Doubloons are like dreams.
They sparkle when you meet them for the first time,
they slip through your fingers when you try to grab them.
Money, in these parts, makes men.
And the only law that exists is that of the strongest.
That law, they know it well.
Success. Power. Wealth.
Do you know the say: there is always a bigger fish?
They are that fish.
The table is hot. Their hand is always the winning one.
They make the rules and drive the game.
If I were you, I would not bet against them.
Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen.
And may God help you...
If you want to cheat when gambling, it's simple: make sure you're the smartest at the table.
I lifted the mug, gingerly, hands slightly quivering, an air of concern, uncovering the dice.
Four sixes. Without even cheating. I'd get the whole stakes. Money, rum, and fuck it.
Far from it, a different thrill. Of steel on my skin, like the wind on your back in Winter.
Four sixes. Obviously. Someone had messed with my dice.
The voice beside me was also cold and calm; a golden tooth, the dagger firmly held.
I'd made two big mistakes: first mentioning the pearls; then upping the ante.
And at my side someone seemed able to outdo my four sixes…
With the blade that had made its way into my shirt, while the table fell silent.
"Four sixes! By all the depths, I've never seen anyone as lucky as you!"
It sounded like a snake's voice. A new shiver, while the blade pushed.
"One would almost think you were cheating!"
Four sixes. And four people at my table, staring at me.
I'd been screwed over.
Sometimes I ask myself, especially when the flame has consumed the candle almost all the way through and nothing remains but the darkness to keep me company - would I do what I did?
Then I close my eyes and see the houses, the curtains. I can see my mates. I let that dream float, but I find myself sitting at a table, with my hand trying to grasp the bottle of rhum. I hear the laughter, the voices, the noises. The feeling of just throwing yourself down somewhere, anywhere, for the sake of falling asleep under the stars. I think back to the stories I told around the fire, the hundreds of thousands of impossible and exaggerated exploits, the legends, the lies and the truths. I hear worries and dreams. The songs come back to my mind. Ideas.
I open my eyes, I watch the candle go out - and I'm sure.
If I could go back, I would do everything I did.
I would dive right back into the rhum without hesitation, I would let myself be kissed by every adventure, by the sound of a shooting gun.
I would smile in front of a drawn sword and an abandoned bottle.
Every choice, every decision, every adventure.
Everything I did led me here and now.
The bottle is empty. I'm drunk.
Welcome to Frigate Bay.
The telescope pointed fiercely towards the sea.
It furrowed the horizon, timeless, scanning every corner.
The sky was blue, the wind pleasant and constant, friendly.
Everything was going well, the ship was moving firmly between the foam, to challenge destiny.
Days had passed since they had left Kingston.
A flicker in his eyes, a smile to set the lookout's lips on fire.
So the information was correct.
"Land on the horizon!"
Silence exploded in agitation. As gunpowder that is ignited, and starts to crackle, so the ship resumed life. Everyone leant out of the parapet, looking for the shore.
When the captain took the telescope from the lookout, there was a silence full of expectation.
Then he closed it, with a familiar gesture, dry, the voice a sentence:
"Gentlemen, everyone in their place! It’s our moment!”
Why do I do it?
I do wonder myself, very often.
Maybe because there are no alternatives. It's the sea or the gallows. Or worse.
Maybe because I fear the chains, perhaps I've known them, I still carry their marks on my wrists and heart.
Maybe because I hate them. Those fat and rich men who squander their money while my family starves. So close to them.
Maybe because there is someone on the shore waiting for my return.
Maybe because I can not go back empty-handed.
Maybe I do it because it's the only way I can protect someone.
There are a thousand reasons to do what I do.
The reason that pushes me every day to scorch my face under a burning sun.
The answer that comes only at night, when I'm alone at the helm, staring at a pitch-black sea.
Why do I do it?
Because this black and boundless expanse is my home.
This piece of wood and yarn, of sailors and sails, is all I need to be able to yell to the world what freedom means.
The sound of a bone breaking is more or less the sound of a snapping branch.
Only thing, the screams con fill your ears and make your heart bleed.
Mine beats fast when they start to scream. “Don’t send dogs to do a wolf’s job,” always says the Captain, and he is the biggest wolf here, with his sinister sneer.
We return to our ship, we load the guns, we clean the swords.
There’s silence now. We leave this leaky bucket behind us, like many before it.
Eyes to the horizon, the flag waves high in the sky. Black.
Never look back.
That’s who we are.
And we like who we are.