“Anne Bonny and her rapscallion heart, dreaming for a ship of her very own.”
“First mate, how long until we shove off?” The captain strode across the deck of his iron warship, confident in the work of his men and the might of the Navy in which he served.
The first mate poked at the slime coating a rock with a twig.
“I said, First Mate Tom, how long until we shove off?” The Captain glared angrily at his delinquent second-in-command.
“Oh! Sorry, John. I mean, Captain John.” Tom clambered onto the giant hunk of Styrofoam, causing it to wobble dangerously in the grey-watered creek. His twin, the perspicacious Captain John, had to flap his arms to keep his balance, and he glared at his brother as the water soaked into his sneaker.
“Right!” The first mate strode confidently across the deck. “We are just shoving off now, sir! Will we be hunting for the treasure today, sir?”
“Of course!” the captain said. “It is our duty!”
There was a thunder of breaking twigs and dry leaves, and a toe-headed monster in purple leggings burst from the shade. “Hey John! Tom! Cool raft! Can I play?”
The Captain and First Mate glared at their little sister. Tom used his branch to push their warship farther from the shore.
“No, Annie. Go back home,” Captain John said, sticking his tongue out at the 7-year-old. “You’re too little, and besides, girls can’t be in the Royal Navy.”
“Yeah!” First Mate Tom said, not wanting to be left out.
Annie stood at the crest of the little ditch and stared down at her big brothers, now drifting in the middle of the muddy creek. “I can be in your Navy, honest!” she pleaded.
“No! Go home. We don’t want to play with you,” Tom hollered. The boys turned to face downstream, ignoring Annie as she kicked at the leaves and started to cry.
“You’re mean!” she squeaked, her voice cracking and eyes watering. She stomped back out of the thicket, pouting so hard her bottom lip formed a perfect rounded n.
Mr. McGee looked up from his lilies as the second-grader marched by, flouncing her long lavender shirt with each huffy step. “Hey there, Annie,” he said. The girl, startled, turned sheepishly to find the voice. “What’s wrong?”
Annie’s lip quivered. “John and Tom said I can’t play because I’m too little and there aren’t girls in the Royal Navy.”
“Ah,” Mr. McGee said. “Well, why don’t you turn pirate? You know, there was a very famous pirate named Anne Bonny. She was the scourge of the Royal Navy, and was known for her fighting spirit.”
Mr. McGee inspected Annie carefully. “She had almost as much spunk as you, m’dear.”
“She did?” Anne sniffled. She did feel a little like a pirate, more than a Navy sailor, anyway.
“You know, I think that tree house of yours would make a fine pirate ship,” Mr. McGee said. “I’m not sure you kids should be playing in that crick.”
Annie wiped her nose with her shirtsleeve. “Momma says we’re not supposed to, but Tom and John do it all the time.”
“Best you listened to your mother, then. Now get goin’ girl, don’t you have a ship to sail?” Mr. McGee smiled, and Annie’s heart blazed with pirate glory. The hobby gardener returned to his blooms while Annie ran for her tree house, scampering up the step ladder like a squirrel on a burr oak in late fall.
Anne Bonny, captain of her sleek wooden ship, leaned into the wind over the sea. She checked the sky—clear sailing ahead—and demanded her scabby crew dress the sails.
When her mother came out at dusk, Anne Bonny cried out, “Not now, momma, there are whales trying to wreck my ship!”
“Well, okay Annie. But when you’re done with the whales, it’s time for dinner,” her mother said. “Would you like lemonade? And are your brothers up there with you?”
Anne Bonny leaned out the side of her craft. “Yes, lemonade! Pink! And John and Tom are at the crick.”
Her mother had turned to go back inside the house, but whipped her head around. “At the creek?! They know they aren’t allowed down there!” She slammed the wooden salad bowl on the patio table and stormed out of the backyard. The dreadful pirate Anne Bonny climbed down the tree house steps, giggling madly that they were in trouble but she wasn’t.
A wily pirate lass, she was.