This is the last installment for now of Lady Katherine’s (AKA Captain Kate and Kate-One-Eye) interview with Archibald Peabody, a reporter from the London Gazette. They will possibly meet up again, but since I am not a reader of minds, It cannot be said for sure.
The scribe now bore no pretensions of friendliness at all. With each question, he became more like a spider spinning a web with an eye on catching a fly. “To get back on subject, Lady Katherine, what prompted you to learn Portuguese in the first place? Just so you could get on the good side of Her Royal Majesty?”
“I happen to be proficient in several languages besides Portuguese; French, German, Spanish, and Latin. And passable in a few more. I started my training in Portuguese even before I went to school in London, and I continued it there. As far as motivation was concerned, I merely wanted to be able to converse with the queen should I meet her. I had no thought of it ever developing into a friendship.”
He jotted down something before he once again looked back up at her and, with a mean look on his face, returned to the questioning. “I spoke with a few local people before conducting this interview. One was a crewman of yours; a fellow named Jacob. He told me that you have a male companion on board your ship. One whom you frequently share your bed with.” One eyebrow was cocked and he looked ready to fire off more rounds.
In spite of his badgering tone, she smiled.
He tapped the table with the back of his pen. A few drops of ink splashed onto the white linen table covering. After waiting several moments for a reply from her, he finally inquired, “Have you no defense to this accusation?”
“I met with you for what I thought was to be an interview. It seems to have turned into an inquisition instead. But yes, I shall answer. My friend Jacob was quite correct about me not depriving myself of male companionship. Pegleg does quite frequently share my bed with me.”
He was almost salivating.
“Pegleg? Sounds to be an older gentleman.”
“Well, yes, he is quite mature.”
“He saved me from an attack, you see, and I, well I can’t help but feel obligated to repay him . . . over and over again.” She bore an angelic smile on her face with her last words and fanned herself as if to dissipate the heat.
He scribbled fast, sending ink flying and splattering more black spots onto the tablecloth.
Looking up once again, the scribe said, “I understand you are in pursuit of the pirate, Black Jack.”
“Do you actually think that you and a bunch of children can take on one of the most notorious pirates in the Caribbean? Don’t you realize that he commands several ships?”
“That’s two questions, Archie. But yes, I know how many ships he has. After all, my lovely West Wind was his notorious Vulture before I stole her from him. But don’t forget, my Pegleg is quite ferocious.”
“Pegleg or not, it’s an insane quest you’re on.”
“Afraid I shall get myself killed before your story can have me sent to the gallows?”
That is unfair, Lady Katherine, I mean you no harm.
“For your sake, I’m very glad of that, Archie.” She stood and stared down at him.
“And why do you say that?”
“Lead is such a precious commodity, and it would be such a shame to waste a single ball from my pistol on the likes of you.”
He sat there, mouth agape.
“I have a busy schedule; the hairdresser, a fitting at Miss Lorraine L’Amour’s Dress Shoppe, not to mention target practice, and I cannot waste another moment in your presence.” She shook a finger at him. “Mark my words, scribe, you convey anything scandalous about me to His Royal Majesty, or print anything untoward in that sheet of yellow paper, I shall be required to make the decision as to whether I should waste that precious ball of lead on you, or just run you through with my lovely bejeweled sword.”
She turned and marched off to exit the Cranky Teapot.
He sat there, mouth still agape.
Before she reached the door, Lady Katherine stopped and turned back to him. “By the way, make sure that you mention in that yellow paper that Master Pegleg stands on four – no make that three of his own legs, and a wooden one.”