I started gathering a few of Los Chicos together to go aboard the Pink Bathtub: Halcón, the eyes of the ship; Ballena and El Bandito, two crew members; and mi'jo Juanito. I was reluctant to let him come along, pero insistió. He simply insisted. I figured, fine, let him come. He'd be able to see how not to run a ship.
Just before we set across the gangplank to the docks, Ignacio cried out, "¡Capitana! ¡Mira al cielo!" He decided to give his weak English a shot. "Sheep coming!" We raced to the edge and looked out to the horizon. Out of un banco de niebla crawled a rickety, transparent ship.
"¡Es El Holandés Volando!" Juanito cried excitedly. "¡Va a La Bañera Rosada!" Sure enough, the boy was right: the Flying Dutchman was headed straight for the Daffodil.
"¿Qué hacemos?" Ballena asked. What do we do?
"Esperamos, y miramos." We wait, and we watch. I wanted to see how these tontos would deal with ghost pirates.
Tengo que admitir, I must admit, they were more than capable... en su propia manera rara, in their own strange way.
El Capitán bellowed over el viento alto that had come with the Dutchman's arrival, his crew fumbled about on deck as usual. I spotted Janey scurrying below deck, then reappear with a handful of cutlery. Then, with skill I've only seen in Asia, she flung the knives across the gap towards the ghostly crew. Surprisingly, they cried out in agony as the blades struck, pero no había sangre. Not a drop of blood to be seen, much to Juanito's dismay. Seemingly out of nowhere one I could only assume to be the cook produced a great melon and managed to hurl it over, replacing the first mate's head.
El Francés clambered up the boom, crying out in the general valient, pompously French way, threatening to take all of the ghosts on, cutlass in hand. But it was that little creature way up the mast who I've spotted a time or two that ultimately won the day: using a very crooked telescope and a good throw, he chucked it like a boomerang across the Dutchman's deck, swabbing all the crew with it. Just as it returned faithfully a las manos esperandos de su dueño the Dutchman sounded the retreat.
I couldn't believe it. They actually did it. But I didn't have time to dwell on the absurdity of it: in all the ensuing excitement Juanito took off down the gangblank and slunk towards the Daffodil.
"¡Juanito! ¡Ven acá!" I cried after him. But he chose to ignore my summons like the adolescent he is. Chicos. Nunca tienen un sentido de tiempo. Never really had a good sense of timing, los tontos. I motioned for Los Chicos to follow, pero en una manera más clandestino, much more clandestine than mi'jo.
When we arrived a few minutes later, to my utter dismay, Juanito had already made his appearance. Miércoles.
"¡Quiero felicitarse en su victoria, señores!" he declared to the Daffodil. I had to smack myself; clearly I never told Juanito of Sandy's suspicion, fear, and hatred of the Spanish language (I learned English pretty quickly with him around, let me tell you).
"What did'je say t'me?" I heard Bottoms growl. Juanito, el pobrecito, must've been floundering; on an exceedingly good day he could barely understand proper English, forget about half-drunken English.
"¿No me entiende, Señor? Se dije felicidades para su victoria..."
"Eh Cap'n, he might be insultin' ye," someone suggested. "Ee said summin' 'bout a Victoria?"
"¡Sí! ¡Eso es!" Juanito replied excitedly. Ay, Dios mío, he had no idea he was replying to a lass' name, not the word for "victory."
"I don' appreciate that kinda talk, boy," Sandy snarled, punctuating his threatening tone with el sonido de una espada. A few more swords were drawn. Nunca podría vivir eso, he'd never be able to survive this. I motioned to Los Chicos, and we quickly entered la escena, stage-left.
"¡Capitán!" I called. All froze, el Capitán still holding his blade to mi'jo's throat. The nerve of him! "Good to see you again, Sandy," I said, approaching la pobre alma.
Ay Dios mío en el cielo arriba, what I wouldn't give to have read his mind in that moment, and the moments that immediately followed.