Several days later, after leaving the Florida coast behind and pillaging a small, coastal community with much success as well, the crew of the Jade Princess came across a very heavily laden merchant vessel. They plundered it quite lucratively with no casualties, which was always a bonus.

By dusk Andre decreed a celebration was in order. The rum barrel was rolled out, both cooks prepared a feast of local fruits, vegetables and meats, and the revelry commenced. Roast chicken, fried plantains, and juicy guava and papaya filled their bellies. Those who finished first provided music for the rest. The hornpipe, banjo, spoons and drums beat out carefree and lively shanties designed to start their feet to tapping and voices to singing.

While sitting on the much depleted water barrel from the Phoenix, swinging his foot in time to the music and partaking liberally from his tankard of rum, Andre watched Sophie imbibe her third cup of the island liquor. Grinned while she professed it rolled down her throat so smoothly and flavorfully. Her three crewmen enthusiastically agreed, although Limey barely sipped his portion and caught Andre’s measuring look with one of his own. They looked away.

 “A play, mis amigos. Let us perform a play illustrating our fine conquest of the day, no?”

 Pedro de Gallo, well into his cups, stood in the center of the deck, swinging about flamboyantly with one arm raised in the air like a circus ringmaster. The rest of the pirates hooted and hollered their assents, shoving various friends and comrades out into the middle to perform for the rest of them.

 Limey was one of the ones pushed forward, laughingly shaking his head while de Gallo threw a brocade fabric at him with the order to dress himself like a “fair damsel.” Even Sophie laughingly applauded, weaving on her own barrel next to Andre.

“You may want to slow down on that beverage, ma amour,” Andre cautioned. “It goes down smooth as velvet but kicks like a mule. Trust me, I know.” He grinningly cheered her with his own mug. Sighed as she disregarded his warning and slurped the remainder of her cup in one large gulp, wiping her mouth on the sleeve of her shirt while meeting his eyes challengingly.

Andre shrugged, as if to say, “You’re choice,” and then turned back to the entertainment drunkenly getting underway. He vowed to just pick up the pieces when the rum took over all her rational thoughts later.

Out in front of them Limey had finally managed to drape the glaringly vibrant material over his tall form kimono-style and was now taking simpering steps forward. He wailed in a high, falsetto voice like the women had on the ship they’d attacked, and his audience broke into gales of drunken, gleeful laughter. Even Andre found his competition for his wife’s affections a laughable, pitiful excuse for a woman.

Mincing forward on tiptoe, Limey covered his mouth with his large hand, squealing as one of the other acting pirates bawdily mimed pointing a certain body part at the tall youth. Shooting a glance at Sophie, Andre realized she was too far gone to see the allusions to rape this little performance made.

 Just as he thought this she leapt off her barrel, slapping her mug onto it and weaving her way to Limey. Waving her arms widely she vetoed, “Let me sh-show you the righ’ way t’ walk.” She stripped Limey of his dress, threw it over her head babushka-like and huddled under it before getting into character.