A Chance EncounterMy name is Phillip Pascoe. When I was younger, my parents abandoned me. Of course, we were already a poor family so nobody cared. I survived off of theft for a good two years. But I wasn’t satisfied. Every day I would go down to the dock and fantasize about what it would like to be on one of those big ships. The streets of York are harsh and I could barely take it, the sea always calmed me down. But watching the waves crash against the dock is a lot different from actually sailing.
There’s a bar not too far from said dock. It’s in the uglier part of town, so the law doesn’t really apply there. It’s where all the criminals stop for a drink. Most of those criminals are pirates. I always wondered what it must be like to be a pirate. I must admit, I over-glorified the lifestyle. A lot. But I didn’t know that at the time.
One day, I gathered up all my courage and walked into the bar. I certainly got some stares as I was just a kid. I studied the tables around me, but there was one in particular that caught my attention. Jacques Leroy was the most feared pirate in France, so what was he doing in England? Most of his men were obviously drunk, but he was almost alarmingly sober. It was as if he was here for a reason other than booze.
I realized I was staring for too long, and we made eye-contact. I quickly averted my eyes, not wanting any trouble. I was just curious to see some pirates up close. I could feel his eyes on me, so I looked up. He motioned me over to his table. To say I was intimidated would be a hideous understatement. I slowly walked over, trying hard not to trip. Notice how I said I was trying and not succeeding. Some of his men were laughing at me. I made my way over there and prepared myself for the worst.
“What’s a kid like you doing here?”
“I was just curious, sir.”
“Curiosity killed the cat. What’s your name?”
“Phillip, sir. My name is Phillip Pascoe.”
“And how old are you?”
“I’m eleven-years-old, sir.”
“You’re quite young to be in a place like this, aren’t you?” he took a gulp of gin. “Do you know who I am?”
“Yes, sir. You’re Jacques Leroy. Only a fool wouldn’t know who you are.” Apparently, he thought that was funny.
“You’re a smart kid. I take it you’re also an ambitious kid. That’s why you’re here, right?”
“Yes, sir. I’ve never been satisfied in my life.”
“I’ll bet. Life on land is boring. How’d you like to be a cabin boy on my ship?” My eyes widened and my jaw dropped. Was this real? I didn’t know how to react. “Well?”
“Yes! I mean, ugh, that would be nice, sir.” I couldn’t seem to eager, I wanted to be mature.
But when I looked around, his men were stifling laughter. Maybe it was just intoxication? Nope. It was my own fault for agreeing to something when I didn’t know what it meant. I only heard the “be on my ship” and not the part about being a cabin boy. Obviously, I HEARD that part, I just didn’t understand what it meant. A cabin boy is basically the ship’s servant.