Zilla the Pirate
by Valerie L. Egar
When Zilla decided to become a pirate, she outfitted a fine ship with shiny brass cannons and recruited a hearty crew of sailors. She filled the ship’s hold with food and water for the long sea journey, hired a carpenter to build treasure chests, and bought paper and colored markers to draw treasure maps. Now, all she needed was a parrot.
Zilla knew parrots and pirates went together like macaroni and cheese, because in every pirate picture she saw, a big green parrot perched on the captain’s shoulder. Zilla set out to find a parrot and hoped it would say things like, “Shiver me timbers,” and “Hang him from the yard arm, Bucko.” Once she had a parrot, she could set sail.
Zilla looked far and wide and finally found a parrot with an odd name, Truffles. The shopkeeper assured her the parrot knew how to talk, but seemed reluctant to tell her what the parrot knew to say. Truffles was handsome, with sleek green feathers and rubbed his head against Zilla’s cheek, in a kind of parrot hug. Zilla loved him immediately, even though she wasn’t sure ‘love’ was a word pirates used, even for their parrot companions.
At last, the pirate ship was ready to sail. Zilla stood on deck with Truffles perched on her shoulder and waved her cutlass at the crew. “Batten down the hatches!” she yelled. “Heave ho, you scurvy dogs!”
The crew hoisted the ropes and raised the sails.Truffles squawked, “Would Madam like lemon in her tea?”
The crew stopped working and started to laugh. Zilla glared. “Back to work sea dogs!”
“Mr. Maddock slurps his soup,” said Truffles. He made a nasty sucking sound.
The first mate laughed so hard, tears came from his eyes. “Blimey!” he said, “that’s no pirate’s parrot!”
“Parrots don’t eat parsnips,” said Truffles. “Ewwww!”
Zilla tried to restore order by stamping her foot and shaking her cutlass at the unruly crew, but all of them were laughing too hard to get back to work. The ship returned to dock.
The following week, Zilla tried to train Truffles to be a proper pirate’s parrot. She repeated, “Yo ho ho,” “Blow me down,” “Ahoy, matey,” and other pirate phrases hundreds of times. No matter what she said, though, Truffles squawked, “The Reilley sisters are not good tippers” and “Quiet! Chef Henri is making soufflé.”
Zilla sighed. She loved Truffles, but it seemed a pirate’s life was not cut out for them. She decided to open a café, since Truffles had so much experience as a restaurant parrot. She made chocolate cupcakes with strawberry frosting, orange cupcakes with chocolate frosting and fresh lemonade with just the right amount of sugar. She tinted the lemonade pink to make it pretty and hung a big sign over the door, “Zilla’s Cupcake Café.”
The first customer ordered a chocolate cupcake and a medium lemonade. “Yo ho ho, landlubber!” screamed Truffles.
Zilla winced, but the customer laughed. “Pirate, are you?” He left a big tip.
Truffles talked to the next customer, too. “Walk the plank, you scallywag!” That customer laughed and also left a big tip.
Soon, people came from all over not just to eat tasty cupcakes, but to hear Truffles talk like a pirate. Zilla renamed her business, “Pirate Café” and sold more cupcakes than anyone, thanks to Truffles.
When the wind blew from the west, though, Zilla still dreamed of being a pirate and sailing the open seas. On those occasions, Truffles sensed her discontent and cheered her up by saying, “Escargot are snails, Madam. You eat them with butter,” over and over until Zilla began to laugh.
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Copyright 2015 by Valerie L. Egar. May not be copied or reproduced without permission from the author. Published July 26, 2015 in Journal Tribune Sunday (Biddeford, ME).