Capn Dick’s Other Wooden Leg

“Capn Dick’s Other Wooden Leg” – Extract of a SL novel by Lady Heady Antfarm.
(Soon to be found at Grignano Books)

“Arrr! Thar she blows!” growled the gruff tones of the even gruffer Captain Richard Rumpole of His Majesty’s Frigate “The Pumpernickle”. Captain Dick was known across the seven seas (not to mention three and a half of the oceans and quite a few canals) as “Capn Dick The Bastard” by those who wisely feared him (although, following an accident one night whilst inspecting his officer’s mess – and giving it a really good inspecting at that – brave and foolhardy wags had been known to call him Captain Half Mast. Usually from the safety of a different ship. Or continent if they knew what was good for them).

Hi firstmate, Isaiah Obadiah Woebetidteya Firstmate, a man hardened by the relentless sun and salt-laden sea air to such a degree that he bore to the casual observer the appearance of a small, ugly tree that had uprooted itself and mastered not only the art of walking but also of wearing pantaloons and shovelling huge quantities of cooked animal into its maw, lifted a spyglass to his eye and looked hard. “Grrrr! I see it not, capn,” he said eventually.

Jack the Bastard looked round, his wooden leg clip clopping on the tossing deck, which is the one below the poop deck but next to the tinkle deck, like a horse trying to play a zylophone, “Arrrgh! I be surprised not, firstmate Firstmate. Ye be looking down me other wooden leg, ye great scurvy pillock!”

Firstmate Firstmate, whose eyesight a kind soul might describe as somewhat less than optimum but a brutish soul might say was somewhere between shocking and bloody awful (indeed had it not been for a rather magnificent skill with his musket, it is doubtful that Captain Dick would have ever taken him onboard. Or off for that matter), removed the short, stout wooden appendage from his eye and stared hard at it until a look of growing horror spread across his face like a sudden squall slapping into his sails. “Shiver me mainbrace! You means to say I’ve had this in me hand all this time an’ ye never said a word!”

“Arrr, well I thoughts ye was warming it for me,” arred Jack, “like ye used te in the olden days o’yore before ‘e came between us!” The captain flicked his head, an act that dislodged his parrot and sent the terrified bird skittering across the now aptly named poop deck towards a young lithe lad busying himself in the rigging. The sun glinted off his rippling chest and the seagull droppings flecking his wild mane of hair shone like doubloons in the moonlight of his limpet pool eyes. His ears were okay, too, but his teeth were a right old mess. But then he wasn’t the kissin’ type so that didnae matter, Jack told himself out loud by mistake.

“Yarg! Git yer eyes off him, ye ‘ooer!” belched firstmate Firstmate, “kissin’ type or nay, ‘e be twice the dumb plaything and crew barrel boy you’ll ever be, ye slatten!” With that he took a good, firm hold of the captain’s appendage and roughly tossed it overboard in front of the whole startled crew leaving Jack the Bastard gasping for breath and griping tightly to the sheets as the world around him reduced to the fury and noise of small explosion in his brain…

(For more by the same author, click here)



  1. Historical fiction can be stupefying. Even the best authors struggle with research, anachronisms and details of daily life. But Lady Heady’s winning approach that sends her work straight to the top of the best-sellers lists is to ignore it all. Lady Heady writes such similar books that the same thing can be said of all of them, and “Capn Dick’s Other Wooden Leg” is true to form: it grabs the reader quickly, becomes impossible to put down, stays that way through most of its story, and then escalates into plotting so crazily far-fetched that it defies resolution. Isaiah Obadiah Woebetidteya Firstmate is another of the two-dimensional yet terrifically likeable heroes who come to life on Lady Heady’s pages only to evaporate later. Filled with individual episodes that are more memorable than its overall plot, this is a novel that will leave you gasping for air, grasping at straws, and asking for more. This reviewer recommends approaching this implausibly arresting novel under heavy sedation, intoxication, or with a large bottle of pickles and box of tissues. All three if you can manage it.
    A version of this article appeared in print on January 26, 2009, on page C1 of the New York edition of the New York Daylight Saving Times.

  2. *shakes fist*
    That character Isaiah Obadiah Woebetidteya Firstmate is obviously based upon my great grand-uncle Isayah Obediah Woebetidteye Firstm8, and my team of crack lawyers will be in contact with you, sir or madam.

    Good day.

    *Flounces out*

  3. Osprey, Dhalink! I’m afraid I simply do not know what you could be on about. I’m sure you must have a touch of the sun or the rain or something. A lie down and some tea would do you the world of good, sweety. MWAH!

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