He sat on the low stool in the barn, hands flying like quicksilver as he milked the cow. His one stiff leg was stretched out before him. 

I peeked around the barn door. He sensed my presence. “What is it, boy?” 

“Can we go down to the bay to watch for boats?” 

Without looking up my father spoke:

“I’ve left that life behind me, along with my leg. Go help your mother with breakfast.” 

I watched him silently as I wiped my sniffly nose on my sleeve. He swiveled on the stool as fast as his wooden leg would allow. Raising his eye patch he growled menacingly.

ARGH! Dammit boy! Don’t be making me angry or you’ll be walking the plank to yer watery grave!” 

I jumped back, giggling. I couldn’t help myself.

“Can we go down to the bay tomorrow?”

He sighed in exasperation. “We’ll see; I’ve chores to finish first.”

“But tomorrow is Sunday and the boats will be coming in.” I dared to suggest.

My father became quiet. He rubbed his leg where the wood met his stump. I knew he was thinking back to that dreadful day when his boat was attacked by the marauders aboard the Crooked Star and he was left for dead. He washed ashore where my grandfather found him and carried him home for my mother to nurse.

“Sunday’s a good day to go pirate hunting, boy!”

And he thought again of the Crooked Star.

NAR © 2023