Captain Stanley

Captain Stanley was brave, brave enough, anyway. He captained a rowboat with a soaring mast probably meant for a fairly large sailboat, and a tiny cannon he nailed to the very modest prow’s awkwardly carved figurehead, which was meant to resemble Captain Stanley’s mother, in her youth.

Captain Stanley’s fixation on his mother was weird maybe to some people. Yeah. But she was still his quintessence of womanhood, despite what they might think.

The figurehead itself better resembled a hacked at and unpolished block of wood, though.

Captain Stanley was proud of it, nevertheless. Once even, in a fit of pride, he showed off his craftsmanship to his mother, but she was unmoved and shrill. He cursed himself for thinking he had anything to offer the quintessence of womanhood.


Captain Stanley wore the curved half trunk of an oak tree. His half-trunk choat (he spelled coat with an ‘h’ for whatever reason) had two armholes out of which his arms managed to wriggle but with considerably shortened range of motion. Captain Stanley didn’t care. He would regale anyone who’d listen with stories of his choat’s great buoyancy.

Captain Stanley’s journeys led him from a local estuary and down the length of the coast of New Hampshire, all the way to Salem — though he made this journey only once. It was an accident that he started on this journey in the first place. He’d Rip Van Winkled himself into a deep slumber; and he awoke with no sense of where precisely he’d drifted. But he made the most of this fateful turn, or that is, until tragedy shivered his timbers.


The trouble began when Captain Stanley’s small cannon fired or misfired on a yacht owned and occupied by wealthy New Englanders who wore pompous seafaring attire like white sweater vests and sailing caps with stitched blue anchors set just above their brims.

The trouble continued when Captain Stanley misguidedly attempted to board the besieged yacht. And having already winged the arm of the white-haired, healthy-tanned skipper / owner of the vessel with his mini-cannonball, Captain Stanley was not to be assisted in this endeavor by anyone onboard. Objects were thrown upon him. Naval warships were summoned to sink him.

The odds of a triumphant victory were not very good, then, Captain Stanley surmised. He was sad that it had come to this, but not sad that he was a pirate. He would never be sad for that. And now he would die.

“Kill him, kill him!” the occupants of the yacht seethed, urging the naval vessels to unleash the full brunt of their weaponry.


Captain Stanley’s mind wandered, and he remembered a day in his youth when a cousin had complained the apples his mother bought were rotten and terrible. “No!” exclaimed cherubic Captain Stanley, tearfully eating so many apples as fast as he could. But they were rotten and terrible, and – oh shoot – that’s what Captain Stanley soon realized, puking into a washbasin. But now he was a pirate, his own man, and the American Navy and wealthy New Englanders would kill him for it.

“Really terrible apples,” he grimaced proudly, not once thinking of the tragedy about to shiver his timbers.


Matt Rowan will blog and blog often, here.