The Big Issue : Edition 439
THE BIG ISSUE 16 -- 29 AUG 2013 31 the day. Pirates don't need day jobs. Pirates don't need a steady income. Pirates need... Steven stopped, leaning awkwardly against a lamppost. What was it again that pirates needed? He frowned. He knew it earlier. He should have made a list of the things that pirates need. Parrots. Pirates need parrots. Steven wondered where he could fnd a parrot in the middle of the CBD at midday. He wondered if it had to be a parrot. Could he still be a pirate with another type of bird? A dove? A cockatiel? He wondered if pirates had parrots because 'parrots' sounds like 'pirates'. Oops. He was repeating himself. He took another swig of rum to help clear his mind, then headed towards the city park in search of a parrot. NATHAN ANSWERED THE knocking at his door to fnd Steven drunkenly slumped against his awning, clutching a pigeon. "Polly wants a cracker," Steven slurred, slumping a little further down. "Oh, God," muttered Nathan, scurrying to help his friend through the door. "What are you doing?" "I threw the key to my apartment into the ocean!" yelled Steven, gesturing wildly and accidentally letting go of his pigeon. It few straight into the wall and fell to the ground, where it lay, cooing softly. "A pirate doesn't need an apartment!" "So why are you here?" asked Nathan, dumping his drunken friend onto the couch. He cast a worried eye at the dazed pigeon lying in his doorway, slowly shitting on his welcome mat. "Because a pirate needs a place to sleep!" "Like an apartment?" "No!" Steven rolled off the couch rebelliously, and stared at the ceiling from the much less comfortable position of the foor. “The stars are beautiful tonight,” he sighed. “That’s a 23-watt fuorescent bulb.” "Beautiful. You know I can navigate by that?" At this point, Nathan was genuinely doubting whether or not Steven would be capable of navigating his way back onto the couch. The pigeon cooed from the doorway. Nathan sat down next to the prone pirate. "Why are you doing this, Steven?" "Threw my key away. Told you that," Steven muttered, closing his eyes. He let out a quiet rum belch. "No, why are you doing this? Being a drunken pirate, throwing things away and showing up at people's houses with sick pigeons." "He's a parrot, and he's not sick. He's drunk. Drank too much rum." Nathan gave his friend a look that very few people ever have to give; the look that says, 'If you don't give me a straight answer I'm going to stab you with your fake sword and throw you and your drunken pigeon out onto the front lawn'. It's a very distinctive look. "I don't know. It's just... It's just..." Steven hiccupped. "It's just, did you ever look around at everything in your life, at everything you have, and everything you've done and achieved, and think...why not? Why not be a pirate? Huh? How does that have any less value than what I'm doing? Why not?" "That is not a good reason." "Pirates don't need good reasons." Nathan gave a grunt and stood up. "Well, pirates can't stay at their friend’s house for too long, so you better fnd a good reason to fnd your keys and go home.” UNFORTUNATELY, ACCORDING TO Steven, pirates don't need to leave their friends' houses. Nor do they need to go back to work. Nor do they need to get a new job. Nor do they need to pay their rent. Nor do they need to give up this silly fantasy. Nor, when told to leave their friend's house by the end of the week or be kicked out, do they need to respond to ultimatums. Which is how Steven found himself standing on the front lawn of his former friend's house one February morning, holding all of his worldly possessions in his arms: a plastic sword, a number of empty rum bottles and a long-dead pigeon. "Where am I supposed to go?" he asked, incredulous. "I don't know. Not here," Nathan replied, long past caring. "Go where the pirates go. If this is about rejecting society, or freedom, or being your own man..." "It's about being a pirate." "Good, then go do your pirate thing with all of the other pirates, wherever it is that all the other pirates may be." He slammed his door shut. Steven, despondent in his oversized boots, shuffed slowly off towards the horizon. DREYFUSS GLANCED OVER the top of his morning paper at the stack of reports on his desk. They could wait. They'd still be there after he read the World section. He turned the page and scanned the headlines. Election in one of the European countries. Revolution in one of the non- European countries. Celebrity had sex with another celebrity, possibly in Europe. Nothing particularly new. Dreyfuss was just about to put the newspaper away when one headline, buried at the bottom of the page, caught his eye. Somali Pirates Capture Vessel There was a picture, a grainy shot of a number of shabbily dressed individuals storming across the deck of a boat. And there, right in the middle of the picture, waving a fake-looking sword at the camera, and wearing boots that looked far too big, was the distinctive fgure of an ex-United Holdings employee. "Huh," murmured Dreyfuss, putting the paper away. "I didn't think there were any Jewish pirates." Max Attwood IS A MELBOURNE BASED COMEDIAN, ACTOR AND WRITER. HE HAS PERFORMED IN A NUMBER OF MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVALS, AND IS THRILLED TO FINALLY HAVE SOMETHING PUBLISHED. HE TRIES TO CHANNEL HIS LAZINESS INTO CREATIVITY, BUT USUALLY ENDS UP EATING BISCUITS INSTEAD.