Red Beard

Surf roars were the only pleasant sounds that echoed from his childhood. The others were mother crying and begging muffled only by slamming doors. As long has he had been alive, he wanted to set sail on the wide ocean. But a red-headed boy who had been blinded in one eye by hot oil and whose left leg was shorter than the right wasn’t exactly ship’s complement material. The East India Company turned him down flat; he knew better than to even look in the mottled window of the merchant marines. No matter he knew the ins and out of every ship that ever put in port – being small and insignificant had its advantages. No matter that he knew ranks, names, personal habits of every sailor and pirate – being invisible had an equal number of advantages. He had made up his mind that thirteenth summer: enough of nothing. No one can explain it to this day, but it was the summer of low tides; the only ships that came in were as small as insignificant as he was. Finally, solstice came and he knew it was now or never. Just as it unmoored, he scampered on the rutted brigantine and hid with all his heart.




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