Douglas (Spike) Sharp

Robert P. Herbst

After our first dismal failure at pirating, and thanks to Spikes ability to speak like Henry Kissinger, we were able to convince the Coastal Patrol it was all an innocent prank on our part. If they wanted to get someone with real evil intentions they should go out and get the Mr Kissinger, who put us up to our failed act of piracy.

This seemed to work and after several hours of intense questioning they turned us loose with a stern warning to get rid of our costumes and remain several miles inland, under threat of incarceration or possibly worse. They were careful to remind us piracy was still a hanging offence.

Breathing a great sigh of relief Spike and I wandered out of the detention center and once again mingled into the embrace of the free public. Spike's commented as we walked, dejected, down the busy street: "Robert, I told you we needed a bigger boat."

Fortunately, our wanderings took us by a PUB featuring Watney's Stingo where we found Yodar Hoopelhoffer, the Mount Perry town idiot, Walley Turkey the Worsbrough Dale village idiot, Perry Noid, the World's most insecure man and Skitso Frenik the World's most aggressive schizophrenic.

As the five of us became pleasantly soused on Stingo, the subject of piracy came up once again. This time, rather than use a boat which could be easily seen, we'd see if we could begin our pirating career by swiping one of the newer atomic-powered submarines. There was peace in the world and there seemed to be so many of them just kind of sitting about doing nothing. Then, armed with both torpedoes and silos full of atomic missiles we would indeed be a formidable force to reckon with.

Our first stop was at a war surplus store so we could dress in appropriate uniforms. Unfortunately, due to some sort of miscommunication each of us left the store wearing uniforms of different countries. No matter, we marched up the gangplank, of a suitable submarine, representing ourselves as a United Nations Inspection Team. When in doubt, use what you got and make the best of it. Somehow, God only knows why, it worked.

Yodar, sensing an opportunity to show us his understanding of all things mechanical and once again demonstrated his incredible good luck, raced to the control room and somehow managed to find the GO button. By the time the rest of us were able to chop through the ropes holding us to the dock, we were several miles at sea.

The lone Marine on duty to guard the submarine was still standing on the dock waving his empty gun in the air screaming: "Stop! You can't do this." Apparently during peacetime the Army did not see the necessity of giving its guards real bullets. This was a very good thing as the lone Marine did seem a tad upset about the goings on.

At a prearranged location in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and with Walley navigating, (please don't ask me how we ever arrived at a prearranged location), we met a Japanese cargo ship which helped us load six long lance torpedoes into the forward torpedo tubes, and two into the stern. Spike obliged us by handling the negotiations posing as Henry Kissinger on a super secret United Nations Mission.

With Skitso Frenik as weapons officer we made for the shipping lanes in the hopes of finding a nice big Cruise Ship to terrorize and ravage passengers while we stocked our larder with food and drink.

On the way there was time and a definite need for some practice dives as we raced at full speed to our predetermined destination. During the first few emergency test dives we attempted, we quickly learned the necessity of closing all the hatches before submerging.

The screen door Walley attached to the main hatch did no well at all. Walley swore it would keep the bugs out of the submarine and there was just no telling him there were no bugs off shore. However, after the second crash- dive Walley was finally convinced the screen door was next to useless in keeping water out.

Perry Noid was our safety officer and he was never satisfied with all the safety precautions and kept insisting the computer mainframe was talking to him and giving him instructions. This was not necessarily a bad thing, as the mainframe seemed to tell him if anything in the submarine was out of order.

Spike took on the roll of captain and continually peered into the periscope, even after we'd submerged to 100 feet. He kept telling us it was just like looking into his aquarium at home. Walley Turkey served as navigator and when asked which way we should go invariably pointed straight ahead and said, "Thata way". As he and Spike both came from Worsbrough Dale, he always agreed and away we went.

Our careers as pirates came to an unpredictable end when we test-fired our first torpedo. It seems the torpedo had a guidance system that, once fired, went about a half mile and began searching for the nearest metallic object. It was a beautiful system and would have worked just fine except for one minor miscalculation—we were the only metallic object out there!

Once again hauled aboard a Coastal Patrol Cutter we were asked where we'd come from. None of us were brave enough to tell them one of their brand new atomic-powered attack submarines was just a few hundred yards under their keel with a large hole in it.