Dino-Pirates Christmas Special
The Part Where Sulking Happens
Captain Raptor glared at the mirror, his baleful eye unblinking in the dim light of his cabin. His head feathers splayed out in disarray. A pirate captain should fear nothing, per his grandfather’s book, but Raptor still would not look at the other side of his face since the battle. He jumped when the loud pounding on the door began.
The voice of Cera, his Triceratop first mate, boomed through the door. “Cap’n, ye been in there for weeks. It’s Christmas, I can’t manage the party without ye. The ninjas are playing Hide and Go Boo, and the cook spilled flour all over me, and we need ye to put the hat on the tree.”
“Bah humbug! I’m not doing Christmas ever again.”
“I’m gonna count to three and if ye don't come out, I'm comin’ in!”
The Captain rushed to find some place to hide, he ducked his head as he stepped into his wardrobe and closed the door. A pair of green LED eyes blinked at him. “Boo.” said a flat robotic voice.
Captain Raptor screamed and fell backward out the doors of his dressing closet, slamming his head into the low frame. The last thing he remembered was the white lumbering shape rushing into his quarters, the outline of a doorway of light behind it.
“I be the Ghost of Christmas Past.”
Captain Raptor blinked his one good eye and looked around. He was in his quarters lying on the floor, and the ghost of his grandfather floated beside him. He knew it was his grandfather because he only had half a tail and was dressed impeccably as a pirate captain.
“Get up lad, the floor is no place for a pirate captain.”
Raptor struggled to his feet, his balance still off from having part of his face crushed. “Who’re you to be giving me orders in my own cabin?”
“Not your ship yet, and the way you carry on, the Wreckless Abandon will slip from yer talons.”
“What do you mean grandfather?”
“Hush, this be a short story and two more ghosts will be a’visitin’. I need to hurry this along.”
“Is this part of your chapter Sometimes You’re in a Morality Play?”
“Yar, now follow along, this be Act One.”
Captain Venatorius J. Raptor, author of the The Pirate's Guide to Bein’ Cap’n and legendary pirate, led his grandson out onto the main deck. There was the old crew he grew up with, gathered around the Christmas Tree. He watched as a younger version of his grandfather lifted a tiny young Raptor. They put the Captain’s hat on top of the decorated palm tree. After the hat was placed, all the crew tore into their presents, shredding wrapping paper and laughing and smiling at the booty they received.
“It looks like we had a lot of fun back then.”
“Aye, that we did. Notice how my first mate steadied me there while I lifted you up? Me balance wasn’t any good after the end of me tail got pinched off during that ramming.”
“I never noticed. You were always so smooth and prepared.”
“I had to be, fer the sake of the crew. They look to a captain to be there for them. Somebody’s duty is to put the hat on the tree.”
“Somebody else can do it this year. I can’t go out there like this, my snout is ruined.”
“Well me bucko, That’s first bell, I have to go, the rest is for the Ghost of Christmas Present to tell.”
Captain Raptor spun around to keep track of his grandfather, but the old pirate vanished and the ship’s deck was empty, save for one ghostly Juan the Guanlong with a brilliant head fin.
“Juan! Where’d everybody go? Wait, you’re not dead.”
“Easy Captain, I’m the Ghost of Christmas Present, and I don’t mean the kind you unwrap.”
“At least you’re not rhyming, but lay off the puns.”
“I’ll see what I can do, but I have until the next bell. Behold!”
The real Juan was barking orders that were ignored while dinosaurs rushed around the deck trying to find wrapping paper. The Bronto Sisters quarreled over the last strip of ribbon instead of dealing with the Ninjas that had stowed away who were busy jumping out and surprising crew members. “Why is my ship in such disarray?”
“You see me there? I’ve been wanting your position forever, but I can’t even wear the hat because of my head fin. Maybe I could grow into it, but I don’t have a mentor. Cera’s job is to keep the ship running, but morale is down because we’re down a crew member.”
“Get them on deck and reporting to duty.”
“We’re trying, but...”
A cold shiver ran down Captain Raptor’s spine and Juan and the crew disappeared. The sky was gray, and the air frigid and sooty.
“Well, well, what a sorry looking captain you turned out to be.”
A surge of anger spiked through the captain’s primitive brain, that being one of the two feelings he could express. He recognized the voice of his worst enemy, Captain King, the Tyrant of the Sea. He spun around to face his nemesis, claws at the ready.
“You son of an egg sucking...”
“Easy there, this is a PG drama. I can’t be having parents sending in letters because your whininess can’t handle a boo-boo.”
The bloated ghost of the Tyrannosaurus Rex floated before him. Death and the sea had not been kind. Bite sized voids were torn out of his hide and his eyes were milky white.
“What happened to you?” asked the horrified Captain Raptor.
“Death was the beginning for me, but you’re missing the big picture.” He put his short stubby arm around Raptor’s shoulder and pointed at the horizon.
“You need to be asking what happened here. Notice the ice floating in the water. The cold wind cooling your blood. The sun, how it ain’t shining. That’s all your fault.”
“Me? I can’t cause all this.”
“But you could have stopped it. That asteroid came down and wiped us all out.”
Captain Raptor backed up a few steps, shrugging out of King’s reach. “I can’t stop an asteroid, I don’t even know what that is. Isn’t that something you get on your butt?”
“That’s a hemorrhoid you nitwit. Read a dictionary!”
“Tell me how I can prevent this! And, let me guess, you’re the Ghost of Christmas Future?”
“If you keep moping in your quarters because your face got mushed in when I tried to crush your head with my mouth, then you won’t be ready for Episode Four: Dino Pirates In Space.”
“But I can’t let them see me like this. I’m afraid I’ll scare them.”
“I’ve always thought you were a pompous show off who knew all the right pirate moves because your grandpappy wrote a stupid book, but I never knew you to be a coward. Suck it up buttercup! Don’t go out there with your fancy swagger and pose. Just go out there and be a captain.”
Clang! Clang! Clang!
“That’s third bell, party’s gonna be over.”
The Part Where Learning Happens
“Captain, are you malfunctioning?”
A pair of green robot eyes looked down at his prone form. A flour dusted Cera joined the ninja robot hovering over their fallen captain.
“Cap’n are you alright? Did #87 here jump out of the closet?”
“Help me up! The floor is no place for a captain.” bellowed an embarrassed Raptor. The pair soon had him steady on his feet. He was off, striding out the door with the ninja and first mate rushing after him.
“Ronda and Rhoda Bronto! You two either share that piece of ribbon or I will cut it in half. This Christmas will be Merry or else!”
Cera caught up to the captain by the mast when he was rushing to the forecastle, “Juan, come here!”
“I would sir, but you’re already here.”
“That I am. From now on, I want you on my right hand, watching what I do, keeping ninjas from sneaking up on me. Except when I’m sleeping, but always on ninja duty.”
Stomp, stomp. “Aye-- wheeze-- Cap’n!”
“Where is this Christmas Tree I keep hearing so much about?”
“By the mizzen mast, Cap’n.”
“Well let’s get over there, the crew has waited long enough.”
Ninja #87 sounded a bosun’s whistle from his speaker hole and the crew assembled around the palm tree. Strands of seagull feathers and bright seashells garnished it this year. The captain couldn’t quite reach the top of the tree, and he realized he didn’t have his captain’s hat on anyway.
“Here it is sir,” a tiny voice from below said.
Raptor looked down and noticed the tiny dimetrodon holding his hat. He must have fetched it from his quarters, like a good cabin boy. “Ah Metri, good job.” He smiled. He lifted the young dinosaur up and the lad set the hat on top of the tree. Juan placed a paw on his shoulder to steady him.
“Merry Christmas one and all,” cried the fellow and the crew tore into their presents with glee.
Captain Raptor laughed as the wrapping paper wafted in the warm breeze and the sun warmed his ruined cheek for the first time. His heart swelled with the sated hunger feeling he missed.
“Excuse me Cap’n.” Captain Raptor looked around for the soft voice and to his surprise, it came from Cera. She held a small box wrapped in plain brown paper with a familiar ribbon around it. “The crew and I put this together for ye.”
He took the gift in his talons and sliced it open with care. Inside the box was a small leather triangle with a ruby embedded in the middle.
“We’re not sure what it is, but it looked scary.”
An idea struck the captain and he fastened the ribbon to the triangle and tied it around his head, covering his ruined eye.
The wind whipped his feathers into line and his captain’s coat trailed behind him as the sun glinted off the ruby in his eye patch, the very model of a modern pirate captain.
“Merry Christmas indeed.”