September 06

How I Live. With Terror.

Deborah S. Greenhut

40 Scenes of Wandering

Characters: From 1 to 20.

Setting: A stage.

Time: After the pirates.

Scenery: None.

Lights: Until the end.

(Lights up.)


On November 5, 2005, pirates in small boats attacked an American luxury liner off the coast of Somalia. I learned about this the next morning from an illuminated sign in Times Square shortly after emerging from a PATH station. “Far enough away,” I thought, with a touch of smug guilt.


I can’t stop thinking about the pirates, can you?


I mean, if the pirates were here, what would I offer them? What does a pirate want?...
Sigmund really didn’t go after the difficult questions.


If a pirate and a half wants an ipod and a half, how many ipods do six pirates want?


Somalia is very far away. And now we all know it’s not safe there. So it looks like the pirates were performing a public service.

Apparently the ship’s captain tried first to run over the pirate boats, and then he outran them.

Now the pirates seem like cartoon characters. I can live with that.


Of course, knowing that the pirates had grenade launchers cancels out that feeling of safety.

What exactly do you suppose they wanted from the tourists? tells me that rocket-propelled launchers are inexpensive to make.

What do you suppose the average pirate earns in take-home pay each week?

(CNN) -- A luxury cruise line will re-evaluate whether to offer future cruises off the coast of Somalia after pirates attempted to attack one of its ships early Saturday.
Who saw that coming? Raise your hand.

One must have a mind of water to think about running over a pirate with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Someone was injured, but the cruise line declined to elaborate.


This is what I am saying. Didn’t we learn enough about the importance of elaboration during the Clinton years? I know…I know…More than you need to know. But really. Can we just talk?

Sometimes a terrorist is merely a pirate?


Notice how that sentence does not work the other way around. Sometimes a pirate is merely a terrorist.

Isn’t English a beautiful thing?


I am practicing to speak with the Pirates when they come.

Don’t kid yourself. We’re not going to escape just because we live onshore.

Actually, I’m rather enjoying it because I can say sentences I packed away in mothballs when people told me to update my writing—sentences such as, “Avast ye blackguards.”

Everyone will know what I mean now. They’ll probably put it on my tombstone--it’s so clear.

I am also resurrecting old music. A line from Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young keeps floating through my head. It is a fortuitous one, given the pirate situation. It reminds us of ocean navigation. Can you guess what it is?


“Set a course and go.”

That’s the line!

Do you think the pirates like music? I was only kidding about the Ipods before. The pirates probably already have them. Something to do when there are no cruise ships crossing your wake.

Maybe the pirates would prefer bootleg tapes. I have one from a Steely Dan concert.


OK. So I was testing you. You might be a pirate. You know how they always ask the potential spies who won the World Series? I figured if you were a pirate you wouldn’t know about Steely Dan like that guy in the ad that keeps running through my mind. I don’t know why that guy is like a pirate, but if you didn’t know Steely Dan is a studio band who never tours and not just one guy, I would have a right to be suspicious of you. Right?

You did know, didn’t you?

Now, what?


I’m planning to buy a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. In fact, since they’re so inexpensive, I’m going to buy all of the launchers I can find. Then, I’m going to feel safe.

If I can find a place to store them.


It’s the Russians fault, you know. They make the reusable kind. But who you gonna call? The Soviet Union has left the building.

American launchers. They’re one-hit wonders. I wonder which kind the pirates bought and why?

If I meet the pirates, I’m going to make them negotiate on my terms.

“You call yourself a pirate? Give me five hundred words on why you want to board my ship.”

First of all, nobody fights back. Passenger Mike Rogers of Vancouver stated: "We're always looking for adventure, but this is probably a little more than we would normally look for."
That’s just what the pirates are waiting for. People giving up on their adventures. It’s all about detention, stupid.

I don’t like that word, so I usually don’t use it.
Something tells me the pirates could care less what I think.

Live and let pirate.
A pirate on the ocean is worth two on the mountain.
Don’t take any wooden pirates.
It will be a cold day in Neverland before I let Captain Hook clean my clock.
What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Here’s how I prepare for my impending encounter with pirates:
I keep clean underwear in the glove compartment.
I don’t take any wooden nickels.
I buy Dramamine.
I practice the piano.
Remember what I said about the music. I think we’re going to need it.

Image: Loren Ellis, NYC Skyline with Nature
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