Captain Bartolo de Soto commands the Troubadour, a cursed and unlucky pirate ship. If de Soto’s fortune doesn’t change soon the crew led by first officer Pieterzoon will mutiny. Only the beautiful singer Maritza has the answer, if he can survive long enough to hear it.
A historical fiction short story.
Excerpt from Pirates of Misfortune:
“Jonah’s pestilence on that cat,” Captain Bartolo de Soto growled. He took a swig from a clay jug of cheap wine. It was all he could afford. All because the ship’s cat had forsaken its normal prey of rats and instead pounced and feasted on an unwary gull right there on the quarterdeck for all to see. Now he was drowning his sorrow drinking cheap wine.
He staggered along Port-of-Spain’s filthy South Quay road in search of diversion. The walkways were crowded with merchants that brayed like mules at every passerby. Food vendors hawked charred joints of meat seasoned with sharp mischievous spices from over smoking grills. Red-coated conquistadors swaggered by in search of liquid or warm fleshy entertainment, before departing in search of mysterious El Dorado. Off-duty sailors and seaman from every worlds port wandered by, their thirsts for ale or grog and lust of brawling and native whores foremost in their minds.
Bartolo ignored them, drank again and cursed his ill luck. After his last failed raiding excursion he had just enough funds for one more attempt. His scabrous and embittered crew demanded success and he had failed to deliver. The slippery Spanish and Portuguese merchants, may their souls burn in Hell, were now traveling in groups for mutual protection. A lone marauder had little chance against those odds.
And unless his luck changed the Troubadour’s crew of murderers and cutthroats would oust him as captain, seeking one that could fulfill their dreams of avarice. The leading candidate was first officer Woltor Pieterzoon. A a cunning lout of a Dutchman who had slithered his way into officer ranks by intimidation and the ill luck of others who once stood in his way. Now it was de Soto’s turn.
All he needed was just one lone ship. One bold or foolish merchant captain too proud or stupid to join with others, one carried a hold of precious cargo the Continent lusted after. Native gold and silver in gleaming ingots or formed into artworks unlike anything ever seen by the aristocracy of Europe, pearls, spices, as well as chocolate and tobacco by the barrel. Any of it would bring him a tidy sum when sold to the ever greedy English, French or Dutch traders. It would also placate his crew and delay the day of reckoning.
Bartolo kicked at a mongrel wandering too close. He missed, staggered, and the cask slipped free and broke amongst the churned mud of horse apples and piss strewn street.
When he ran out of breath swearing he heard singing.