|paint and ink|
"No, we aren't pirates Mooney. We are still fishing boat captains."
"But maybe there is something we could learn from pirates Mooney. Maybe a little pirate magic." Sully looked around the room.
He unfurled the 5 foot long map and slammed empty mugs on to the map corners to keep it open.
"What do you see?" he asked them.
The fishing boat captains gathered around the table. They looked from Sully to the map and back again puzzled. The moon light began to flow through the pub windows, slowly growing brighter and brighter until the map was almost blinding. Sully stepped back. The men shaded their eyes and leaned in.
The bartender, who had been pretending to busy himself with a dishtowel saw that the crazy fishing boat captains were standing around an empty table, each one staring at a different place on the dark table top, transfixed by ... nothing.
"These guys have finally gone off the deep end", he thought to himself.
Suddenly, the pub's lights flickered and dimmed. The bartender reached under the bar for his flashlight and when he looked up, the lights were on and the bar was empty. "What the hell?!" he screamed.
Epilogue (1 year later)
Captain Mooney helped the dozen little girls and their mothers off her boat. "These boating birthday parties are so much fun", she thought to herself. One of the mothers asked Captain Mooney how she came up with this clever idea and how long she had been doing this. "Hmm, well, it just came to me about a year ago. The industry I was in had changed and I decided I needed a change, too." "Well, we're glad you did - this pirate party at sea was so much fun for the girls".
Mooney waved good-bye to the party-goers and headed down to the pub for a drink. She looked over at the Etsy Marina sign. Mooney didn't dock there anymore, but she knew some of the old-timers who were still there and doing OK - and she was happy for them.
She didn't see any new faces - the fishing boats were mostly guided electronically now that hands were not required to be on the ship's wheels and although she saw customers boarding those boats, there were still some customers who wanted a real-deal fishing boat captain with her hands on the wheel of their charter boat. The bad news for the old timers was that it was harder for the customers to find them, the good news was that all the competition looked the same.
The place was different, but this was ok because Mooney was different, too.
It was almost a year since the night she had been in the bar with Sully and the other Captains. She must have had too much to drink because all she could remember was a HUGE moon and looking at a crazy treasure map Sully had found and seeing ... something about treasure ... she could never remember ...
She remembered waking up the next morning feeling slightly hungover and well, let's just say it, Mooney thought to herself, "pretty freakin' fearless." Like, she knew her future was totally in her own hands and instead of that thought scaring the hell out of her like it used to, it made her totally anxious to get started. They were the hands that had held the wheel until now after all. She just knew her treasure was out there, hell she'd seen it! Or she thought she had, she wished she hadn't drank so much ...
She had only talked to one other fishing boat captain about the night Mooney had blacked out and Captain Jim hadn't remembered anything either. He did tell Mooney that night was when he decided to start his own little marina and Captain Jane had decided to take that job with the local company, the one who's stock had exploded and she bought that alpaca farm up in Maine. "I can't believe we were all so worried last year Mooney", Captain Jim had said, "it seems like all our sea legs landed on stable ground. Even the marina people who jumped ship have landed safely, I hear."
The only thing Mooney still worried about was Sully. She hadn't seen him in almost a year - not since the night with the map. People did catch sight of his boat now and then - Mooney had heard he had a pirate flag on his mast now - and that was enough to let them all know he was ok - they knew his hands would always be on that wheel.
Mooney finished her pint and headed for the door looking at the faded fishing rules sign on the pub wall - it's funny she thought, I wonder if the marina people had seen our rules before they changed theirs, if we had been able to get them to understand us, if that would have made any difference.
Outside, the moon was shining brightly and a newspaper reporter was interviewing worried people about the latest wash up of 'hands' down at the marina. These guys are here every month, Mooney thought shaking her head.
"What are they this time?" Mooney asked him."Female, maybe a size 10, leftie", the reporter answered before catching sight of the marina spokesman and taking off after him. As Mooney pedaled away on her bike, she could hear the marina spokesman saying:
"This is no cause for concern people. Hands are not as needed as they used to be. Machines can do the hands-on part for us all now. This is not a problem."
Mooney couldn't help noticing the spokesman had a metal hook where his right hand should have been. For a second Mooney thought she caught sight of a pirate flag on a ship heading out to sea ... no, she thought to herself, it couldn't be ...
(disclaimer from Olive - all characters and companies appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons or companies, living or dead, is purely coincidental)