Talk Like a Pirate Day–Music Mage, Piratified!

In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, I present The Music Mage’s official excerpt–in pirate speak.

Thanks to for the translation.

A Union o’ Worlds

Th’ room around Alannys be filled wi’ thick, acrid black smoke. Th’ lass’ one good eye stung an’ th’ lass’ lungs burned. She choked on ever’ shallow breath she tried t’ draw, an’ she could hardly force th’ lass’ one good eye t’ stay open against th’ burnin’ pain. Tears streamed unheeded down th’ lass’ face. She could hear th’ cracklin’ o’ flames, an’ th’ shrieks o’ pained, panicked voices, but she couldn’t be seein’ th’ fire or th’ swabbies through th’ oily black smoke.

She couldn’t e’en be seein’ which way t’ run.

Alannys had known when she signed on t’ teach middle school music that th’ job wouldna be easy, but this seemed a bit extreme. Especially since th’ room around th’ lass’ be in a stone castle tower, on a planet that wasn’t e’en th’ lass’ own.

How had she gotten here? ‘t had all started a wee days before…


Se’en o’clock on a Mondee mornin’ probably wouldna make most swabbies’s top ten list o’ the’r favorite times t’ be at a school.

But Alannys Gale be nay most swabbies, an’ Daniels Junior High wasn’t most schools, an’ Alannys hummed t’ herself that particular Mondee mornin’ as she sat tapin’ sheets o’ music together at th’ lass’ desk. She really did love th’ quiet o’ th’ lass’ roomy office that looked ou’ into th’ band room, th’ restful peace an’ calm that ‘t always exuded early in th’ mornin’, before th’ students or th’ administration or ere else came in t’ shatter ‘t.

Th’ rest o’ th’ time, tho, she would be havin’ paid good treasure t’ be anywhere else.

Alannys ripped th’ last strip o’ tape off th’ roll wi’ such vehemence that ‘t wrapped around th’ lass’ finger an’ stuck t’ itself.

“Knock, knock! How be our fine an’ talented music director this mornin’?” Th’ voice be as melodious as one might expect from an eighty-somethin’ grizzled old man who had only recently stopped smokin’.

Alannys smiled. “Good mornin’, Mister Trinn. I didn’t hear ye come in.”

Th’ old custodian laughed, pullin’ up a chair next t’ th’ lass’ desk. He held a steamin’ foam cup in each hand. “Doesn’t surprise me. Ye seemed pretty caught up in—what exactly be ye doin’ thar?”

“Tapin’ together parts fer th’ new piece th’ beginnin’ orchestra be startin’ today. Or rather, I be,” she spake, regardin’ th’ lass’ tape-wrapped finger ruefully. “This be th’ last o’ me tape. I wonder if I can pick up more from th’ office, or if I’ll be havin’ t’ run ou’ at lunch an’ buy more?”

“Why would ye be havin’ t’ buy more tape? Don’t they provide these things fer teachers?”

“Be havin’ ye forgotten what school ye’re at?” Alannys shook th’ lass’ head, pullin’ th’ wasted tape from th’ lass’ finger. ‘t came off in wee, narrow strips, which did wee t’ improve th’ lass’ mood. “I won’t be surprised if ye be havin’ t’ brin’ yer own mop soon. ‘ere do ye think th’ paper fer these copies came from?”

“What? Ye had t’ buy yer own paper t’ copy music fer yer classes? Seriously?”


Mister Trinn listed o’er an’ put one o’ th’ steamin’ cups down on th’ desk in fore o’ th’ lass’. “Maybe this will make ye feel better.”

“Grog? Ye brought me grog? Thank ye!”

Mister Trinn smiled. ‘t softened his leathery face, rearrangin’ his many wrinkles into somethin’ kind an’ almost pleasin’. He scratched at his fuzzy, unkempt gray hair wi’ fingers that be swollen at th’ knuckles. “Well, a body’s got t’ be havin’ somethin’ t’ list on when they quit th’ cancer sticks, an’ nay mistake. But ‘t seems t’ me that ye need ‘t e’en more than me, an’ that’s sayin’ somethin’. Ye can’t keep this up, Alannys. Ye’ll work yersef into th’ grave.”

“Nay mistake,” she echoed, sippin’ at th’ hot grog. One cream, two sugars—Mister Trinn had e’en remembered how she tookst ‘t. If she only got one matey at Daniels—an’ more an’ more ‘t looked like she did—she could at least be glad he be a good one.

Mister Trinn set his grog down wi’ such a thump ‘t sloshed o’er th’ rim o’ th’ cup onto his hand. “Nay, I’m serious! How many other schools do ye know o’ ‘ere th’ band director, th’ orchestra director, an’ th’ choir director be all th’ same swabbie?”

“None. But what choice do I be havin’? Bill Dixley’s teachin’ band at Warren High now, an’ Shirley Clark got fired fer makin’ a fuss when th’ administration wouldn’t give th’ choir the’r usual budget. Bob says th’ school can’t afford t’ replace them. So I’m ‘t.”

“Bob.” Mister Trinn spake th’ name like ‘t be a dirty word. “Bob Jameson be nay yer matey.”

“Don’t I know ‘t.” Alannys pushed th’ stack o’ finished music t’ th’ side o’ th’ lass’ desk. “But me question stands. Th’ principal can’t afford another teacher. These kids want t’ learn music. I want t’ teach music. What other solution do ye suggest?”

Mister Trinn didn’t answer. He stared at th’ lass’ in silence fer a moment that seemed t’ stretch longer an’ longer, an’ grow more an’ more awkward. “Ye want t’ teach music,” he spake, so quietly she almost wondered if she had imagined ‘t. “I wonder. I’ve only known ye nine moons, Alannys. But I think I know ye better than that. Ye’re twenty-four voyages old. Be that what ye want t’ do? Be that all ye want t’ do?”

Alannys stared at th’ lad’s, stricken. “Aye. Well, nay. I mean—” She trailed off, at a loss t’ say what she meant.

Mister Trinn didn’t prompt th’ lass’ or try t’ finish fer th’ lass’. He sat watchin’, his face unreadable, while she floundered fer words t’ say what she had neree’en fully admitted t’ herself.

“I want t’ change th’ world,” she spake finally, starin’ at th’ lass’ reflection in th’ surface o’ th’ lass’ desk. “Th’ whole world. Don’t yo ho ho. Music can do that, Mister Trinn, ‘t has th’ power. But I…I don’t. I can’t change th’ world—I can’t e’en change th’ situation at one junior high school. Music be powerful, but th’ musician be nay.”

Mister Trinn listed fore. She had nereseen th’ lad’s look so focused, so intense. “What if I could change that?”

Alannys couldn’t ben more surprised if he had offered t’ teach th’ lass’ t’ tap dance wi’ th’ ghost o’ Fred Astaire. “What?”

He didn’t so much as crack a smile. “I can give ye what ye want, Alannys.” His voice be low; his words came so fast they tumbled o’er each other. “Honest t’ goodness I can. But ye’ll be havin’ t’ give up everything—ye’ll be havin’ t’ leave here an’ ye can’t come aft. But ye’ll be havin’ what ye’ve always wanted, I swear t’ ye that ye’ll be havin’ th’ power t’ change th’ world through music. What do ye say?”


Alannys stared at Mister Trinn in shock. She had known th’ old janitor eresince she’d hired on at Daniels, an’ she had nereknown th’ lad’s t’ be crazy. But this…thar be nay other word fer ‘t.

Th’ lass’ bung hole had gone completely dry. She tookst a sip o’ th’ lass’ grog, rollin’ ‘t around th’ lass’ bung hole in a futile attempt t’ delay th’ inevitable. She didn’t want t’ hurt th’ old man’s feelings, but at this point she didn’t be seein’ how she could avoid ‘t. “Mister Trinn…”

“Wait,” he pleaded. “Don’t dismiss this ou’ o’ hand, Alannys, please—can’t ye open yer mind, b’lieve in somethin’ bigger than what ye can be seein’?”

His voice be hypnotic. When he spake ‘t like that—fer a moment, she almost could.


“I’m sorry, Mister Trinn. Really I be. But I’ve got work here that needs doin’, an’ t’ be honest I’m nay e’en really sure what ye’re offerin’ me. But thank ye so much fer thinkin’ about me.”

She didn’t dare eyeball his face till she finished, but as soon as she did she could be seein’ that he be goin’ t’ protest.

“Knock, knock!” Th’ voice sang in from th’ doorway, like a younger echo o’ Mister Trinn’s own greetin’, only more contrived an’ less jovial.

“Well, now, if ’tisn’t our principal hisself.” Mister Trinn’s words fell flat, an’ his face carried nay expression. “What brings ye here this mornin’?”

Bob Jameson be a short, stout man in his early forties wi’ a comb-o’er an’ a smile that looked as if he very much wanted them t’ b’lieve ‘t be genuine. “Terrific news, actually,” he spake, rubbin’ his hands together wi’ evident pleasure. But Alannys didn’t be seein’ anythin’ pleasant in his one good eye as he turned t’ eyeball th’ lass’. “We’re gettin’ a new computer lab.”

Alannys blinked in surprise. What on earth did that be havin’ t’ do wi’ th’ lass’? “Well, that be terrific, I suppose. But ‘ere be ye goin’ t’ put ‘t? I thought th’ school be full.”

“Ah, aye. Well, that’s th’ thin’, really—’ere t’ put ‘t. All that equipment, ‘t’s very valuable, we can’t jus’ put ‘t anywhere. An’ we’ll need a lot o’ room, an’—we’re puttin’ ‘t here, Alannys.”

“Here? In th’ band room?”

“Well, sure, ‘t’s th’ band room now, but once ye clear this lot ou’ o’ here an’ we get ‘t set up properly, ‘t’ll be a computer lab.”

“But—this be th’ band room! ‘t’s been th’ band room eresince th’ school be built; ‘t be designed fer that. Th’ entire music program lives here!” She tried th’ lass’ best t’ stay calm, t’ reason wi’ th’ lad’s, but e’en she could hear th’ risin’ notes o’ panic an’ anger in th’ lass’ voice.

Bob’s smile hardened into somethin’ less pleasant. “This be nay up fer discussion, Alannys. We’ve already had a faculty meetin’ on th’ subject—th’ decision be made an’ announced at that time.”

“Faculty meetin’? But why wasn’t I notified? I ortin’ ta ben thar!” Alannys didn’t reckon standin’ up, but she be ou’ o’ th’ lass’ chair an’ on th’ lass’ feet.

“’t be felt that yer views on th’ subject would be too biased t’ permit any possibility o’ reason.” Bob eyed th’ lass’ distastefully. “An’ ‘t seems them feelings be correct. I’m nay here t’ debate this wi’ ye, an’ I’m nay here t’ hear yer piece. I’m here t’ tell ye th’ new computer equipment arrives at high tide today, an’ I’m here t’ notify ye t’ clear these rooms by that time. Be that clear?”

Alannys sat down wi’ a thump. “Crystal.”

“Very well. Ye may move all o’ these things o’er t’ th’ cafeteria; ‘t’s th’ only room big enough ‘ceptin’ fer th’ gym, an’ we can’t be havin’ ye messin’ up th’ deck in thar. So yer classes be held in th’ cafeteria. Yer office be open when ye get thar; ‘t connects t’ th’ cafeteria an’ ye can keep yer things in thar. We’ll need th’ deck totally clear whenereyou don’t be havin’ classes in thar—’t’s a high traffic area an’ we can’t be havin’ chairs an’ stands an’…music stuff lyin’ about. But I’m sure ye’ll figure ‘t ou’.”

He paused, as tho allowin’ a response. Several responses sailed’ through Alannys’s mind, but none o’ them be suitable t’ say t’ th’ swabbie responsible fer th’ lass’ continued employment. ‘t be probably jus’ as well that she didn’t seem t’ be havin’ th’ lass’ wits together enough t’ speak jus’ then.

“Terrific!” Bob clapped his hands together once, bstarboardly, as tho he had jus’ brought a reluctant team t’ a whole-hearted, enthusiastic agreement. “Let’s shake a leg, then—we be havin’ a computer lab t’ build!”

He turned t’ leave, then paused in th’ doorway t’ survey th’ room. Alannys could be seein’ his gaze set sail from th’ flat black metal music stands, t’ th’ faded choir robes hangin’ neatly on the’r racks, t’ th’ instruments. Th’ bstarboard shine o’ polished brass an’ th’ low gleam o’ warm wood reflected briefly in one good eye that measured them, an’ found them wholly lackin’.

“Ye be wastin’ yer time, Alannys.” Bob’s voice be distant; he might ben brushin’ off a panhandler on th’ street. “Th’ future be computers, an’ th’ things they can do fer us. Students today be havin’ nothin’ t’ learn from yer toys from th’ past.” He waved his arm in a gesture that encompassed everythin’ in th’ room. “Anachronisms, all o’ them. Throwafts. An’ if ye insist on throwin’ yer lot in wi’ them, ye’ll end up as obsolete as they be.”

Th’ door closed behind th’ lad’s wi’ a finality that made th’ lass’ shiver.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s