Jack the Pirate

In an eastern pale blue sky, a brilliant golden streak and radiant ball of fire, flamed and woke the distant horizon. It was a brand-new day in early 1600. Black Beard and his crewmen hustled as determined ants on a mission, unloading their bountiful treasure. The stench of body odor and vile curses embittered the air. Squawking seagulls swooped and teased the pirates. From ship to boat, the treasure the thieves confiscated was not that of jewel or precious gem, no, this time the pearl the tyrant’s stole came in bulging flagons of strong liquid. The buccaneers coaxed their boats and liquid gold to the shore of Murrells Inlet, a small uninhabited island off the coast of South Carolina.

For hours the pirates labored, burying their treasure. When their toiling was done—the famous bandit and his men built bonfires and feasted on shrimp, oysters, rum, and more rum. They celebrated. They drank and drank and drank. Long into the night the swashbucklers sang, danced, and drank.  

Late into the following morning, Jack, one of the pirates, woke clutching his head. Wobbling to his feet, the pirated studied his surroundings, observing the place he’d crawled, and how far he might be from the others. Jack managed his way back to join his team.  

What before burned as brilliant bon fires, were now remnants of charred ashes. Evidence of festivities and celebration littered the beach. Black Beard and his men—were gone. The ship that brought Jack and his fellow crewmen there, the smaller boats—they were gone.

They had left him. They had bloody well— I imagine at this point he cursed—up and left him. A bit disordered, a bit bamboozled, but more infuriated, Jack searched the island.  For hours he waited on the beach, waiting—watching—waiting—watching, but Black Beard nor any of his crew returned to retrieve the poor forgotten pirate.

It would be another two years before the ship made its voyage back to the island again. Empty containers once filled with rum strewn up and down the beach—emptied of their precious liquid. It was with little effort, the pirates found their forgotten fellow crewman, his bleached bones stretched elongated in the sun, abandoned and waiting.

This story has been told for generations, but whether it is true that Black Beard and his crewmen ever stepped foot, buried any such treasure, or abandoned a pirate named Jack on Murrells Inlet is not really known. But the story is told and thought of enough for the island to have been tagged, Drunken Jack’s Island, and there’s even a restaurant named for the fellow, Drunken Jacks. What more could an abandoned drunk pirate want?

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