Fiction: “The Pirates! In an Adventure With Communists” by Gideon Defoe

I love pirates. I LOVE pirates. Here’s how much I love pirates: for the premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, I bought a pirate’s costume, drove to Springfield Massachusetts to the midnight premiere to watch the movie with a friend of mine. Whole experience cost me close to a hundred bucks, but it was worth it. That year, I recycled my pirate costume for Halloween (or, tried to), but when the bosses at work told me that all of a sudden, Halloween costumes weren’t allowed, I instead snuck in a jar of dirt to protect me from rogue kraakens.

So when I saw the title The Pirates! In an Adventure With Communists, I of course bought the damn thing post-haste.

This is the apparently continuing story of The Pirates! (exclamation mark is completely necessary) and their gregarious, charming leader, the Pirate Captain. Building on their previous adventures with Scientists and Napoleon, this time they land in London. Once they set foot on land, the Pirate Captain is mistaken for Karl Marx.

So Karl Marx asks the Pirates! to take the Communists to Paris. Once they get to Paris, the Pirates! attend Wagner’s latest opera and the Pirates! and the Communists (and Karl Marx) band together to defend the crowned heads of Europe from a Mecha-Nietsche.

I SWEAR I am not making this up.

Forthwith, some quotes:

This is the dedication:

To Sophie:

who, taking into account the effect of compound interest, must have even more than a quarter of a million pounds by now, so this is her absolute last chance to do right by me or else I’m dedicating Book Four to that billionaire Onassis girl, or maybe the really nice one out of Lost.


And as if that weren’t enough proof that Gideon Defoe is the reincarnated soul of Graham Chapman:

‘… it’s become something of a witch hunt.’ […]

‘But you’re not witches? There’s some way of telling which I can’t really remember. I think it’s if you can dive to the bottom of a swimming pool and successfully retrieve a brick whilst wearing a dressing gown, then you’re a witch. But it might be the other way round.’ [48]

But … I thought … because you burn witches, they’re made of wood and they float because they’re made of wood, and if they weigh the same as a duck, they’re a witch?

‘Hello, lads,’ said the Captain, grateful for the distraction. ‘Something I can help you with?’

‘Yes, Captain,’ said the pirate with the monobrow, trying his best to look resolute. ‘A few of us pirates have been listening to Dr. Marx, and we have come to the conclusion that we, the workers, are being unfairly oppressed.’ [72]

All together now … HELP HELP I’M BEIN’ OPPRESSED

‘Before we do this, I’d like to point out that I’d written much more,’ the Captain started to explain, ‘but it vanished in the night. Probably eaten by weevils. Terrible problem on a boat, weevils are.’ [77]

Look! It’s a call-out to me! PIRATES LOVE ME JUST AS MUCH AS I LOVE THEM.

Mostly the French communists looked like somebody had just that second told them the truth about Santa. [83-84]

I just thought that was funny.

The three sets of pirates all arrived back at the salon at the same time to find the Pirate Captain stretched out on a chaise longue in the middle of the room holding forth to Marx, Engels and an appreciative-looking audience of Parisian intellectuals. The pirates waited politely for him to finish, because he was clearly in the middle of some important philosophising.

‘…and that’s why, in a straight fight, I think a shark would most likely defeat Dracula,’ said the Pirate Captain thoughtfully. [97]

Okay, here’s why this was funny: my friends and I have totally had screaming matches over who would beat who in a fight. From Wolverine versus Spider-Man (“ADAMANTIUM CLAWS AND THE BERSERKER ATTACK!” “WHAT THE FUCK, SPIDER-MAN CAN TOTALLY DUCK THAT SHIT!”) to the immortalized (heh) fight about who would win, Zombies versus Vampires from this past New Year’s Eve. Here’s a snippet (names anonymized for anonymity’s sake):
Dude: [Says something about a zombie attack I DON’T KNOW I WAS DRUNK AND THE VIDEO’S NOT THAT GREAT]
Friend 1: Oooohh … you’re talking about Resident Evil zombies, not real zombies.

‘His Royal Imperial Excellency the Crowned Head of Bootyopia,’ announced a statuesque blonde. ‘And his elderly butler, Carruthers.’ [107]

The joke about “Bootyopia” is followed up on the next page by saying that Bootyopia is like Ethopia, but with more Booty. And come on: who doesn’t want an elderly butler named Carruthers? I could use a Carruthers. Oh, Carruthers? I could use some more ice cream.

‘…I have to say, if it was going to be something supernatural, I was hoping for a vampire, because they’re a doddle. Stakes, garlic, holy water, true faith, sunlight, fire … I’m not sure there’s anything that doesn’t kill a vampire.’ [129]


‘If I’ve learnt one thing as a pirate, it’s that wherever you go, from Chesterfield to Matlock, there are only two kinds of diabolical villain: there’s the misunderstood kind who are doing it for the attention, and then there’s the evil-to-the-core kind. Actually, I’m forgetting zombies. There are three kinds of villain: misunderstood ones who are doing it for the attention, evil-to-the-core types and zombies. And inscrutable foreigners as well. Four types –‘ [154]

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

And finally, what to name your sock puppet (and when to use it):

On Discipline Running a Pirate Boat
An old sock and a couple of shells can be used to create a sock puppet that acts as a useful teaching aid when dealing with the slower puppets on your crew. You can name your sock puppet anything you like, but I’d recommend either ‘Socky’ or ‘Lord Socklington’. [165]

And for those of you that know me, you know I’m putting Lord Socklington right next to my jar of dirt in my office.

Grade for The Pirates! In an Adventure With Communists: 3.5 stars


One thought on “Fiction: “The Pirates! In an Adventure With Communists” by Gideon Defoe

  1. Pingback: The Spoils: April 2013 | Editions Of You

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