“I am supposed to tell you this is a just and fair decision,” says the captain.
She looks ill at ease. The hand that raises her pewter cup to her lips is white-knuckled against the metal. It trembles.
“But I will not say it. You are smarter than they give you credit for.”
She looks at her officers, seated before her at the smaller head table. She pauses to wait as the cabin boy refills a glass for the quartermaster. The dark brown liquid that pours into his vessel speaks to the gravity of the situation. The quartermaster is not a man who readily takes to the drink. Whatever the captain has told him, it has him on a second cup of ration rum.
“The woman in our brig,” says the captain, “is – officially – a pirate.”
The crew mumbles. They’ve seen the girl, witnessed her tear-stained cheeks, the torn finery of her dress. The broken fingers nails. This was no soul who lived under a mast.
“You all know the truth, plain.” The captain had a twitch in her temple. The kind she often had just before she ordered them to lend her their madness.
“She is a princess.”
A sip, again, from her cup.
“And I will not see them hang her on the threads of a lie.”
Author’s note: These snippets are unedited free-writing exercises that I use as a way to shift my brain into a creative state. I use Lynda Barry’s What It Is Youtube timed exercises (usually 9 minutes worth of writing) for these. They are handwritten in a composition notebook, and then typed up here. As I transcribe them, I do tiny grammar and spelling checks, but the overall “clarity” (if you can call it that) of the exercise is left as-is.