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I threw my boots on over my pink POTC pajama pants and flew out of the cabin. Once my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I found a young, blond hottie and shook him awake.
“I can’t do it again, Gunner. You worked me all night,” he said, eyes shut tight. It must have been true what they say about pregnant women being horny.
“Your body is safe from me, darling.” Glancing down I added, “For now at least.” Indeed, I wasn’t dead. “But I need you to round up the hotties and collect all the rum on this ship.”
The rest of the instructions I whispered in his ear, then watched him stagger up the stairs to do my bidding.
The Captain doesn’t know how to celebrate Christmas?
Dashing back into the cabin, I skidded then landed flat on my ass. I was really going to have to clean up this sand. A hottie would be on Hoover duty on the morrow.
Booting up the laptop, I found the bumbling beggars who’d accosted me the day before looking for a hand-out. A quick email and part B of the plan was set in motion.
Now, to wake the crew. And I knew just how to do it. “Wake up you mangy bildge-rats!” I bellowed, pounding on every cabin door I passed. “I want every writing pirate on this ship on the top deck in five minutes!”
A loud thud sounded from each cabin and the resulting groans made me smile. I ignored the three thuds that echoed from Sin’s cabin. No wonder she’d ordered the extra large hammock.
One by one, they scurried into line as I reclined in my Captain’s chair. A more motley lot I’d never seen. And I couldn’t have been prouder.
“You’re late. What do you have to say for yourselves?”
They looked from one to the other, mouths clamped shut. I let them suffer a bit longer then demanded, “Someone answer me.”
Immediately, the crew thrust Bo’sun forward. That’s what she got for being the talker of the bunch.
“We’re, uhm, sorry?”
“Argh, a sorry lot you are. It’s time I did what I should have done a long time ago. Turn your sorry asses around and march.”
Frozen in place, they’re eyes grew to the size of pieces of eight.
Chance muttered to Santa, “She’s throwin’ us to the Kraken. And he ain’t eaten in days. I never should have tried to hug ‘er.”
“I smell like the galley. He’s going to pick me first,” Santa said with an audible gulp.
Scuttlebutt spit in my direction. “This is going to totally fuck up your karma, just so you know.”
“I gave you an order, now turn around.”
Finally following my command, they turned as one … then squealed in surprise. There in front of them, covering the entire back half of the ship, was a make-shift island made up of what must have been a ton of sand and glitter dotted with half a dozen inflatable palm trees. In the center stood a towering Christmas tree decorated with flash drives, ink cartridges and empty rum bottles.
Our hottie crew had proved to be quite resourceful. I made a mental note to give Blondie a special bonus.
The crew raced to the tree, each finding a present with her name on it. Sin ripped into hers and beamed as she pulled shiny new ninja stars from the box. Bo’sun hugged her new Netbook to her chest, and Marn was showing the matching pirate booties and onesies to all who would indulge her.
J Perry found new beads of every color imaginable then settled in a corner to work on a new necklace. Santa mooned over the box of fragrant, imported cheeses, and Hal looked to be speechless as she flipped through the pages of 101 Ways to Kill Without Making a Mess.
I noticed Chancey standing off to the side, looking forlorn at not finding a present of her own.
It was time to give her what she wanted most.
I tapped her on the shoulder. “What’s the matter, Mo?” She tried to look like she didn’t care, but I saw the mist in her eyes.
She ran her nose across her sleeve and said, “Nothing, Cap’n. I’m good. I know I ain’t been on the crew long so’s it makes sense I wouldn’t get nothing.”
I smiled. “But I do have a present for you, Mo.”
She looked back to the tree where all the presents were opened, then back at me in confusion.
“It’s right here.” I threw my arms wide, waiting for her to figure it out. Within seconds I found myself wrapped in the biggest bear hug I’d ever experienced.
Part of my brain twitched and told me to push her off, but I held on tight anyway. Looking up to the sky I whispered, “I won’t blow this second chance, Jane. I promise.”
Just when I thought Chance would squeeze me into an early grave, Sin tapped me on the shoulder.
“Here,” she said, handing me the box she’d tried to give me the day before.
“What is it?”
Looking very pleased with herself, Sin said, “Just the phone number to a certain hottie from the past who might consider giving you another chance at the mushy stuff.”
I couldn’t believe it. My own potential happy ending. Wrapped up in a neat little package with a bow on top.
“How did you find him?”
“International Super Secret Pirate Ninja Tart Spies have their ways,” she said.
“It’s called Google,” chimed in Bo’sun, rolling her eyes.
“Ahoy, Revenge Pirates!” The crew turned to see two strangers climbing aboard the ship. Just the men I wanted to see.
Stepping forward, I thanked the men for returning. Then, loud enough for all to hear, I announced, “I’ve offered these gentlemen the use of this ship to start the Tortuga Writers Sanctuary. Any writer looking for support, inspiration, or merely a means to get away is always welcome to climb aboard The Revenge. Free of charge, no questions asked. What say you, crew?”
“Huzzah!” the crew cheered. “Huzzah!”
And then, as I watched my crew embrace each other amidst tears and laughter, I vowed to appreciate them, to spread the joy of writing, and to make sure every Christmas would always be as perfect as this one.
What would make Christmas perfect for you, matey?