Greg stood wide-legged at the helm of the fishing boat as the craft rose and fell in the waves. Rain splashed against the windows. Wind screamed. Ocean spray flew across the decks. Howard stumbled in and grabbed hold of a hand rail.
“What are you doing?” Howard said.
“Going ashore,” said Captain Bill. “Those waves are taller than trees.”
“Are you crazy? You’ll sink the boat.”
“Not in this weather. The water is higher than they are.”
Howard lunged for the window. “Turn it around.”
“Never. I feel luckier than a tiger with two heads.”
“You’re the craziest fool I ever saw.”
“Fool?” Captain Bill laughed. “I’m smarter than you. I’m the most ingenious sailor that ever lived. I’m the baddest, wickedest sailor who ever went to sea. I’m meaner than a shark and nicer than a cat.”
“I’ll arrest you for endangering my life.”
“Salt my tongue and grease my hair. You land coppers ain’t nobody out here in the drink. You couldn’t stop me if you were Micky Mouse. You’re afraid of the rocks, not me.”
“Listen to me. There’s something I have to tell you.”
“Say it fast.”
“Sonny Boy’s on the boat.”
Greg spun around, only holding the wheel with one hand. “What?”
“I just found him. Call the Coast Guard for our rescue.”
“I’ll ride the highest wave right over the top. Ahem! Sonny boy! Come to Cappi Bill!”
A loud crash rocked the boat as it scraped rocks.
“We’re going to die.” Howard dropped down and covered his face with his hands.
Bill held the wheel tighter than a vice. “This is the best ride,” he said. “I am the most glorious, the most nefarious, the ugliest, the smelliest sea dog to ever feed the fish. There you are, Sonny Boy. Look at you, calmer than hamburger.” He picked her up and held her with his free hand. “Fear not, girl, rejoice and dance. He sang: “Yo ho and up she rises . . . Yo ho and up she rises . . .Earlie in the mornin’”
Howard pulled his gun. “I take command of this vessel.”
Captain Bill danced at the wheel and laughed. “Wind and waves turn you into a little mouse—and you’ll take my boat! You’re no cop. You’re a uniform and a squeak. Get out of my sight or Sonny Boy will have your gun for breakfast.” He sang: “Yo ho and up she rises. You ho and—”
The boat crashed into a monster wave and shook and water crashed into the glass.
Howard dove to the floor and shouted for help.
Captain Bill let go of the helm and held Sonny Boy high in the air. “Waves be calm. Joy to the wind. Sonny boy, we’ve lost our first mate. I promote you to captain. This cat knows more about sailing than any ten men combined. He invented sailing! Whee!” Bill twirled around and leapt for the wheel, grabbing the spokes and putting down a few.
The boat shuttered and rose on a swell.
Captain Bill put Sonny Boy in his shoulders and the Siamese clung to him, paws drawing blood from his hairy neck. Bill noticed Howard crawling for his gun.
“You don’t scare me with your badge and your weepon! Shoot the waves, you cur, shoot the wind. Show them your authority. The spirit knows not whence it comes or where it goes. Stand down you double-minded. Rejoice. How dare you crawl in the presence of my brave cat.”
Howard lifted the gun and aimed. He pulled the trigger as the boat crashed into a wave, throwing him off balance. The bullet took out a side window. Water poured in. A wave tossed the ship like a marble again and again. Then the ocean grew calm as they entered the lee cove.
Captain Bill snapped up the badge off the deck and said, “A fake. I knew it. You’re the worst con I’ve ever seen—imitating a hero. You ain’t the first yellow cake to try piracy and fail. To the gally Sonny boy, for warm milk and honey.” He peeled the cat off and put him down. He palmed the gun and flew it out the open window. He touched his heart and raised his voice in praise and sang: “Yo ho and up she rises. You ho and— Yo ho and up she rises. Earlie in the morning.’”
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