Archive for January, 2008

The Black Silverfish

January 12th, 2008

With the onset of his career as a blood-thirsty marauder, Patrick Guthwine, being keenly aware of his own deficiencies in the areas of personal prowess, tactics, and general seamanship, commissioned his mother to make a flag which would set him apart from the other sundry pirates and communicate by sheer nastiness of visage general thoughts of surrender and suchlike things to the minds of those unfortunate enough to gaze upon said bit of cloth on the high seas. His mother was only to happy to lend any amount of aid to her son’s financial endeavors being of the opinion that as Patrick had already failed in every other career he had ever gotten himself into, he would need as much aid as he could get. So, on the eve of her son’s maiden voyage Jemima Guthwine proudly presented him with the flag he had requested and sent him on his way, apparently unaware of the mental anguish which this gift had cast over Patrick.

Scholars generally agree that the dark image, which Patrick Guthwine had intended as the outer face of his persona had almost certainly been a black scorpion, but either because Jemima was unfamiliar with scorpions or that she disagreed with her son artistically, the flag he flew on his first voyage, bore the image of a black silverfish. “It may even have been miscommunication,” says one such scholar, “In a moment of mental abstraction, Patrick may very well have just waved his hand vaguely and said, ‘Oh, you know, those arthropods with tails.’”

At any rate, when Captain Guthwine reentered port two days later to pick up the powder kegs he had inadvertently left behind, he made the mistake of patronizing the local tavern. The other clientele, his fellow sea captains, felt it necessary to enlighten Patrick as to the extent to which he was entertaining the local populace. They made it perfectly clear that to be symbolized by what was essentially an upper class cockroach was not at all lacking in the humorous. Patrick Guthwine tragically died in the brawl that fallowed and his already disillusioned crew abandoned the ship and scattered to the winds.

When Jemima Guthwine was informed of the event and circumstances of her son’s death she rounded up her younger relations and, livid over the insult to her handiwork which she found to be quite well up in the viciousness department, set out in her son’s ship to track down those responsible.

The slaughters that fallowed were purportedly ghastly to behold. Within the space of three weeks Jemima Guthwine had sent four ships to the bottom. Thus obtaining a fondness for life at sea Jemima continued on, carving herself a place as the thirteenth most feared pirate of that time. This number, though, was no accurate depiction of the woman’s tenacity and bloodthirstiness which was well above that of any other pirate captain. She was, as one historian puts it, “a knitter.” In fact, the only reason Jemima did not attain the status of other less dangerous men was that the rampant destruction and death that marked her pirating exploits were only sporadic, accruing only when the orchestrator of such events was running low on wool.

But even if it was slowly, hampered by infrequency and the short life expectancy of eyewitnesses, news was spreading. In a letter to the family taxidermist Jemima’s nephew Archibald describes his aunt, “The old lady would set into battle with a glee bordering on the infernal.” And soon whispers and only half-believed tails of the Black Silverfish, Demon Granny of the Caribbean were heard in taverns the world over.

The ultimate fate of Jemima Guthwine remains clouded in mystery and though her involvement in the Lady Katherine affair is probable, the details concerning that event are known only to few.

Group Topic, Pen and Ink, Umbraverse