“Again, Papa, throw the knife again! Hit him in the eye this time!”--[Working title] The Hot Pirate's Secret Baby, a work in progress
“As entertaining as it is to stab someone from a distance, always remember, Mattie: If you throw your knife you no longer have a knife you can use, and it could even be used against you. You must have a back-up weapon. What did I tell you is the first rule of knife-fights?”
“To bring a pistol, Papa.”
“That’s correct. If your opponent brings a knife, you bring pistols, with your own knife as back-up.”
“Also,” he added in a pedantic fashion, “My victim is painted on wood. A real person would be moving, or yelling, or trying to harm you. If he’s just standing there one could simply cosh him over the head with a belaying pin. Of course, you would have to stand on a chair to do that.”
Mattie put her hand up over her mouth and giggled at the image. She’d adjusted to life aboard ship in a fashion that made him proud and more convinced than ever that she was his child. Norton had cut down some clothing to fit her, trousers and a shirt, and she looked right at home as she scampered barefoot across deck. Mr. Fuller gave her chores to do and while she grumbled about scrubbing the decks, she only did so because all the pirates grumbled about it and she wanted to fit in with the crew.
For their part the crew had made efforts to keep their more salacious shanties to themselves and sing work-songs suitable for the ears of an eight-year-old, but Robert could tell Mattie’s vocabulary was undergoing a sea change as she learned the ways of the Prodigal Son. At some point he would have to inform her that “By King Neptune’s Damp Balls!” was not a suitable oath for a young lady, no matter how often she heard Conroy say it.
Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, especially the ones whose daughters wanted to grow up to be pirates.