Captain Smew’s Seven Deadly Sins:
The Greedy Pirates
By Richard W. Dyer
“Swim Shiva! Swim! Harder! Swim ye little tadpole. You can do this” Captain Smew encouraged the little pirate, who by now was exhausted beyond all comprehension. She had a cramp in her left leg, her arms ached like crazy and she could barely move them to tread water, let alone to swim. She wasn’t a very strong swimmer to begin with, but fighting this riptide was brutal. Smew quickly looked around to assess their situation. Toward shore he saw Amadahy and Candelario on the other side of the breaking waves. Amadahy, the best swimmer of them all, was nearly to shore. Candelario had just made it through the pounding surf.
Smew told the other two to get to shore so Amadahy could help Candelario, who was a mediocre swimmer at best, while he stayed behind to help Shiva.
Smew struggled to get Shiva to fight. Grabbing her by the shoulders, he shook her once to snap her out of her fatigued state and wake her up. “Shiva! Ye must swim! Yer life depends on it!” he cried, emphasizing the word ‘life’ as he pleaded with her to keep fighting.
“I’m jus’ too tired Cap’n.” Shiva’s eyes begged for deliverance from the pain and fatigue that wracked her little body.
“Shiva, Jus’ grab hold o’ me shirt. Can ye at least do that, love?”
“Aye Cap’n. I’ll try,” she replied feebly. The swells were lifting them up and dropping them down. While in the bottom of the trough, water towering above them was all they could see. Smew was just beginning to realize they were caught in a riptide. He wasn’t the greatest swimmer either but he was strong and determined to not let Shiva drown. “Shiva, we have to swim that way,” he ordered, pointing parallel to shore.
“But the beach is that way,” a bewildered Shiva protested, looking straight at the beach and pointing with her nose because her hands were busy.
“Riptide,” was Smew’s reply as Shiva’s eyes widened in fear.
“It’s alright. We’ll get through this,” Smew reassured her. “Jus’ grab hold and don’t let go—and kick like yer life depends on it! I’ll do the rest.” Smew began to swim diagonally toward the beach, not fighting the rip. It was working. Now instead of being in the bottom of the trough they were starting to come up on top. Fighting to crawl their way out of the trough and up the back of each wave was like sliding through shale. It seemed that for every two feet gained they lost one.
He could feel the weight of his boots, sword, pistols, and Shiva all dragging against him. His limbs burned with fire. Never could he remember his body being wracked with more pain than this. But it was working. They were getting closer to shore. “Okay Shiva, now we gonna be havin’ to swim real hard to catch the next wave. Can you do that, love?”
Shiva nodded, gasping for breath and unable to speak. It was all she could do to hold onto the bottom of Smew’s thick black shirt, and as he swam he kept kicking her in the ribs; not all the time but enough to hurt. As the wave built behind them Captain Smew signaled, “Now swim hard little tadpole!” He called her that since the first day he saw her because she was so tiny and reminded him of a baby frog.
They both started kicking and swimming. Smew felt the push of the water behind him as he swam with nearly every ounce of strength he had left. He rode the wave for all it was worth. Until it crashed on top of him and rolled him under the water.
It be hard to tell which way is up when ye be getting’ churned like butter, he thought. He finally got his head above water and took a much needed breath. “Shiva,” he yelled. He didn’t feel her pulling on him. Frantically he searched the chest deep water around him for any sign of her. She must still be under this frothy sea, he thought, as he thrashed the water with his hands and feet to feel for her.
“Shiva,” He screamed. Just then he heard Candelario and Amadahy who were running down the beach and screaming from shore. They were pointing out to sea. He looked around wildly for his little tadpole and to his shock and horror saw that she had not made the last wave. She was more than 100 feet behind him. Her arms were up in the air and she was just starting to go under. “Shiva! I’m coming,” he yelled, as he started swimming with everything he had. Harder Smew. You got to get to her, his body screamed from every fiber to stop. His heart drove him harder, faster, further. I have to save her. I have to. It was agonizing to see her struggle to keep her head above water. Poor thing, Smew thought. Hang on Little Tadpole. Cap’n Smew gunna save ye!
Smew reached Shiva just as her head went below the surface. Were that the second or third time she be goin’ under? Captain Smew wondered. He understood the third time meant a person was drowning. He reached down, grabbed her by the shoulders, and pulled her head back above the surface. Smew shook her awake and yelled in her face. Her eyes were rolled back in her head, her face was blueish, she had given up and was barely conscious. “Shiva! Wake up Shiva!”
Shiva blinked, slowly at first, fighting to roll her eyes back to where she could see who held her and who was screaming at her. Cap’n Smew, she thought. You came back. “I can’t,” was all she said. Her little body went limp in his hands.
“Shiva nooooo!” Smew was not accepting her defeat. He knew he was not able to drag her to shore unless she helped they would both drown. Smew raised his hand and slapped her on the cheek, hard. Shiva opened her brown crescent eyes but this time there was fire there.
“What the?” she asked in anger.
“Do I need to do that again?” Smew was ready to slap her again with hand outstretched.
“No, I’ll swim,” Shiva replied. “But I’m so tired,” she whispered.
“I know love, but we can do this,” Smew reassured her. “You just have to hang onto me. I won’t let you drown. I promise. Wait, give me that rope.” Shiva always carried a rope over her shoulder. She liked tying knots and she always said, “It jus’ might come in handy someday, ye know.” She was too tired to remove it so Smew took it off her while she struggled to tread water.
Like now, Smew thought to himself. Jus’ how handy ye never knew, little tadpole. Smew hastily tied a bowline around Shiva and one around himself. He told her to grab the rope around his waist and hang on, and kick. She promised she would. Again they were in position to swim for a wave. It flattened and passed them by. “It’s okay, we gonna be gettin’ the next one,” Smew told her.