Character: sea captain
Problem: must make a sacrifice
Setting: railroad track
Prop: a velvet curtain
THE BALLAD OF CAPTAIN JACK SCURVY
Captain Jack set sail one morn, in a stiff nor’ westerly breeze,
Aboard Miss Jane, the finest ship to travel the seven seas.
Her crew was rough, but skillful; they could steer by sun and stars.
Jack’s only fear, apart from storms, was the lure of girls and bars.
This trip might prove his bravest quest, to find the hoard of gold
He’d heard about from sailors’ tales and a map he kept in the hold.
They set a course for Rintanzu, the isles where the treasure lay.
The first leg took a fortnight; they anchored in Jellicoe Bay.
The bo’sun checked the rigging; then he said to Captain Jack,
“Let’s row ashore, quench our thirst at Ben’s Inn by the railway track.”
All agreed they’d earned a hearty meal and good night’s rest;
Before Jack left Miss Jane, he slipped a scroll inside his vest.
He did not care for whisky; of women he’d had his fill,
But sounds behind a velvet curtain stirred a familiar thrill.
He saw the cards, the kitty, and a welcoming nod from Ben.
Jack’s heart raced as he jingled his coins and entered the gamblers’ den.
He parted with gilders and ducats; he lost his shillings and pence.
Instead of quitting while he could, Jack tossed in all his cents.
Another loss; what next to risk? His silver watch and chain?
The hidden scroll? He stalled; he heard the whistle of a train.
The landlord scratched his whiskers, and at last poor Jacky twigged:
Ben ran a shady business here, and every deal was rigged.
“A jolly game, lads,” Jacky said, “but more than I can afford.
Whoever wins this hand will get the chance to find a hoard.”
The players grabbed the map and traced the X that marked the spot.
“That’ll cover me debts!” called Jack, escaping to his yacht.
His loyal shipmates followed, but without their usual zest.
Querying his sanity, they thought they’d lost the quest.
“Rintanzu!” cried Captain Jack. “We’re off to dig for gold.
Forget about Ben’s Inn, me boys. The real map’s in the hold.”
© Hazel Spire