Sunday, August 13, 2006

Run out the guns! 

After church today I decided to get ready to go the beach and then get in my car and drive til I found one. Living in Tampa, it's not overly hard. I headed West til I saw water, and then, lo and behold, I was on Clearwater Beach, which boasts an average of 361 days of sunshine per year. It took me a little longer to get there than I should have liked, but then again it was farther away than I suspected. Nevertheless, I spent an entirely pleasant afternoon lounging in the sun, reading my book, and breathing in the salt air - an activity I heartily recommend. While sitting in my foldable, transportable chair-in-a-bag and drinking in the sun, I noticed a three masted ship not too far off the shore. It was not under sail but looked as though it should be. Actually, it looked like a party boat dressed up like a pirate ship - like a boat you could rent for a fancy corporate "team-building" event. I subsequently ignored it.

Until it fired on us.

That's right. I was reading my book when the air was ripped with the bass boom of cannon fire. Recalling the sound as a familiar one from my previous life as a swashbuckler, I looked up suddenly, curious to see smoke emitting from the ship's side. Then, even move curious, I noted two more gun ports being opened and guns being run out, only to be fired seconds later. Now, this cannot be confirmed, but I suspect they were not actually shooting cannonballs, but merely "dry-firing" as they say. All told though, it had an humorously unsettling effect that simply added to the afternoon's color.

Grouper fingers and a beer were had for dinner at a local beachside cafe and I wrapped up my excursion. I believe I shall make a habit of this.



"...and coming within Gun-Shot of the Pyrate, received his Fire."

"...Black-beard hailed him in this rude Manner: 'Damn you for Villains, who are you? And, from whence came you?'

"The Lieutenant made him Answer, 'You may see by our Colours we are no Pyrates.'

"Black-beard bid him send his Boat on board, that he might see who he was; but Mr. Maynard reply'd thus: 'I cannot spare my Boat, but I will come aboard of you as soon as I can, with my Sloop.'

"Upon this, Black-beard took a Glass of Liquor, and drank to him with these Words: 'Damnation seize my Soul if I give you Quarters, or take any from you.'

"In Answer to which, Mr. Maynard told him, that he expected no Quarters from him, nor should he give him any."

--Daniel Defoe, A General History of the Pyrates

By Blogger Baruch Grazer, at 11:43 AM  

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