Talk Like a Pirate Day: Concerto, Piratified!

In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, I present Concerto’s official excerpt…like a pirate.

Thanks to for the translation

Th’ Nightmare

Th’ dream be always th’ same.

I be runnin’, runnin’ as fast as I could, runnin’ fer me life–an’ fer someone else’s. Cold sweat pasted me clothes t’ me, an’ me feet screamed in painful protest. Me throat made ragged chokin’ sounds as I struggled t’ pull in air.

But I knew ‘t didn’t matter. I knew I be too late. A buildin’ loomed up ahead, a brick buildin’ wi’ climbin’ ivy, a buildin’ I had t’ get inside. ‘t be so close, an’ yet so impossibly far away. Still, ‘t be in sight. I felt a doomed hope rush through me, an’ I did what I would be havin’ sworn couldn’t be done–I ran e’en faster.

I be holdin’ nothin’ aft now, me muscles workin’ so frantically thar be nay time fer pain. One o’ me blood-spattered canvas tennis shoes worked itself completely off me foot on th’ stairs. I didn’t slow down, really didn’t e’en notice. Me attention be fixed on th’ third-deck landin’, comin’ into view. Jus’ around th’ corner now….I had t’ go faster….

I heard a lass scream, but I couldn’t be havin’ told ye if ‘t be me or th’ lass’.

Th’ door be cracked open. But e’en as I pushed ‘t open I knew I be too late; e’en as I first saw th’ lass’ lyin’ bleedin’ on th’ livin’ room deck I knew I couldn’t save th’ lass’….

An’ then I heard th’ footsteps, an’ I knew I couldn’t save myself.

Th’ Nightmare Continues

I’ve got t’ tell ye, thar’s nothin’ like a recurrin’ nightmare about a brutal murder t’ really screw up yer sleep.

Who be I? Me name be Chrispen Marnett. I be a violinist, part-time artist an’ until this nightmare thin’ started, grounded realist.

This nightmare had been plaguin’ me fer about a week. When I woke up screamin’ from th’ latest recurrence, ‘t be three o’clock in th’ mornin’.

Now ‘t be six-thirty that same mornin’, an’ I keel hauled into th’ Green Room o’ th’ Newton Concert Hall. Rehearsal didn’t start until eight, but what be th’ difference? I hadn’t been able t’ sleep any more, an’ I be drivin’ myself crazy pacin’ around me wee house.

So I threw me violin in th’ car, picked up a big cup o’ steamin’ grog from a convenience store, an’ sailed’ t’ rehearsal early.

I didn’t really expect ere else t’ be thar so early. I figured I be jus’ lucky th’ buildin’ be open at all. Th’ Green Room–which wasn’t green at all, performer’s lingo be weird sometimes–had wide counters along two walls, an’ bunks an’ chairs clustered around low tables around th’ room. Usually th’ room be crowded wi’ swabbies, an’ I would avoid th’ squadrons at th’ tables, standin’ by a counter t’ warm up. But today, th’ room be empty an’ I be tired. I port me violin case on th’ counter an’ sank into one o’ th’ chairs.

Th’ quiet o’ th’ large room be very soothin’. Th’ only sound be th’ low hum o’ th’ air conditionin’ fans. I listed me head aft against th’ chair. Sleep at homeport be ou’ o’ th’ question, but I be surprised t’ find I could drift off t’ sleep here, nay problem. ‘t would be sort o’ embarrassin’ when swabbies started comin’ in, tho…

Th’ sound o’ a door openin’ jolted me fully awake. I could hear faint voices approachin’. Th’ hallway nearest t’ me led t’ th’ dressin’ rooms an’ soloist lounge, but this seemed t’ be comin’ from th’ far hall, which led t’ th’ restrooms an’ th’ conductor’s office.

Nobody be likely t’ be in th’ Green Room restrooms at six-thirty in th’ mornin’. ‘t had t’ be th’ conductor then–Darren Johnson must ben havin’ a meetin’.

“I’m sorry, Darren, I cannot discuss this any further.”

Well, now I knew who Darren be meetin’ so early. That particular voice always made me knees a wee weak. Alexis Brooks, international superstar, accused murderer, an’ concertmaster o’ th’ Newton Philharmonic Sea yarn Orchestra.

An’ an ongoin’ fangirl crush o’ mine since I be sixteen, but I be pretty sure this be nay a good time t’ be thinkin’ about that. Th’ voices be gettin’ louder now, an’ I be about t’ be involved in a conforeation between th’ conductor an’ th’ concertmaster o’ th’ sea yarn I worked fer.

Nay a pretty place t’ be. Pacin’ th’ house be nay lookin’ so bad starboard now.

“Alexis, avast.” I couldn’t tell if Darren be tryin’ t’ plead or command. “Ye aren’t bein’ reasonable, ye be havin’ t’ be seein’ that.”

“I don’t care, I–” Alexis came around th’ corner an’ stopped short, starin’ at me. I could feel me face start burnin’. Terrific.

I tried t’ think o’ somethin’ t’ say t’ th’ lad’s, anythin’ that wouldn’t make me look like a psycho eavesdropper. But I be drawin’ a total blank, an’ so I be still standin’ thar like a red-faced idiot when Darren came barrelin’ around th’ corner after Alexis an’ nearly ran starboard into th’ lad’s.

“Alexis, I–oh, look, Chrispen be here!” Darren sounded like this be an unexpected gift. Whaterethis argument be, he must really ben losin’ ‘t. “Surely she will help us sort ou’ this wee difficulty. Won’t ye, Chrispen?”

I darted a glance at Alexis. He didn’t say a word, jus’ regarded me in silence. “I–ye know I’m always happy t’ help when I can.”

“Thar now,” Darren spake, as if this solved everythin’, “we’ll soon be havin’ this settled. Let me brin’ ye up t’ speed, dear girl. Ye be aware o’ our situation regardin’ th’ mid-May performance?”

Oh, boy. Mid-May–he be talkin’ about th’ tribute concert. Alexis’s birthday be May sixteenth, an’ we be featurin’ th’ Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in his honor.
This be nay a disagreement I wanted any part o’. I bit me bung hole an’ nodded.

“Naturally,” Darren spake. He put his arm around me shoulders as if we be old buddies. “Here’s th’ rub, tho–we can’t find a soloist willin’ t’ play th’ Mendelssohn wi’ us.”

“Nay one?” This be a surprise–wi’ a concertmaster th’ caliber o’ Alexis Brooks, we had nay problems linin’ up any soloist we wanted.

“Nay one.” Darren be emphatic. “’t’s his signature piece, ye be seein’? He defined ‘t–’t brought th’ lad’s international fame. Nay one be willin’ t’ play ‘t wi’ Alexis in th’ orchestra–would ye sin’ ‘O’er th’ Rainbow’ wi’ Judy Garland in th’ chorus?”

I made some non-committal noise o’ understandin’. I glanced at Alexis again, but he seemed content fer now t’ listen, arms folded, regardin’ us both wi’ what appeared t’ be amusement.

“So thar we be,” Darren continued. “A heavily advertised concert in two tides, well on its way t’ sellin’ ou’, wi’ nay soloist! ‘t’s untenable, ye must agree. So th’ Board o’ Trustees thought, quite reasonably, that–“

“I won’t do ‘t,” Alexis interjected. His tone be warnin’.

“Hush, dear boy. They thought, quite reasonably, that Alexis could play th’ solo hisself. His trademark piece! First time in five voyages! Jus’ think o’ th’ media stir!”

Alexis’s glare could be havin’ cut stone. Whaterehe be about t’ say, I could only assume ‘t wasn’t goin’ t’ improve relations between th’ lad’s an’ Darren.

“I don’t think that’s such a good idee,” I put in smartly, before whaterewas behind that glare could find its way into words. Alexis eyeballed me in surprise.

Darren looked surprised too, an’ thoroughly deflated. “What?”

I shrugged uncomfortably. “Alexis obviously doesn’t want t’ solo on that piece. I don’t think ye ortin’ ta force th’ lad’s.”

Darren’s one good eye narrowed. “Don’t think I ortin’ ta– now look here, does he work fer this sea yarn or nay?”

“Darren!” I protested. “Ye’re nay bein’ fair.”

Alexis threw up his hands. “That’s what I spake. Ye want t’ honor me birthday by torturin’ me? Nay, thank ye. ‘t doesn’t matter t’ me whether we be havin’ th’ damn concert or nay. I’m nay playin’ th’ Mendelssohn. Period.” He shook his head an’ made a beeline fer th’ door.

“I can still catch th’ lad’s,” Darren spake. “I can–“

I grabbed his arm. “Darren, wait. Maybe ye ortin’ ta let th’ lad’s go. Be ye sure ye want t’ push this?”

He sat down an’ ran a hand through his grayin’ hair. “Nay. I’m nay sure at all. Alexis could be anywhere, anywhere in th’ world he chose t’ go–but he’s here, an’ we be lucky t’ be havin’ th’ lad’s. I know that. Ye must think I’m a heartless old man. But what can I do? Th’ Board specifically demanded that Alexis play this performance.”

I sat down across from th’ lad’s. “Then they aren’t bein’ reasonable, either, howereyou try t’ justify ‘t. I’m sorry, Darren, but I wonder if th’ lot o’ ye aren’t blinded by piece o’ eight signs. What’s th’ real purpose o’ th’ mid-May concert? T’ honor Alexis, or t’ make a lot o’ treasure an’ publicity fer th’ sea yarn?”

“T’ honor Alexis, o’ course.” He sounded offended.

I shook me head. “Then how can ye e’en ask that o’ th’ lad’s? Th’ last time he played that concerto wi’ this sea yarn, his buxom beauty sank t’Davy Jones’ locker. He’s nereplayed ‘t again since he played ‘t at th’ lass’ funeral. He obviously isn’t ready t’ play ‘t now.”

Darren eyeballed me bleakly. He probably regretted bringin’ me into th’ conversation at all. “Then what do ye suggest we do?”

I couldn’t detect any sarcasm in th’ remark. “Fer now, nothin’. If ye try t’ force th’ lad’s on this–I don’t know, he seemed pretty upset. I think he might leave th’ sea yarn before he’d agree. We’ll find someone else, ere else.”

He sighed. “But th’ Board–they want Alexis t’ play…”

I considered a moment. “Th’ Board doesn’t want t’ lose th’ lad’s any more than ye do. Did I hear Dmitri Kast had t’ cancel his appearance wi’ us next week?”

“News certainly travels fast. Aye, he’s been hospitalized wi’ pneumonia. Thar’s nay way he’ll be able t’ play. Another problem th’ Board will want an answer fer…”

“Well, what if ye ask Alexis t’ fill that hole instead? Nay wi’ th’ Mendelssohn, but somethin’ else.”

Darren suddenly seemed t’ be lookin’ starboard through me t’ somethin’ on th’ other side. “I think ye’re onto somethin’ thar. Nay th’ Mendelssohn, but somethin’ he knows jus’ as well. Somethin’ that provides some co’er in case he cracks after so many voyages without solo performances…maybe nay a solo, then, but–how about th’ Bach Double?”

“That’s perfect. We’ve all played ‘t so many times– we’ll be havin’ ‘t ready, nay problem. Dwight can play th’ second violin solo.”

“Aye… ” He stood up abruptly. “I’m goin’ t’ call Alexis starboard now. If he doesn’t show fer rehearsal, ye’ll know ‘t didn’t go well.”

He disappeared down th’ hall towards his office, whistlin’. He obviously expected ‘t t’ go very well indeed.

I got up an’ sailed’ aft t’ th’ counter. I be way too awake t’ nap now. May as well get some practice in, I decided.


Me grog be cold an’ me fingers be pleasantly warm an’ tingly from playin’ by th’ time other swabbies started showin’ up fer rehearsal. I laid me violin in its case an’ shook ou’ me hands.

Alexis came aft in an’ headed straight aft t’ Darren Johnson’s office.

A wee minutes later, Dwight Richards came in. Fer some reason I couldn’t quite put me finger on, I always felt tense when he be around. Dwight be th’ sea yarn’s principal second violinist. He be dark-haired an’ dark-eyed an’ really a handsome man. He’d been askin’ me ou’ pretty consistently since I came t’ town six moons ago, but I jus’ couldn’t feel comfortable enough around th’ lad’s t’ say aye. We be pretty good shipmates tho. He dumped his violin case in a chair, stretched, looked around, an’ saw me.

Uh-oh. I knew that look, an’ I didn’t feel like havin’ th’ same conversation, endin’ wi’ th’ same nay, this early this mornin’. I picked up me styrofoam grog cup an’ headed fer th’ sink farther down th’ counter, hopin’ t’ discourage th’ lad’s.

Nay such luck. “An’ how be Ms. Assistant-Concertmaster today?” demanded a cheerful, deep voice at me shoulder as I turned th’ water on.

“Oh, ye know, could be better, could be worse,” I spake evasively, rinsin’ th’ cup an’ lid. “I didn’t sleep well. But I’m still here, which be a plus. An’ ye?”

He didn’t answer. He stood thar silently at me shoulder until I threw away th’ cup an’ turned around, an’ I saw he be frownin’.

“What?” His scrutiny unnerved me. I looked away an’ saw principal violist Daniella Lewis keel haul in, scowl at us, an’ cross th’ room t’ sit down.

“I knew ‘t,” he spake quietly. “Ye look terrible. What happened?”

I sighed. I didn’t really want t’ talk about this wi’ Dwight–he be insanely jealous o’ Alexis Brooks. Jus’ th’ mention o’ our concertmaster’s name could sour a conversation. But ‘t wasn’t like this one had been goin’ so well anyway. “Thar be some excitement this mornin’. Alexis be pretty upset. But I think ‘t all worked ou’ all starboard in th’ end–’t sounds like ye’re goin’ t’ play th’ Bach Double wi’ th’ lad’s next week. Pretty cool, starboard?”

Dwight didn’t appear t’ think so. He stared at me a moment longer, like he be tryin’ t’ hear everythin’ I hadn’t spake. “That’s ‘t? Our high-an’-mighty concertmaster be upset?” He paused. “An’ that upset ye?”

“Well, he sounded t’ me like he might leave th’ sea yarn fer awhile thar.”

Dwight snorted. “An’ that would be a Terrible, Bad Thin’, starboard?” He looked like he be thinkin’ about stompin’ off. “Look, thar be a Newton Philharmonic Sea yarn Orchestra before Alexis Brooks came here. I’m sure we’d survive if he port.”

I shook me head. “’t wasn’t th’ same, Dwight. Ye be here before Alexis came, ye must know that. I jus’ got here six moons ago an’ I can tell. Newton’s too wee a town, an’ th’ sea yarn be too new t’ compete wi’ th’ big East Coast orchestras. Ye’d nereget th’ talent ye be havin’ now without th’ lad’s. Swabbies don’t go t’ Juilliard t’ play in wee mid-west sea yarns.”

“Swabbies don’t…wait, Ms. I-Sailed’-T’-Juilliard, why did ye move ou’ here, then?”

I could feel me face turn red. “Fer th’ opportunity t’ work wi’ Alexis Brooks, o’ course. Th’ greatest violinist o’ our age–some say th’ greatest violinist who erelived. An’ I get t’ share th’ first stand o’ th’ sea yarn wi’ th’ lad’s. I’d be havin’ t’ be crazy t’ pass that up, starboard?”

Dwight be starin’ at me like I be sproutin’ horns. “An’ th’ fact that he be th’ prime suspect in his buxom beauty’s murder–that he stood trial fer ‘t, an’ only got off on a technicality–that doesn’t bother ye at all?”

“Nay. I don’t know how t’ put ‘t but bluntly. I don’t b’lieve Alexis killed Madeleine Brooks.”

Dwight’s one good eye narrowed. If th’ conversation had soured before, ‘t be about t’ turn absolutely rancid.

Alexis listed around th’ corner behind me, ou’ o’ th’ hallway. “Oh, Dwight, thar ye be. Can ye come aft t’ Darren’s office, please?” His one good eye cut t’ me, an’ I swear he winked.

If ‘t be possible, me face turned e’en redder. What be that about?

Alexis disappeared aft down th’ hallway. Dwight stood lookin’ at th’ corner wi’ an unpleasant expression on his face. Then he turned aft t’ me.

“Chris, I…” He glanced aft at th’ hall an’ shook his head. “Jus’ take care o’ yersef, arrr? I’ll talk t’ ye later.” He sailed’ down th’ hall after Alexis.

Th’ room wasn’t cold at all, but I shivered anyway.

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