A satirical short fiction based around the shenanigans of cosmetology school.
Captain Jon Wickham paced the forward bow of his ship the Clipper Lady. He fumed, and every time he let out a breath, his curly mustache fluttered above his lips.
“Confound those bloody blighters. What be keepin’ them so long?”
He turned an eye to the watery horizon, silver glass all around them, gray skies above matching his own cloudy steel eyes. The sails snapped in the breeze, as if mimicking his frustration.
“Cap’n,” the first mate Ethram started, squinting against the growing light. “I don’t think she’s gonna show up.”
“She better!” the captain sputtered. “By Jove, she better, or I’ll have her sails fer my washrags.”
Up in the crow’s nest, high above the deck and beyond the canvas sails, Redhand Jess Snipps shielded her eyes from the glare of the ocean. The Jolly Roger flapped and snapped around her head. She frowned. Drawing out a spyglass and fitting it to her eye, she slowly swept the surrounding horizon.
“Nothin’ yet, Cap’n!” she shouted, battling the wind to make her voice heard below.
Wickham snatched the plumed hat off his head and tossed it to the deck. “Blistering barnacles! What be keepin’ her this long?”
“D’ya think she got boarded?” shipmate Angel questioned, her hand resting fidgety on her pistol butt.
The captain froze and turned a weather eye to the rough sea. It was picking up ferocity as the day dawned. The clouds darkened the sea and waves rocked the ship about.
“Aye,” he murmured. “I be thinkin’ that meself.”
“Ho, Cap’n!” Snipps suddenly cried. “Somethin’s appeared southeast in the distance.”
Captain Wickham scooped up his hat again and rushed towards the stern, climbing up the steps to the helm where quartermaster Lorn stood. He stepped aside quickly before the captain could elbow him out of the way. Wickham took up the wheel and shifted the ship’s direction with one quick spin. The entire vessel dipped on its port side. Salty water sprayed into the air, misting the sailors. Coils of rope slithered across the deck. Crewmen scrambled to scooped them up and secure them. In the far-off distance, a black speck bobbed lazily on the horizon line—the source of their excitement.
“Blimey,” Lorn muttered. “‘Bout time they showed their scurvy hides.”
Wickham’s expression remained severe, his thin lips pressed in a grim line. The wind thrust itself into their sails, speeding them towards their target. Despite the rapid pace, it wasn’t until midday before the blight became a recognizable figure.
“It’s her a’right,” Ethram said softly, coming to stand with his captain. “The Late Show. Who’s gettin’ the rift fo’ this ‘un?”
Lorn gave a queer smile and glanced upward. “Let’s give ‘er to Jess. She won’t keep us out till dark.”
“Aye, agreed,” Captain Wickham said. “We’ll come alongside ‘er by high noon. Ready the sweeps.”
“Aye, aye, Cap’n,” the first mate said, nodding as he descended to the main deck.
Jess climbed out of her barrel and scurried down to the deck. The crew were already swarming the area, planks and grappling hooks in hand. Others were monkey-climbing the rigging and grabbing hold of loose, dangling ropes. They prepared to board the Late Show at any minute.
The pirate ship cut through the water, spilling waves on either side as it sped toward the smaller vessel. Crewmen from the other ship ran across the deck in a mad hurry—they knew what was coming. They could not outrun the faster ship, not with the wind working with the Lady, but they sure as Davy Jones tried.
The Clipper Lady cut in front of the Late Show, stealing the wind from her sails. The Lady slowed and both ships stopped dead in the water. A great cry rang out from the Lady‘s crew as they shot the grappling hooks to the other ship. Cannons boomed, tearing through the Late Show‘s wooden hull.
First mate Ethram donned a jaunty hat. He hefted a wicked looking sword with sharp ridges running down the blade. He gave a nod to Snipps, indicating his weapon. “Dis here’s a feather, sharp as a razor.” It glittered in a shaft of sunlight.
Getting ready to scamper across one of the rickety planks, Jess whipped out her own weapon, but something didn’t feel right. Looking down at the object in her hand, she found a pair of polished shears. Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
What the Dickens?
“Take ‘er down, Snipps,” the captain ordered, pulling a blood-red hairdryer from his belt.
Something isn’t right, Jess thought again, and looked out towards the other ship.
Then Jess saw her—the captain of the Late Show. A fierce woman with the thickest mane of hair Jess had ever seen. The hair was curly and wild, blowing about on the wind as if it were alive and was ready to attack. Someone had done a hack-job on it before and tried to cut through the thickness, but that only made it grow. Besides all of this, however, was something far more terrifying to Redhand Jess . . .
. . . Dreadlocks.