
Somewhere some one had goofed. So much so he was certain! Otherwise why would he seek out three months ago the haberdasher by appointment to the King? Did he not tell him, ’Money is of no concern fellow? In reply he grimaced but took order meekly the man who took the measure of kings and fitted him out in clothes, which would have tickled any blue blooded duchess. He had paid in gold for pleasing his tailor who received it in his gloved hand as if it were all a mistake. A bag of silver had seen to his conveyance. The grubby fellow who supplied the carriage with plush cushions and a liveried driver looked at him as if his cat had left him overnight at his door. But the money was real and he had to accept him at its face value. All those accoutrements and money spent for his appearance pleased numerous tradesmen who still seemed not to take him for real. Did he belong to the privileged class? Or was it all a mistake?
What a flood in silver and gold had he let stream forth! He cut every inch a hidalgo of infinite dash and polish, which shimmered up to his ruff. Dressed with the best the money could buy he was as privileged as any. But his confusion didn’t just go away.
The Golden Cockerel set belonged to an exclusive club. The Golden Cockerel surely had sympathy for anyone whose credentials were his own person but the door nevertheless remained shut. No wonder Open End would have been thrown out unceremoniously had he ever tried to get in by his own steam. It was unfair. How the privileged had set themselves a class apart went against his grain so to speak. His ingrained democratic values were in for a shock at what he came up against in Cartagena. It was intolerable. Unknown to him he was privileged as they….

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How Open End Kept His Promise©
(selected from the Adventures of Open End. Open End was a pirate who only wanted a piece of the action at a time when the kings of Old Europe thought the Americas was ready for plucking. There was so much gold and silver over which no one had any exclusive rights, divine or otherwise. The Divine Rights that Europe touted in their domain didn’t extend there. Open End saw so much wealth and exclaimed, “I have needs therefore I exist.” Philosopher Descartes could not have summed it more succinctly. Only after he said ‘yea’ to free enterprise did he realize all he deserved for his pains was a rope from the yard arm. Well he knew how to play the game while the Kingdoms of this world played the Great Game.

Out of seven adventures this story is the first.)
…While Queen Elizabeth ruled England, Old Spain together with Portugal would have carved the wealth of Americas between themselves if they could. But news such as this cannot be hid for long. It was only a matter of time the news reached the ears of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
“The New World shall never survive this!” exclaimed those officials who counseled the Sultan; but he had his own plate full at the moment. He did not care for the Americas or Helios.
Helios was a one-camel town in his empire, which was collapsing under neglect. In a small town where the only exciting feature was the town- gate that led one out, Murcius, a young lad was dying of boredom. Day by day. He would have got out. But where to? He had no idea.
Oblivious of what momentous events were being played out on the open seas Murcius tried to liven up his miserable life a little. Helios did not particularly inspire him. He thought at first Tripoli was where the action was. For his neighbor’s son, the one who worked for an Agha in Istanbul had come on leave and told him the streets anywhere in the chief city of the Ottoman Empire were paved with gold. He said, ’Murcius you ought to do something with your life.’ Murcius, young and hot blooded that he was, knew he had a sure lead. He would not waste his life with slim pickings in Tripoli. So it was to Turkey he went before the law began showing undue interest in him. He knew he could be nailed over some petty thieving done in the past.
He laughed all the way to Asia Minor thinking what he had escaped. His town didn’t mean a thing. ”What a dump!” thus he dismissed the land of his fathers. He would have liked to step down in style in Istanbul but a little fracas aboard the dhow made it impossible. As a result the other passengers caught him hand and foot and threw him unceremoniously over board. They were also in that vessel for the same reason as he. ‘One less to compete with’, thought they.
This incident made him realize that it was a meeting with Destiny. There was no doubt of that. He saw a great white shark, which surfaced as if out of nowhere. The murderous shark didn’t waver but made a beeline towards him and it meant business. He was a good swimmer so he gave a stiff competition to it. He was saved in time. At that moment hazily he thought, an angel had come down, to save him. Just as what that old monk in Helios had been telling. From that moment he was sold out to his belief: he was a child of Destiny!….

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