When Ben had asked me if I wanted to be a pirate, I wasn’t sure what to tell him. I’d figured as much, that it was some sort of joke, I thought. “Yeah, dude, fuck yeah I want to be a pirate,” I said. Ben looked at me, grinning wide, nodding repeatedly. His eyes looked possessed. He was so pleased to hear this from me and yet, it was if he was not at all surprised. “Yeah, yeah, Fred, I know, I know but Listen–you don’t just get to be a pirate alright, just because you want to be one alright,” Ben went on.
I’d cranked my jaw nodding. My eyes seemed the need to cross. Perplexed. “Naturally,” I said. Ben indexed to the ceiling, “Lots of people want to be pirates but only so few will get the honor, know what I mean,” he continued. I didn’t get what he’d meant. “Yeah, I do,” I said, probably raising a brow, “You can’t just, can’t you know, let any old joe off the street become a pirate, it would just be absurd,” I said.
To this Ben nodded, still grinning, just as wide, his eyes still possessed, “Exactly,” he said with a wink.
“You know, Chris wants to be a pirate, I know he does, he won’t say it but he does,” Ben indexed to the ceiling again. “Are you guys good now, or, still that thing between you,” I asked him. Ben didn’t really quite answer. “Well,” he said, “The first thing of pirates–the golden rule of all golden rules, is you gotta be there for your fellow pirates.”
“Like a code of honor,” I said. Ben’s grin returned, “Exactly,” he went on. We went outside, to throw trash and have a smoke. Ben continued explaining to me the pirates. As I’d discover quite quickly, he was apparently quite serious. About the whole thing. All of it. The pirates. It was real. “Thanks, man,” Ben said. I’d handed him a cigarette. “So, you’re the Commodore, that’s awesome,” I said. Ben was all about with pride, “Yes sir, that is correct,” he said. He took a drag of his cigarette. We lifted the can and hoisted it to the dumpster. Ben took another drag. His cigarette was already almost completely sucked down to nothing. I still had two thirds of mine left to burn. Ben was notable for that. How quickly he could smoke a cigarette. He once had said a cigarette should take no more than ten drags to kill. “See Fred, that’s why when I see you I see pirate material,” he said, showing me the murked but, “Thanks for the smoke, man.”
“No problem,” I said.
Ben looked up at the second story window. Probably with thoughts of Chris, I figured. “So, Chris wants to be a pirate, huh,” I said. Ben laughed, with just an emphatic hah, he said, “You bet your ass he does.”
My cigarette was done with. I tossed it to the ground. “Yeah.” I didn’t know what else to say. It was a bit of a sore topic. Ben and Chris. Chris had hooked up with Lisa, three weeks prior. Ben was very fond of Lisa. But only though very good friends with Lisa at most. But Ben had claimed however, and, I hadn’t a reason to put this past him, that as of recent his fortunes with Lisa were changing. Needless to say, Lisa hooking up with Chris three weeks ago, did not digest with Ben very well. “We should go back in,” I said, “Luke’s in the back room right now, I don’t need him giving me shit.” Ben nodded, “Yeah, might as well. Man, fuck Luke, man, that guy’s a fucking prick.” Luke was our boss. It was sort of Luke’s responsibility in a way to sometimes be sort of a prick. We walked toward the back door, to enter back in, when the door had opened before we could reach it though. “Fuck,” I thought, expecting this to be Luke. But it wasn’t Luke. It was Chris.
Ben was immediately put off, just to see him. Chris raised his eyes, and shook his head. The encounter for him was more awkward than upsetting. For me however, me at their sidebar it was just aggravating. I’d wanted to be there with them as it played out of course, but I’d much rather it be inside, where Luke wanted us. To my somewhat surprise, Chris made first words: “So, that party, the big one, it’s a week away,” he said. Ben shook and grunted. He was insulted. He grunted again. Chris raised his eyes. “I can’t wait for it,” he said. My head swiveled then right to Ben. Ben’s mouth was open, his brows were going straight Dwayne the Rock Johnson–I could nearly smell what he was cooking. But he would say nothing of it–and I guess, there really were no words needed. Ben walked straight past him, and went back inside. I looked at Chris. Chris was shaking his head. I gave him no impression. “Fuck,” I said. That was it. “Fuck indeed,” Chris answered. He was lying. But that had nothing to do with her.