It was the greatest gathering of bloodthirsty cutthroats that Tortuga had ever seen. Everybody who would kill anybody was there, for a challenge had been issued. Smilin’ Pete had thrown down the gauntlet before the one and only Jolly Roger.
There was a hush of the type found whenever freebooters gathered, which is to say a noisy and rambunctious hush. Beer was flowing and curses were passed around freely. Everyone was in a fine old mood.
Captain Redbeard set Roger down on a table and his supporters cheered. Roger had been polished to an immaculate lustre; he was truly the exemplar of skull-kind. All his parts were there save for one chipped tooth, which had been capped with a brilliant diamond.
Captain Jack Bastord set his first mate Smilin’ Pete down next. Perhaps not as many cheered Pete, but pirates love an underdog. He had been polished to such a gleaming shine that many present couldn’t look directly at him for the glare, even if their eyes could focus properly. Unlike Roger, Pete didn’t need any special dental work.
The two skulls faced each other silently. It was a stare down: the first to blink or look away would lose. The winner would have his picture on the pirate flag for the next decade. While Pete and Roger focused their glowers on each other, the pirates cheered them on with toasts of beer, grog, and rum.
The skulls had been staring each other down for over an hour when Vicious Sid turned to Ponce de Shiv-in-yer-Liver and made a comment about his mother. Ponce, despite his name, couldn’t let that sort of insult stand unanswered. He swung his hook at Sid, who promptly pulled off his own wooden leg and swung it at Ponce like a baseball bat (or maybe a cricket bat; sources are unclear).
The brawl was on. Pirates bit and kicked each other, and several ended up being poked in the eye patch. Hooks clawed at air and flesh, and parrots and monkeys retreated to the relative safety of the rafters. And so the fracas continued until Bluebeard shouted it to a halt.
“AHRRR! It’s over lads!” He bellowed. “Smilin’ Pete has forfeited and Jolly Roger wins!”
Jolly Roger grinned smugly, still safely perched on the table. Calico Jack had fallen on Smilin’ Pete’s table, flipping the table and sending poor Pete flying in a perfect parabolic arc which dropped him into the barkeep’s half-full rum barrel.
Jolly Roger’s face stayed on all the flags, but it was generally acknowledged among those present that Smilin’ Pete was the real winner that day.