Here’s another “Short Story”, more of what I’d call a ‘Brautigan’, as it is in the short, poetic-speak style of Richard Brautigan’s short work. This is another one from back in the vaults, so cut me a little slack in the content department – though I will say it was written looong before PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN or the current Pirate Fad making the rounds.
Check it out.
THE OFFICE PIRATE
There is a man who works in my office, he has a wooden leg.
It is not an ultra-realistic, fully-articulated and scientifically designed prosthetic.
He has a real wooden leg, a one-and-a-half foot stump below his knee.
A polished oak coffee-table leg, standing suspiciously under his blood-red pantaloons.
I come in early most days, 5:45 or so, and hide behind my cubicle wall just to see him as he enters the floor. At 6 a.m. I hear his card key as it buzzes through the door, awakening the sleeping electronic guardsmen that keep us safe from the outside world. 6 a.m. on the dot, he is never early and never late.
Punctuality is a given in a man who arrives before the sun.
His Galleon floats effortlessly down the width of the still-empty halls, shrouded in a pea-soup fog, and smelling faintly of the sea.
The huge boat comes to rest directly across from the small kitchenette, with it’s gleaming steel sink and towering coffee dispenser. He drops anchor and wades ashore, a cold gleaming cutlass in one gloved hand, a thermal mug in the other.
With his tankard filled and his eyes brimming with thoughts of kidnapped women and bountiful golden booty, he reboards his vessel and sails on, drifting slowly down the hallway, past the fax and the copier, and turns left around a dark and mystic corner. The dark flag, with its facetiously snarling skull, curls in the soft ocean breeze and disappears, swallowed up in the pre-dawn mist as a bell-buoy tolls lonely amid the waves.
By 6:30 the fog has melted away, seeping out through cracks in the outer walls, and the carpets are dry and salt-free. As the first of our coworkers arrive near 7, I emerge from my hiding place and see him, the Office Pirate, limping ever-so slightly as he joins the morning banter by the laser printer. Adjusting the lapels of his charcoal grey suit and straightening his Brooks Brothers tie.
No one seems to notice the smell of rum still seeping from between his sharp Pirate teeth, and no one raises an eyebrow when he pays for a bagel with a tarnished gold doubloon.