Act I: The Impression of Crew

Music by Larry Nybo, lyrics by Craig Nybo

The Boar’s Nest was a dismal tavern with begrimed tables and a miry floor, covered with a paltry scattering of sawdust to hide the tobacco, blood and whiskey. Every seedy, gawk-eyed scamp who ever crawled out from under a West London box eventually made his way to the Nest. Frequenters of the Nest squandered their last shillings for a sip of watered down tipple–a few moments of pleasure in their otherwise sorrow-infested lives. Among the Nest’s habitués were the heartless, the refused and the wicked. There never was a non-culpable man to visit the Nest, the barkeep would often say with a burlesque laugh and a sip of ale.

One balmy June night in the year of our Lord 1618, the good lieutenant of The Black Betty, accompanied by five hands, crunched his boots on the stoop of the Boar’s Nest and slammed the bat-wings wide. His name was Jax, an evil-tempered sailor with no patience for landlubbers. His commission, that humid, London eve, was to impress 20 men into service under The Black Betty’s captain, Stark, the coldest hearted pirate of them all.

There was a quell in the raucous dance and song as all eyes turned and recognized the hard skinned man wearing a black vest, his arms undulating with muscle and sinew.

“I’ll be needing a few volunteers.” Jax said, his voice like a storm.

The Nest exploded as men left their chairs to find quarter; for none desired to sail under Stark with his mane of silver hair and his sunken eyes that could stop a man’s heart with one icy stare. Jax and his hands drew saps and moved into the fray, their teeth barred into maniacal, twisted grins.

Within the hour 20 men had been impressed, their unconscious bodies lying in a line along the waist-deck of The Black Betty. Stark glowered down at his new volunteers from his perch high on the quarterdeck. With the volunteers impressed by Jax, his ship was fully crewed; it was time to make way.

“Make way, Mr. Jax.” Stark gave the order to his bosun as if it was nothing more than a light request.

That night, under the ghostly light of a three-quartered moon, The Black Betty made way on her last voyage.

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