Alexander White and the Pirates (and Goblins)
Goblin stories by Zsolt Kerekes
Meanwhile back in the sitting room - at Jibb Cottage in Privett -
Alexander's father, Andrew, was rocking gently to and fro in the rocker by the
fireplace... This was a getting to be a long story and he was musing
about the experimental drinks machine and what might go in it.
"What happened next?" he asked loudly, eyes wide open.
"I don't think you've heard a single word I've said in the last ten minutes" replied Joanna. "You were far gone."
"Nonsense! I heard every word. ...Something about Alexander leaving a note to the navy captain, with another note from you to watch out for fleas. I was just trying to puzzle that bit out when I shut my eyes to concentrate."
He started scratching himself nervously.
"You don't need to worry about fleas" said Joanna. "In fact I realise now why we haven't found any on the dog ever since the goblin minions arrived. Goblins taste disgusting! So fleas avoid them, and anyone who is close to the goblins also gets the benefit of that protection. The pirate ship was riddled with fleas and hundreds of them jumped onto Spellabyte and me when we got aboard the pirate ship. He didn't have a spell for that and we just had to catch them or get eaten alive. When Alex and his merry men came back to the ship in their jolly boat I was surprised to see that he was bug free. But as soon as the pirates climbed back onboard most of the fleas hopped off us and made a beeline for them."
"Can you have a beeline of fleas?" asked Andrew, trying to imagine hundreds of big fat fleas hopping in a straight line. He wasn't sure if "beeline" was the right collective noun. But "flealine" didn't sound right either. "Sorry. Do continue."
"I presume the fleas got a whiff of pirate. They are a bit stinky, you
know, worse than an old dog that's come in from the rain. After all that time
breeding on the pirate ship, the fleas must have got addicted to the taste of
blood mixed with a splash of rum. Which is why they were so keen to leave us.
Anyway the fleas a made a flealine straight to the pirates, who didn't seem to
mind at all. Although I was pleased to get rid of them, it was very unpleasant
to watch. Like one of those horror films with killer ants. It makes me feel
itchy all over just talking about it...
"And what was that?" asked Andrew brightening up at the image of three pirates perched on the edge of the plank above the jaws of their giant shark. He wondered what the collective noun was for a trio of pirates? Was it a crew? Or a medley? Or a big stink of pirates?
"Then came the tricky part. Each goblin had to hug a pirate until his fleas started hopping off. That way if the pirates accidentally fell off, they wouldn't be eaten by the shark. With the wind in the right direction , and having nowhere else to go at the end of the plank, the fleas all sprayed off in a black cloud, and were drowned."
"A fitting end for all pirate vermin" said Andrew, making a joke.
"Well that got rid of most of them. But the ship will have to be fumigated when they get back in to port. Otherwise more fleas will hatch out."
"Port? Yes, that reminds me about the note Alex left for the navy captain" said Andrew. "How did that come about?"
"Well, after we got the flea situation under control and Alex told me what had happened on the destroyer, I suggested that he should go back and leave a note. So Alex and I went back on our own to the destroyer on Spellabyte's magic carpet. The goblins assured me it would be safe, because their sleep spells usually last for several hours."
"I'm surprised they didn't go with you. It's unusual for the minions to leave Alex. What did they get up to while you and he were gone?"
"They seemed very interested in watching one of the pirates. Shivermitimbers - I think he's called. He and Spellabyte were carrying out an important operation. Something to do with plumbing in a vending machine they'd taken from the destroyer."
"You flew the magic carpet all by yourself?" asked Andrew incredulous. "Was it difficult?"
"It's a magic carpet Andrew. Spellabyte just told it to do what I said. It's much easier than driving a car. Anyway the goblins said that Gunnar (the goblin king) would be very interested in knowing how the vending machine operation was done, and Spellabyte got sucked into it as well, because the pirate ship didn't have any electricity. And he was going to fix that. I got the impression he thought that a vending machine, with pirate enhancements, would be useful thing for a software wizard to have in his cave. And he wanted to work on the prototype. I could see that they would all be playing with the machine for hours, and I didn't want to waste any more time. Alex and I also took along some barrels of rum and vodka as a "thank you" present for captain Smith on the destroyer. While we were there we also found Alexander's bed and slung it under the magic carpet with some ropes."
"I'd forgotten about the bed" said Andrew, who had been at work when Alex and Joanna came back home."Should we put in an insurance claim?... How would we account for the bed being soaked in seawater? I assume he's sleeping upstairs in Charlies' room. I didn't want to go crashing up the stairs on these crutches. I thought it might wake him."
"He's sleeping on his own bed. The goblins carried it upstairs for me when we got home. And you don't have to worry about the insurance claim. Spellerbyte arranged things on the flight home. The bed was dangled under the magic carpet. First it got thoroughly washed in some rain clouds and then air dried in the sun. The mattress and bedding smell better than new. It made me think it's about time we got ourselves a new mattress. The sales will be starting next week."
So this was going to cost a new bed after all, thought Andrew, but he didn't say anything.
Joanna continued "The only lasting damage is the shark toothprints on the bed posts, but it's not worth sanding them out. Alex will want to keep them as a souvenir."
"All's well that ends well then" said Andrew. "When I tell Zsolt (Alexander's godfather) about this little maritime adventure, he'll probably want to write it up as 'Alexander Whyte and the Pirates'. That will be more interesting than most of the other stories he's written. By the way, did you get any pictures of the pirates? No one seems to believe the goblins are real from the cartoon pictures on goblinsearch.com. But the goblins don't like being photographed."
"I'm sorry Andew, but I didn't think of taking my camera with me when I found Alexander's bed missing. Anyway, this story is not quite over yet. So there might be another chance for a photo shoot. You see, Alexander was worried about what would happen to the pirates when they turn up in Portsmouth. As wanted pirates they're bound to get arrested sooner or later. So I promised that you'd give them a bit of free legal advice. I lent Captain Feary my mobile phone and he's going to ring your office as soon as they get in. Normally it would take two to three days' sailing to get here, but under shark power it will be quicker. You can probably expect a call sometime tomorrow morning."
"I'd better refresh myself on the legal aspects of buccanneering then" said Andrew, hopping along to the bookcase which was built into the wall on both sides of the fireplace. He leaned against one of the solid heavy shelves and rested his crutches. Then he reached for the book he was looking for and held it firmly squeezed under one arm. He hopped back to his armchair and started rifling through the pages.
"It looks too thin to be a law book" commented Joanna from the other side of the room. "What is it?"
"Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson" said
Andrew. "I'll look up some proper references in the office, but this will
give me the right sort of historic background."
"Ah! Lovely. Thanks Marion," said Andrew, as she
placed the saucer carefully on the middle of his desk blotter and then fluffed
up his cushion, before he sat down. "I'm expecting a call today from a very
important new client. His name is Captain F. If Captain F should ring, please
put him through directly, no matter what I'm doing. Oh, and Marion, when our new
client arrives, he doesn't drink tea, lovely as it is" and he slurped some
of it to amplify his point. "Can you please get some money out of petty
cash and send someone round to the pub to buy about ten large bottles of rum."
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This is a work of fiction. All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to actual goblins living or dead is purely coincidental or due to ensorclement beyond our control