I Am A Pirate

(0) I didn't know better then. As soon as I heard the words 'money' and 'adventure', I was all for it. My mother tried to explain that a pirate did not earn money and was not quite the hero I had imagined, but I didn't listen. I grabbed the few belongings I had, and boarded the ship named the Jolly Roger... (Raye Chan, Age 8 to 12, 1/11/2003 10:58:20 AM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(1) As I walked up the gang plank, a man handed me a worn, but bright red bandana. I wrapped it around my unruly curls and smiled the proudest smile. I was a pirate. Everything on the ship looked beautiful beyond measure. The boards were thick, sturdy and gleamed as if they had just been polished. The silver rails running round were reflective and looked golden in the sunlight. I was sure the cabins in which we were going to stay would be magnificent. Well, all I have to say is, appearances can be deceiving. (Chui, Age 8 to 12, 1/19/2003 5:40:18 PM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(2) The same man who had handed us (me and a band of other kids who wanted to become pirates) the bandanas, led us to our sleeping quarters near the bottom of the ship. The 'room' was dark and musty, smelling of vomit and rum. There were no beds, just a pile of ragged blankets in the corner. Each kid quickly ran to pick out the best one for themselves. I was too stunned at what lay before me to speak, let alone move. The man (we soon found his name to be Sam) suddenly spoke. 'There's a barrel of hard tack and water somewhere over there in case you're hungry, so don't call for me unless it's important, ok? You'll get some chores to do 'morrow mornin' so sleep while you can.' We nodded, and the heavy man stomped his way back up to paradise. I carefully snuggled up in a corner, blanket tucked around my shoulders. I lied myself to sleep. 'This room is only temporary. Tomorrow you'll have a great time doing some simple things and then move to a big, grand cabin and feast like a king. There is NOTHING to worry about. Nothing to worry about...' (Natalie, Age 13 to 18, 1/19/2003 6:00:34 PM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(3) Early the next morning, I slid out from under my covers. My neck was stiff and my arms had no feeling. (I must of slept on them.) I heard the yawning of others followed by heavy footsteps. It was Sam, and he carried a basin and assorted washclothes under his arms. He was whistling and wore a bright, cheery smile under the bushy, gray-brown mustache. 'Take a washcloth now, children!' Sam called, 'We've got lot's of work to do. Starting on the deck.' We were dragged to our feet. One by one, we trooped up the steps. If I had known what would've happened, I would've fought to stay down there. But I didn't know. I thought I would be protected by pirates. I didn't realize there were other pirates out there. Stupid me. (Raye Chan, Age 8 to 12, 1/19/2003 10:43:49 PM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(4) We were met by six other burly men. They were sour expressions though, not a bit like Sam. Cowering under their gaze, I grabbed a washcloth, soaked it in water and started wiping the deck. A boy named Al kneeled beside me wiping where I wiped. 'Just in case' or so he said. We had just finished cleaning the railing when it happened. There were great shouts and hollers, and the six men jumped about waving guns and small daggers. Al and I crept forward to see what was happening and discovered that another ship had appeared, and right beside the Jolly Roger. Rough looking men spilled onto our deck, rushing about and throwing other men down. 'Hand over your valuables!' I heard someone shout. I was frozen, but Al wasn't. He caught my wrist and dragged me out of view. 'What are we going to do?' Al hissed. 'Those men, I think... I think they're pirates too!' I would of laughed, if I had been anywhere else in the world. But I was not. What were we going to do? (Raye Chan, Age 8 to 12, 1/19/2003 10:53:18 PM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(5) THUMP! THUMP! No time to think... A large shadow began to form behind Al. His mouth stretched open for a blood-curdling scream, but a muscular arm snaked across the boy's mouth. It was Sam. 'Sam!' I gasped. 'Sam, there are men out there!' Sam did not answer, but motioned for us to go closer to him. He led us back down to our sleeping quarters and placed each of us into a small barrel. I held my breath as Sam placed the lid of the water barrel over my head. I only hoped Sam would be okay. (Natalie, Age 13 to 18, 1/20/2003 4:49:38 PM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(6) We heard lots of shouting, swords clashing and fire. It seemd to be louder inside the barrel for some reason. When things began to quiet down, I began to wonder if i should peak outside. Al must have been equally scared because he did not call out to me. I felt the barrel begin to tip over slowly. I cringed inside the barrel, waiting to be picked up or brokwen to splinters. But the barrel never tipped over. It just tipped and stayed there. Bravely I open the lid and whispered for Al. What saw caused my heart to sink. What I heard nearly caused my heart to stop. The entire floor was tilted. The ship was tilting! The pirates outide let out a cheer. I realized they were trying to sink our ship. Al I a scrambled out on deck and ... (Rich, Age 13 to 18, 1/24/2003 7:30:54 PM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(7) helped me out of my barrel. Gasping for breath, he and I lunged for the stairs. As we climbed the rotted steps, we suddenly tripped...on a man! It was Sam, and the side of his head was bleeding freely. Carefully but quickly, Al and I flipped him face-upwards and dragged him up with us. The shouting had stopped now, and the deck was red with . I tore a strip from my shirt sleeve and wrapped it around Sam's arm. I hoped he might wake and tell us what we might do. I didn't know how to swim. (Archie, Age 5 to 8, 1/25/2003 6:08:15 PM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(8) helped me out of my barrel. Gasping for breath, he and I lunged for the stairs. As we climbed the rotted steps, we suddenly tripped...on a man! It was Sam, and the side of his head was bleeding freely. Carefully but quickly, Al and I flipped him face-upwards and dragged him up with us. The shouting had stopped now, and the deck was red with . I tore a strip of cloth from my shirt sleeve and wrapped it around Sam's head. I hoped he might wake and tell us what we might do. I didn't know how to swim. (Archie Oops! I messed the first one up!, Age 5 to 8, 1/25/2003 6:10:35 PM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(9) It was seven hours later and Sam was well and quite awake. Al had built a small raft for us out of some planks of wood. He unrolled his shirt to reveal a mound of bright, red apples against the gray-blue cloth. He tossed one to Sam and smiled toothily, "We'll have to live on apples for now." I myself grabbed one and took a huge bite, juice dripping from the corners of my mouth. We didn't know how to sail. How long would we be able to live on the few apples we had on board? What about the blue , roaring waves? I closed my eyes. Little did I know, but I would live very long and have the very best adventure a pirate-wanter-to-beer could have! (Aleilla, Age 8 to 12, 1/25/2003 6:18:51 PM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(10) The sun was setting and Sam lay asleep. Al stretched out on the plank next to him, a wide smile on his face. I was the only person that was worried about our safety. I held back my tears, even though I knew no one would see me. It was then, that the raft hit land and I tumbled overboard, head hitting rock, and fainted. (Raye Chan, Age 8 to 12, 2/2/2003 8:53:54 AM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(11) When I woke, my head was throbbing and I had dark bruises on my arms and legs. I did not remember who I was for a moment. But in a second, I recalled everything, including Al, Sam and my accident off the raft. I winced in memory. It was then I realized I was alone. Al was not beside me, Sam was not with me. I was alone... (Sammy, Age 13 to 18, 2/2/2003 8:10:14 PM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(12) An hour later, my stomach rumbled and my head stung when I touched it. I sighed. I had no clue when I would be released, for apparently, this was a stone prison on some remote island. Suddenly, chains rattled, and a ray of sunlight pierced my eyes like daggers. I blinkied twice, before swaggering to my knees. A tall bearded man stood before me, spear in hand. What did he want? (Pizza Pie, Age 8 to 12, 2/3/2003 4:02:44 PM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(13) "Get up! The chief wants to see you!" his speech was heavily accented, and there were short, abrupt stops between each word. When I made no move to get up, the man grabbed me by the arm and pulled me up. It hurt. I rubbed the sore spot gently, but followed the man out the prison. (Raye, Age 8 to 12, 2/13/2003 7:24:44 PM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(14) My feet made deep marks in the soft, dirt road as I trailed behind the stranger. We had walked for about twenty minutes, when we reached a small straw hut. The walls were tall, stiff weeds woven together and the door was a huge, green leaf strung up by animal fibers. I shuddered as a cold wind slid down my back. The man beside me drew the leaf back and gestured for me to enter the hut. I obeyed, but stopped suddenly as a hideous leering skull came into view! (Sammy, Age 13 to 18, 2/13/2003 7:30:16 PM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(15) I gasped and turned to run. The skull suddenly smiled, baring small yellowish teeth. He reached out and snatched my shirt sleeve. His grip was like a vise, and held me. "Young man,"he rasped."Let Chief Alders talk to you. I will not hurt you." Slowly, my head twisted back to the grinning skull. He was still smiling, but his hands were now inviting me into the small room behind him. I hesitated... (Raye Chan, Age 8 to 12, 2/13/2003 7:43:31 PM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(16) Chief Alders smiled again."Do not be afraid of Chief Alders. I have information. I want to help you." I seated myself in a tall, bamboo chair and managed a weak smile. He continued,"Chief Alders knows of the Jolly Roger and your raft. I is very impressed with your work. I know of other passengers on the raft." He paused at my sharp intake of breath. "Do you know where these other passengers are?" I queried. The chief nodded,"Yes. Chief Alders does. But I wants something in return." Something in return? (Raye Chan, Age 8 to 12, 2/13/2003 7:52:02 PM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(17) "Yes. Chief Alders admires the milky white pearl of the tribe Wilitichan. I wants it, but other chief will not give to me," the small man bared his teeth. This time, not a smile. "I wants you to get it for me. Then I will be telling you where your friends are. You can not find them alone." I considered this for a moment. So what if I found Al and Sam? What would that do for me? We couldn't sail back home. My home. But they were my friends, I couldn't just leave them. More doubts in my head than a sea of fish, I accepted the task. (Natalie, Age 8 to 12, 2/13/2003 7:56:46 PM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(18) Early the next morning, I changed into a new set of clothing given to me by the chief. The shirt was large, white and stiff. The sleeves were too big and the collar too high. The pants were long and dark, but more comfortable. They wouldn't let me wear my bandana on my head, so I tied it around my wrist. I needed it to remember. I was immediately dragged out of my make-shift room when I was done, and led to a ship. It was not as smooth and sleek as the Jolly Roger, but a ship nevertheless. I was joined by a group twenty men, who were to help me steer the boat to Wilitichan. Without an introduction, we were all herded onto the ship like cows. I gulped as the ship left the shore; I had just left any chance of safety... (Raye Chan, Age 8 to 12, 2/14/2003 8:01:40 PM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(19) The men scurried to their stations, and began rowing furiously. I watched them rotate the paddles, and felt completely useless. I for one, did not know what to do. I was a mere child, and could not row with them. Sighing, I pulled out the map Chief Alders had given to me earlier. The paper was brittle, and yellowed with age. The words on the map were barely readable. But I could not read it either way. The markings were not in english, but rather a serious of loops and triangles arranged in what appeared to be a special pattern. Disappointed, I shoved the map back in my pocket, and kneeled on the rough wooden boards. I spotted a bucket by the wall, which made me glow. Grabbing a wash cloth, I dipped it in the bucket (which indeed was filled with water) and began wiping the deck. It was all I knew how to do. Unfortunately, it was not an enjoyable task with the sun beating down on my back, so I soon fell asleep. When I awoke, it was because a big man was shaking my shoulders. The others were waving and shouting in a language I'd never heard of. "What's the matter?" I asked groggily. A confused look crossed the man's face, but in a moment, it had cleared. In understandable english, he waved to an island nearby and shouted, "We have reached Wilitichan!" (Raye Chan, Age 8 to 12, 2/14/2003 8:24:13 PM, I_Am_A_Pirate)

(20) When they reached Wilitichan, suddenly there were many people came to kill them,it was because this place was a battlefield with meat-eaters and vegetarian diet, but they were took by the meat-eater,and they became their food. (PEARL(38), Age 8 to 12, 4/21/2003 2:01:11 AM, I_Am_A_Pirate)