Captain Snooper

By Paula Shene

Snooper and the K-9 Boys and Girls on Locus Street prepare for Halloween partying. Snooper recounts the tale of his ancestor, Captain Snooper, to Shadow, the Dalmatian.


“Avast yer Landlubbers, out ‘o me way or ‘t’s the plank for ya!”

“What all are you jabberin’ about, Snooper? Oh, oh, never mind.  You’re goin’ as a pirate.  Aye?  Ya Landlubber!”

“I figured, Shadow, I’d stay in character.  Grandma says I’m a thief, even though I’d call it being a redistribution agent, and I am, after all, from a long line of pirates.  I’m even named after the first of my ancestors who went into that line of work.”

“You call stealin’ a line of work?  Wahoo, Snooper - the police call it a life of crime!”

“Ah, Shadow, I’m not breaking the law.  I only take stuff in the house, and Grandma says I’m a faithful old dog, even if I am a thief.  And frankly, I don’t agree with that thief name.  Come on, now!  Who else is gonna want the garbage detail.  Did I ever tell you about Captain Snooper, a true friend to Old Long Paul Silvertongue?”

“No Snooper, I can’t say as you did.”

“Captain Snooper, well, he was a sly old dog, and he didn’t have a home to call his own, like you and me, Shadow.  Nah, he had to roam the streets, knocking over cans to find even a tiny morsel to keep going; that is until he met Old Long Paul.”

“Old Long Paul sounds a lot like the character in Treasure Island.”

“Yeah, you’re right, Shadow.  Never thought of that.  Anyway...” Snooper went on,

Old Long Paul spied Captain Snooper rummaging through a pile of trash.  Pitiful, it was, I tell you.  Captain was all skin and bones and a bit on the snappish side.

“Kind of like Mandy was, when she was a youngster, sounds like.”

“Don’t think Mandy would like you comparing her to a pirate.  She takes the role of Alpha Dog seriously.  One day she said to me, ‘Well, maybe I started out as a runt but I made it to the top and your claim to fame is, you’re a thief, harrumph!’  She’s right, but I’ve had my reasons.”

“She must have been pretty mad at you to harrumph you, Snooper.”

“Nah, Mandy is more bark than bite, these days.  I’d like to think it’s due to my charming manner.  She was still a bit of a pup, when I first laid eyes on her. Boy she was  a cutie. Still is to me.”  

“Guess you see beyond her chubbiness then, Snooper?”

“Darn tooting, I do, Shadow.  It’s what’s on the inside that counts, and who is to say there isn’t beauty in bulk?  Let me tell you fellah, Mandy will not be pleased with your talking about her weight.  She’s been on a diet and exercising, but it’s not coming off as easily as it went on.  She’s already given you a paw sandwich over your fat jokes, so watch your tongue, Shadow.”

“Okie, Dokie, if you say so, Snooper… Ummm, is that a cutlass, you have clenched between your teeth?”
“Aye, I be thinkin’ yer be right.  It be truly a beautiful, gorgeous piece o’ cuttin’ tool, ya horn swagglin’ scurvy cur.”

“Huh? Let me think. You’re startin’ to sound like me, with a bit of a pirate swagger, too, Snooper.  Don’t know as the Girls will understand you though.”

“Aye, th’ beauties will love ‘t!  Mandy may want t’ go as somethin’ else, but she loves her pirate.  What do you think, Shadow – Should I wear the peg leg and patch? How about the scar?

“Well, Snooper, it’ll be a bit hard to run with the peg leg and walkin’ with one eye…. Hmmm?  Why don’t you try them out?  Give a walk about the yard.  Is it comfortable?  Can you see well enough?  Try runnin’ – we’ll have kids with us so we’ll probably need to do some of that.”

“Ufft.  Forget the peg leg, but I think I can handle the patch.  So what do you think of the scar, Shadow?”

“Why mar your beauty, Snooper?”

“Hey, ahoy, hey!  Tis a mark of triumph,‘ t is.  I think I be goin’ with this here scar.  Come on Shadow.  Help me get it on right.”

As Shadow helps Snooper with his costume, he asks, “So, you goin’ to tell me about Captain Snooper?”

“Certainly, Shadow.  Erm, umm…”

Once upon time {it’s always advantageous to start a tall tale with that opening} there be a privateer by the name of Long Paul Silvertongue.  He was an undercover cop for the crown and was masquerading as a buccaneer.

Long Paul was a well known scourge on the seven seas; unmerciful in his swift overtaking of, who else, the most dastardly pirates who sailed the seas.

Long Paul’s crew was made up of sprogs until they learned the trade and were willing to follow his orders in doing right, instead of just being a scurvy dog of a pirate, killing and stealing.  
“Whoa, Snooper.  Sprog?  What’s a sprog?  Long Paul had frogs on board?”

“There are times Shadow, I wonder how much you are learning, hanging with Grandma. You use words that sound like other words and make them into what you think they are.”

“That’s not true, Snooper.  I’m asking... I’m asking.  So, what’s a sprog?”

“A sprog is... Before, I tell you that... If there is anything else you don’t understand, you ask me... Or better yet, you ask Grandma.... Later.   Now... Ahem... A sprog is a pirate that is new to the job or new to the Captain’s way of doing business.  Long Paul was a decent guy pretending to be a terrible guy, so his crew had to act like nasty guys but be honest guys, too.  Understand, Shadow?”

“Err... Ummm..  Long Paul took pirates that were actually dishonest people, and made them into upstanding people.  So they had to learn to be respectful and were new at what they were doing and they were called sprogs.  OK... Snooper.  Think I got it.”
Snooper, now understanding Mandy’s displeasure with Shadow’s questions, continues on with his ancestor’s tale.

Long Paul had been sailing for twenty years and had gotten seven squadrons together.  One for each of the seas.  Every ship in each squadron had strict orders not to harm even the worse of the scallywags, but to disarm them and then sail away leaving them defenseless.

“You mean his men took the pirates swords and pistols?  That sure did make them sittin’ ducks, didn’t it?

“You better believe it, Shadow.”

“What happen then?”  Shadow, now wanting to hear this story, says, “Please, tell me more.”Snooper continues his tale,

Soon after the pirate crew was disarmed, left defenseless, they would be overrun by a government ship then be arrested, taken into chains, and thrown in prison.

“Oh! Prison? Not good.” Shadow said.

“Some of those pirates were nasty pieces of business, Shadow, so don’t be feeling sorry for them.”

Snooper continued on, “The ones that could be retrained to do right, they served their sentences and were given a choice to join Long Paul’s ships or to start a life as a landlubber.

“Snooper, why didn’t Long Paul’s crew just bring them into justice instead of letting the government get involved?”

“Because, Shadow, Long Paul’s men all over the world were known as the scourge of the seas and if the evil guys found out, then their undercover cop role would be blown!  So they let the locals clean up the mess.”

“Okay – got it. Oh, oh... Aha... This is where Long Paul got his sprogs.”

Snooper peers at Shadow and cocks his eyebrow, “Yup...And so the tale goes on.”

Long Paul offered Captain Snooper a hot meal and a hot deal.  

“Would ye like t’ join me starboard an’ learn t’ take down th’ scalawags an’ th’ scurvy dogs all o’er th’ world? ‘t’s a big job but ye look like ye’d be willin’ t’ take ‘t on.  Be ye willin’ t’ go on th’ account with me or be ye lily-livered?  What say ye, Captain?” asked Long Paul.

“What’s in ‘t fer me, Long Paul?”

“Ya bilge rat who ortin’ be keelhauled!”

“Say, what?!” Shadow exclaimed.

“Ha, ha, ha, Shadow.  You don’t understand Long Paul. He told Captain Snooper he would have a new life, a chance at starting over with a full belly, not to be a starving cur, knocking over cans, to eat!”

“With you spitting out your ‘it’ and your ‘to’ and some of your other words, it makes it mighty hard to understand your tale. Hmm, maybe we should stick to our native tongue.  What do you say, Snooper?”

“I’ll try, but I want to practice some of this pirate speak stuff, too.”

Long Paul Silvertongue talked Captain Snooper starboard on t’ his ship, The Jolly Cutt Lass, one o’ th’ finest, most beautiful, bodacious  sailin’ ships a gentlemen ‘o fortune ere laid one clear eye on.

“The Jolly Cutt Lass?  Not the Jolly Roger,  or The Jolly Cutlass, Snooper?”

“Whose telling the story here, Shadow?  You or me?  Jolly Roger was already taken and it would only be confusing, so Long Paul liked the sound of Jolly Cutt Lass, because he loved to eat Cuttlefish,  and if he said it fast, the pirates thought he was talking about his sword, and that is what it was.”

Shadow rolling his eyes said,  “Sure…whatever you say, Snooper.”

Snooper, again continues with his tale.

Captain Snooper was a sprog starboard e’en though he was called captain ‘t was just a name.  He had ne’er sailed on a real, solid, honest t’ Pete, on the sea, vessel.  He had t’ learn t’ tie knots, run up and down ropes, cook, an’ swashbucklin’, disarmin’ without harmin’ an’ gettin’  hurt. Not as easy as ‘t sounds.”    

“Especially runnin’ up and down ropes, I be thinkin’, aye?” Shadow said, copying Snooper’s accent.

“The rigging rope, Shadow!  Sailors do that all the time on sailing ships. The mighty vessels anyway.”


Snooper continued,

Captain Snooper looked t’ be an old sea dog but truly he be but a sprog.  He be barely grown just a tiny bit out ‘f puppyhood.  His momma had just delivered him an’ his brothers and sisters right before they got thrown ou’ o’ their lodgin’ an’ had to make their way on th’ streets.  Pitiful awful tis be.  Hard life be etched on his muzzle, grizzled lookin’, but soon good eatin,’ no more tippin’ cans, good bunkin’ down, and a trusty hand on his brow, made his grizzled muzzle darken, an’ his body grow with strength.  He sailed only with Long Paul and be not commissioned to sail on the other ships under Long Paul Silvertongue.

“Sounds like Long Paul was a good master and took care of Captain Snooper.”

Aye, aye, he be an excellent master with a pure heart.  There be other seadogs on Long Paul’s ship, but Captain Snooper stayed the favorite of Long Paul Silvertongue through many a battle on many a sea, side by side t’ th’ Fiddlers Green be the end.

“That’s what every pup and dog dreams; a Master who loves them until they go on.  Ah, Snooper...I know this one. Fiddler’s Green...Pirate Heaven where all the good guys go, when they pass on.”

"Yes, Shadow and we are some lucky pups.  And speaking of pups, here comes our beauties with the kids, and Dad and Momma."

“Hi Shadow. Don’t you look spiffy in your fireman’s outfit?  I liked my punk rocker outfit so much I decided to go with it tonight.  What do you think, Shadow?"

Ah Sophitia, you look beautiful in anything you wear.”

“Aarrgh, Shadow, you be blushing?”

“Hush, Snooper.”

“Look at my Mandy,  Shadow - she’s going as Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile and Meghan is a Princess, Little Guy is a car.  Figures. He loves all kinds of cars and trucks.”

Mandy sashays over to Snooper, “I presume you’ll be sailing down my river, Captain Snooper?”

“For you, my Queen, be it so.”  Snooper bows before Mandy then barks out, “Come on boys, girls and kids, we’ve got a lot to do before the night is over.”

“So, Snooper, where do you figure Mom and Dad are taking us – trick or treating or a harvest party?”

“Well, Shadow if we’re lucky we’ll get to do both and then I can genuinely be a pirate.”

“How so Snooper?”

“Shadow, Trick or Treating is extortion, I be thinkin’, so that’s one step up from stealin’, and that be in me blood, me fine, hearty matey."


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