Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sky Pirates

Inspired by last week's tale The Airship was a Jalopy and the contained picture, this one kind of wrote itself in my head and I just needed to mash the keyboard like a monkey. Hopefully you enjoy.

It had taken him three weeks, and he had burned almost all of his favors, but he had found a new door. The Airstream Trailer sat in the driveway, his flashlight shining off the gleaming silver side.

Captain Tara had been very specific in what she wanted to replace the door to her suite after she had thrown her man for the night through it. This was the fourth door in as many weeks. The first three had been wooden, and very easy to replace, except for finding parking for the dirigible at a Lowes or Home Depot. The light poles always got in the way, and the first time he had set the airship down in one of those parking lots, he had pierced the balloon. Tara had made him patch it himself. It took him three days before they could get off the ground, and she had never let him live it down. That had been four years ago.

But now she wanted the door off of a 1966 Airstream Overlander, and he had found her one. Nevermind that the trailer still belonged to somebody, that was what being skypirates was about. He had his tool bag hanging over his shoulder as he climbed the rope ladder down to the ground. It had been seven months since he had set his feet on the ground, instead having his cabin boy go into the store to get the doors, but this he had chosen to take care of personally.

It was pretty easy to pick the lock on the Airstream, and then even easier to unscrew the hinges. He pointed the flashlight into the air and flipped it off and then on again, twice, the signal to have the rope dropped to hoist the door up. Silently he tied the rope around the door, gave the rope a tug, and then began his ascent up the rope ladder as he felt the silent engines of the airship begin to lift the behemoth off.

He peered at her underbelly as he climbed the ladder. It was simple, a wooden boat hanging below a giant balloon, and some of the wood needed replacing. Again. They had set down last week and tore apart a barn over night, taking all of the wood that was salvageable, and done the repairs in the air. Imagine the surprise on the farmers face when he awoke to find his cows were all cold. But, this was the life he thought to himself. They set down in the middle of the night somewhere, took what they wanted, and the engines that he had designed, carried them quietly away.

He had watched the disaster of the Hindenburg, and the others too. Four helicopters to lift a balloon? That had not worked either. When he had approached Tara seven years before, it had taken him a little while to explain…

“Look, it’s simple,” he had said. “We already have engines that can execute a vertical take off, Hell, I helped design those.’

“Then what’s the balloon for?” He remembered her asking.

“Appearances only. Look, they don’t know I have made an engine that can lift as much weight as I am suggesting here, but they fired me. If they find out that these engines can do all that they can, we will not be safe. And I am sick of them.”

She had smiled then, and said that he could have the funding, and her boat, if she got to be captain. He agreed, smiling too.

That is how the debauchery started.

She had shown up that first day with a bandanna on and a piece of black fabric folded over her arm. When he had asked her about it, she said that, if the boat flew, it would be their flag. They now sported it, a stylized skull over a pair of crossed rifles, on the side of the balloon, in addition to flying from the mast.

They had spent six years in the air, he had sold his house, his car, everything, and now they took what they wanted. They had been collecting items recently and selling them at auction, trying to finance the purchase of a large plot of land where he could develop another ship. Tara said he could captain the second one.

As he approached Tara’s cabin, one of the crew came sprawling out of the door and tumbled into the wall opposite it. He smiled nervously while he picked himself up and ran, probably back to his post.

“Ahh, Blackbeard….”

“Tara, it’s Brian, you know I hate Blackbeard,” he scowled.

“Yes, the great skypirate Brian, striking fear into the hearts of everyone. What is it you want?

“I got your door, do you want me to install it now?”

“No, have the crew do it, I need you to go find me a new figurehead for the ship. Michelangelo’s David is getting old.”

Ah, the life of a skypirate, maybe he could find Atlas this time.


J. A. Platt said...

I like it. Stolen wood from a barn and David as the masthead. They sound like pirate hoarders.

That would actually be a great show... the hoarders defend their piles of kitten shaped pillows with rifles and bedazzled eye-patches.

But now the important question. Does Captain Tara have superpowers (for throwing guys through doors)?

alphabete said...

These guys are for real sky pirates. I love the whole balloon-as-cover-for-engines thing. That's pretty awesome. Tara sounds like a crazy woman and though at first I was a little disgusted by the idea of taking the door off the still-in-use Airstream, I cracked up reading about the cold cows and then David sent me into giggles. I love that you can write scary and serious works and then throw in something humorous. You're multitalented and you really have a great grasp on how to write people.

Monkey said...

Reminds me a little of Odysseus' boat, crossed with some weirdo hippies.

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