Monday, August 18, 2003

Part I: The Quest

Somewhere amidst the whitecaps of the South Pacific, a tattered and rotting vessel named the Belching Pelican embarked on another treacherous voyage through the dark places of the world. Wracked by scurvy, a maniacally obsessed captain pledged to scavenge the seven seas in search of a parrot.

“I have no parrot you scurvy scum! I have a hook for a hand and a funny hat. I even sawed off my own leg so I could fly the jolly roger and maintain some semblance of legitimacy. But it is only the albatross that flies overhead and our cups are filled with the dust of our own dead. We must find the parrot and tie him down. Then I will be the king who wears the crown!”

After months at sea the crew nervously relented. They wanted treasure. They wanted wine. Song. Women! But their gold-toothed commander was determined and forced them to press on.

Wygand, the timid and curiously educated cook, was troubled by such a vague and dangerous voyage. Scared of the perils that lay ahead but intrigued by the captain’s inexplicable obsession, he approached the poop deck and the weathered mariner who lay asleep at the wheel of the ship.

“C-c-c-c-aptain” he squeaked as he shook the skipper’s arm. The mariner awoke with a shake and swiped at the air with blind and desperate strokes.

“I’ll spill the intestines the scoundrel who tries to mutiny aboard my ship” he sputtered.

“B-b-b-but I’ve brought your dinner sir” Wygand whispered. “A-a-a-and a question.”

“Leave the food, speak your piece then leave before I feed you to the sharks” the captain snapped.

“With all the riches in the world, why do we seek, of all things, a parrot?”

The captain’s eyes lit up with a fire that set the deck ablaze.

“This is no ordinary parrot I seek. Tis’ a four-winged angel that sings the song of the Spanish Merchant” he growled. “It has a beak of brass and feathers spun from white gold. And its tune will lure the King’s ships from all corners of the earth. Why drift along the seven seas stumbling upon a galleon here, a clipper there? We will summon the wealth of the world and let it lie at our feet!”

Tempted by the promise of limitless wealth the crew let out a collective cheer.

“Let us prepare a feast and celebrate our imminent discovery of the Golden Parrot” the captain yelled triumphantly and ordered Wygand to prepare a feast like no other seen upon the deck of the great ship.

“Fire the canons! Raise the sails! Greatness will soon be upon us!”


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