“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Archie says.
“No,” David tells him, “I am not kidding you, prisoner.” He looks at Archie. “And I prefer to be acknowledged as Captain of this fine vessel. I’ve got the hat and everything.” He points to his head.
“Captain?” Archie asks. “You won my ship off of me in a card game, and only because you got me drunk first! You know I don’t drink, and besides—you have your own ship, not even half a nautical mile away! And I don’t even get why you made me a prisoner. It doesn’t make sense, Cook, and I’m not having fun.”
“I won this ship fair and square, though,” David says. “And you’re my prisoner because I want you to be.” Then, he holds up a bimmy and says to it, “What do you do?”
Archie scowls. “Oh my gosh. It’s a whip. For, um. You know. Punishment. Not, um, yeah. How you’ve managed to stay alive on a ship this long is beyond me.”
“Practice makes perfect,” David says. “Maybe you’ll learn that when one day you’re made into a Captain yourself.” He cracks the bimmy. “Oh, that’s fun.”
“Fun?” Archie can’t believe what he’s hearing. “Listen,” he says, “David—”
“Whatever. Listen, I really just, um. I need my ship back. Please? I’ll do pretty much whatever you want if you don’t crash my ship? And if you, like, give it back to me? Ha ha.” Archie feels like an idiot. He really doesn’t like being in this situation. “And Neal’s just outside waiting for you? So if you could just hand over the captain’s hat and go, that would be, um, very, um. Great.”
David paces the length of the cabin and says, “I don’t know why I should. You’re just a captive! Are you even knowledgeable in the ways of the seven seas?”
Archie pinches the bridge of his nose. “Yes. I mean, yes. I am. Sir. Captain Sir. Can I please have my ship back now?”
“Would you know what I meant,” David said, tapping his chin, “if I said that you needed to worm, serve, and parcel starboard the bonded jacky before the Bombay runners decide to box the compass and the grape shots ruin the killick?”
“Um, no,” Archie says, “because that doesn’t make sense.”
“Oh ho!” David shouts. “Then how can I possibly entrust my ship to you?”
“Because it’s my ship! Oh my gosh, I hate you.”
David frowns. “No need to take that tone, Archie. I’m just playing.”
“I just—give me my hat. Can I have my hat back?” Archie asks.
“Fine,” David says, as he takes the floppy Captain’s hat off. “But it’ll cost you. Gimme a kiss!” He points at his cheek.
“No,” Archie says, snatching the hat and shoving it on his head. “I’ll see you at home. Now get off my ship.” He slams the door.
David swoons and leans against the door, well aware of Neal’s calculating stare.
“I love him,” he says to Neal. “Him, and that bimmy.”
“You’re such a fuckhead,” Neal tells him. “Let’s go.”