Playing with Pirates
It was going to be a battle, that much, I knew, and for once it wouldn't be with Cupcake. The fray before me had all the earmarks of a David and Goliath toe-to-toe nuclear war right there in the confines of the Calmar Legion. This day, I and my team of merry dart players would be playing the role of David. (I wonder if the original David and Goliath story had gone the other way if the name "Goliath" would be more popular for naming babies today.)
The Goliath in this piece was the dart team we were destined to play that thirsty Thursday, the evil and malevolent Devon (Ptooey!) Pirates. Yes, I hate to admit, the best team in the league is from another town; Devon. (Ptooey!) Meanwhile my own team, The Wasnots, I couldn't help but notice, were dead last in the standings. (If you're wondering about our team name, don't ask me, I didn't name us, Angie, our Team Captain did. The worst of it is that people keep calling us "The Fuzznuts")
So there we were, Ed, Judy and myself discussing the challenge we were to face. Captain Angie, valiantly leading us as only she can, didn't show up due to work issues. I realized, rather than David versus Goliath, it was going to be The Three Stooges versus Godzilla. We knew we had to do something, anything, to throw them off their game.
I went up to write our team name on the chalk-actuated scoreboard and drew first blood in our plan to undermine their concentration. Where they had carefully lettered the word "Pirates", I covertly removed the "r" and substituted an "l". Instead of being fierce pirates, in our minds they were now a frou-frou ladies exercise fad that is really big on pelvic thrusts. (Not that I am all that familiar with any ladies exercise programs. I haven't Jazzercized in years and the moths have eaten all my leg warmers.)
I should add, at this juncture, the fact that the Pilates aren't really evil and malevolent. They are actually extremely nice people, even if they do hail from Devon. (Ptooey!) They are a very literary group, too. In fact, their lady player (they only have one, the sexists) is named Margaret Lawrence. She is not THE Margaret Lawrence, of course, except to her husband, David. I think David's middle name is Henry which makes him D H Lawrence but not THE D H Lawrence, of course, who is quite dead. David is still very lively.
Another player they have is named Warren. I asked if his last name was Peace which would have fit in nicely with the literary motif but it wasn't. Their last and arguably best player, Angus, is a very large, muscular man and so I have not come up with any jokes about him.
The entire team all sound like they were just offloaded from a boat from England and mangle the language horribly. With accents like that, it is no wonder they are good at darts, though. I understand they teach darts in English grade schools along with ‘maths’ and crumpet munching. Dart playing is, after all, as British as bangers and mash, spotted dick and an inability to handle two inches of snow.
“You don’t look much like pirates,” I casually mentioned before play began. “I bet you guys don’t even know a pirate’s favourite letter of the alphabet.”
They looked at each other, shrugging.
“I don’t know,” said David in his labored approximation of English. “Is it the letter haitch?”
“Look, you’re supposed to guess ‘R’”, I said with some impatience. “Pirates always say ‘ARRRHHH’”
“Wot? They do? Okay, the answers ‘R’, then,” David sighed, obviously humouring me.
“Ha!” I shot back in my best pirate brogue “’Tis a fact we are known for the ‘arrrhhh’, but our true love is the ‘c’!”
“Fine, then,” agreed David looking thoroughly perplexed. “”’C’ it is. Can we play darts now?”
I turned to my fellow Fuzznut, I mean Wasnot, Ed, the wily veteran of many a dart skirmish.
“Remember, when we get to the handshakes before the game, crush Angus’ hand so he can’t hold a dart properly,” I whispered urgently.
“Are you out of your mind?” Ed looked horrified. “Haven’t you seen the size of him? Just his hand is bigger than I am! How am I supposed to crush that?”
“Good grief, man, let me show you how it’s done,” I sneered at him.
Unfortunately, however, when I went in for my death grip handshake, Angus grabbed before he was supposed to and only got three of my fingers, making for an extremely squishy handshake from my end. I noticed he wiped his hand on his jeans afterward, too. “That’ll show him,” grunted Ed.
“Look you two,” said Judy. “We’re just here for fun anyway. We don’t want to win by cheating.”
“We don’t?” Ed said as he and I frowned and looked confused at one another. “Are you sure? We’d be okay with it. It’s the only way we’re going to win, you know.”
“Well, I’m not giving up so easily,” Judy snorted in disgust. Her first throw netted her 77 points; good enough for a person point in the individual standings. “See?” she said upon her return to the table. “We can do this!”
The effect of Judy’s start was more inspirational than a pep talk by Joan of Ark. Our darts, as a team flew straight and true. Sadly, this wasn’t a Hollywood movie. As straight and true as our darts flew, well straight and true for us, anyway, the darned Pirates still won all seven games. Easily, too. The only sweat they broke was from walking all the way to where cheery Bill and lovely Chelsea sell the drinks they bought to celebrate their wins.
It’s amazing I’m not more bitter.
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