At the precise moment that Colonel Sanders was revealing his shocking bit of plot-twisting information, Beauregard Sanders, that is, Popeye, was fuming. It was bad enough that pirates had destroyed his ship and his livelihood. Now they seemed to be overrunning Port Plees-Comagin. Worst of all, Sam and Ella’s was continually packed with the criminals. Popeye had listened to their talk and knew what was happening. Things were looking bad for the entire kingdom.
Popeye tried to ignore the taunts of the pirates. He sat back in his chair, head down, large arms folded.
“How’s life, landlubber? Miss your ship?”
He chewed on the stem of his pipe, the agitation rising. He knew what he was capable of, the power he possessed. Still, once that power was unleashed, there would be no turning back. It would be all-out war.
“Hey,” one of the pirates said, turning to another who was seated next to him. “Ya ever hear him laugh?” The other nodded.
“Sounds like a seagull choking on a fish.” Both pirates guffawed and began making gagging noises that approximated Popeye’s own stuttering laugh.
At that, Popeye shot up. His pipe began to spin in his mouth, making an ominous whirring sound. He stretched out an arm toward the bar where Sam was watching with a stony expression.
“That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!”
Without missing a beat, Sam reached below the bar, produced a can of spinach, and hurled it toward the irate sailor. In one fluid motion, Popeye caught the can in his outstretched hand, squeezed it until it popped open, and emptied the contents into his mouth. All the while, the pirates were laughing hysterically at Popeye’s antics. Little did they know what awaited them next.
“Well, you made a right mess of my bar,” Sam said sardonically, as he looked over the wreckage of broken furniture, scattered dishware, and a room full of unconscious pirates. Popeye grinned.
“Ya didn’t have ta give me the spinach…”
Sam sighed. “True. So now what’s yer plan?”
“Well,” replied Popeye after a moment’s thought, “I guess I needs me a ship.” Sam swept his hand across the bar.
“I don’t think these gents’ll be needin’ theirs for a while.”
Popeye let out a cackle, and moved toward the door. Though no one knew it, the war had begun.
Popeye spent the rest of the afternoon recruiting sailors. He had no shortage of volunteers. Every displaced seaman in the Port seemed keen on vengeance, and none more so than Captain Asiago, formerly of the Panera.
“That be the ship, Cap’n.” Popeye pointed to the harbored vessel that at the moment appeared to be minimally crewed. He and Asiago were hidden behind a stack of crates on the dock, directly opposite their target of surveillance. An hour had passed, and none of the pirates from the Sam and Ella’s had returned.
Asiago read the crudely painted lettering on the side of the ship.
“‘Crab Shack,’ he muttered, “What a ridiculous name.” He turned to Popeye. “Do you know who captains this ship?”
“Joe sometin’. I didn’t gets a last name,” the sailor replied. The only other thing that Popeye actually knew about the pirate captain was that he did a terrible impersonation of his laugh; seagull choking on a fish, indeed. Asiago nodded.
“Ahh…so that’s Joe’s ‘Crab Shack.’ I heard Silver gave him his own ship. He must be really scraping the chum bucket if he’s giving ships away to riff-raff like Joe.”
The two men withdrew from their hiding place and heading back to an abandoned restaurant (soon to reopen as a Little Caesar’s). There, Popeye’s other recruits waited for further instructions.
“I suppose,” said Asiago, “that now would be a good a time as any to take the ship.”
“It’s almosk dark, so no ones can sees us load our secret weapons.”
“You know,” Asiago wondered as they stopped at the door of the restaurant, “it’s been a while since you knocked out those pirates. I’m surprised that they haven’t turned up yet.” Popeye grinned.
“If I knows Sam, they’ll be outta action for as long we needs.”
It wasn’t Sam, however, that kept the pirates out of action. Ella had returned home from visiting her sister shortly after the brawl. She was not pleased by the state of the bar.
“Lady, we ain’t maids,” complained one of the groggy pirates as he continued to sweep up the barroom. He flinched as a thoroughly enraged Ella pounded up to him, a broken chair leg waving menacingly in her fist.
“You ain’t pirates neither if one man managed to lay out your entire crew!”
“Now lookie here…” blurted Captain Joe, slamming down a bucket containing non-broken dishes. “I’m…” Ella swung around and pointing her chair leg at Joe’s face.
“You’re…what?” She hissed at him.
“I’m…” he caught the look of fire in the proprietress’ eyes and gulped, “…going to take these dishes into the kitchen.” Meekly, he took up the bucket and turned to go.
“Too right, you are!”
“Gentlemen,” Sam piped up from behind the bar, “Hell hath no fury like a…
“You shut up!” Ella rounded on him. “Keep cleaning, Sam!”
“Yes, dear,” Sam mumbled contritely. Popeye would owe him big for this one.