Going on the Account: Cast Thee to the Lazarette

The latest from off Somalia: The Russians are now capturing pirates, though where they’re being taken is not mentioned in this piece from the BBC.  If they don’t give them to local authorities, that’d mean a trial back in Russia; if I were the pirates, I’d have wished that I’d been in New York with Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse…


Then again, maybe not; the swine flu fear in the city as I write this [EDIT: and is now a dead link; that’s the news cycle for ye…] is palpable.  With a wife and son in a public school (as employee and student, just to clarify things), the worry is high about exposure, and indeed, a communicable disease with what might be a high mortality rate (10% out of all cases in Mexico, unless they get a better infectious count to move the numbers down) is nothing to take lightly.  Any time when if you getsick you have better odds of it killing you than taking the subway would, then it’s time to be concerned…


Mind you, getting sick as a pirate was  a given that went with the job.  In addition to traumas and lacerations from combat, there was the persistent likelihood of gangrene from badly treated wounds and the many STDs caught during liberty calls.  Staying aboard ship too long wasn’t the best way to avoid health problems, as scurvy was likely for those too long aboard.  And if you wanted to go for the whole regalia as a buccaneer, complete with parrot on the shoulder, you’d have to worry about parrot fever

There’s a famous story about Blackbeard’s blockade of Charleston in 1718.  He bottled up the harbor with the Queen Anne’s Revenge  and took hostages, threatening to kill them if they did not meet his demands.  At the last possible minute, beyond the deadline but before the slaughter of the hostages could begin, the citizens of the colony gave in to his demands and paid him… with a medicine chest.  Most likely he needed to treat the effects of STDs ravaging his men, who otherwise might not have gotten treated had Blackbeard not taken this tack.  (Insert your own jokes about finding a good doctor in South Carolina here, folks…)


If anything, this has made me go back to some notes I had for another project.  It was meant for a work that involved a plague hitting in modern times, and the challenges left to the survivors.  I shared a summary of an initial take on my story with the Lovely and Talented Susan, and she was honest:  “Congratulations on your reworking of I Am Legend, Jim.”  (No not the movie, the original book; thank God I didn’t screw up THAT bad…)  So it went back into development hell (which is more like purgatory the way I treat my projects), with some more imaginative considerations applied to the notes for development later on. 


Originally, it would have been a lot later on; if this H1N1 outbreak keeps distracting me like this, though, well…

Leave a comment

Filed under Pirates, Writing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s