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Without a moment’s hesitation, I jumped from the railing into the warm water and swam to her boat where I pulled myself on board. This caused the boat to rock and sent its occupant straight into my arms. While living with the pirates, my daily routine had changed my musculature and rippled my abs. Had I seen myself at that moment, I might have been aroused.

There were so many things I wanted to say and do at that moment, not the least of which was strip naked and offer a rub down, but I couldn’t seem to speak. My mind raced with questions of this supposed fiancé, our years apart and if feelings of the butterfly wars still moved about her belly. This was the moment that I had endured a tedious and fantastical journey for, and it was about to be rewarded. The abstract visions and encounters were not in vain and with her in front of me, in my arms, I waited to hear her voice.

“It’s so great to see you. We should do it again sometime,” she said.

That was it, that’s all she said. I couldn’t believe my troubles had been for that simple phrase. Of all things to say, she said that.

“Well, I’m kind of being taken hostage by pirates right now, so it might not be soon…”

But she smiled at me and I felt a feeling that I had not felt in a long time. A moment later, her fiancé swam back to the small lifeboat and I bid them farewell.

Swimming back to the pirate ship, I couldn’t help but utter, “him? Really?”

Captain Girth threw me a rope and bade me to climb and as I did, I began the retelling of this tale.

“She said she wanted to see me, so I ventured to see her. When I did, she claimed to want to see me yet again.”

“Score.”

“But she’s getting married to that guy.”

“Want us to blow up their ship?” the captain asked with hope bouncing off of his grimy teeth.

“No, there will be time for that later. Maybe we can raid her wedding. For now, could you bring me home?”

“Aye, this we can do for ye.”

When I reached my Oceanside manor, Jonathan greeted me at the door with a caramel ice cream sundae. We sat and talked and he asked if my leave of absence had been successful.

“You know, I’d do it again,” I told him.

“Very good, sir.”

The house smelled just as I’d remembered it would with pocket wafts of sweaty skin and burnt flesh. My staff rejoiced at my being home and together we celebrated with drinking games and the reading of poetry, my favorite of which being a piece entitled “The Testicle Spectacle.” It went:

Acrobatic balls
Flying through the air
Some are shaved
And some have hair.
Trained in the circus
By men with gold wits
Their grand finale
Is with dancing tits.

Though a year I had been gone, it felt as though I had never left and things quickly fell back into place. Thinking about what I had learned, I realized that men will go to the depths for love, dare I even call it that. They will go there for the notion of the possibility of love because all men are saps at heart. A payoff of words signifying that my presence was worth the trip made me think that yet another one of these expeditions was in the future for me, much like how all young boys learn the secrets of the masturbatory practice. It was worth it and all who have been plagued by a woman can attest to my actions. So much work for so little payoff is hardly the lesson here.

As the day drew to a close, I retired to my study to reflect quietly and in solidarity. The note that started it all was still in tact and had faint reminders of strawberry soap. I placed it in the book with the picture of the umbrella on the cover and next to the picture of myself as a much younger man. He was sitting next to a beautiful woman whose wedding would one day be destroyed by pirates. If only these two could peer into the future, they might understand what they were getting themselves into.

That night there was a fierce and terrible thunderstorm and, while the rest of the staff quivered under their bed sheets, Jonathan stood with me naked by the fire.

W. Tyler Paterson is a charming dude who plays music with comedy band the Shock-Ts.

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