Last week Captain Crickles was faced with the dilemma of being a pirate short of the very thing he so desired, a bit of tipple down his throat and a purse heavy enough to keep said throat sated. However, through the whiffervesence of his odour sensor he managed to seek out the main rhumerie source within Shanghai. . . the rum bar on Yongfu Lu, and following a chance meeting with an insightful barkeep his fortunes had unexpectedly turned. With address in hand 'El Capitano Cricklee' meandered on his merry way to capitalism, consumerism and the all-occidental dream of a life of Shanghai Laowai luxury living.
Captain Crickles had found his path, a path doused in debauchery, danger and mostly discrimination, yet a path he was more than willing to undertake.
Day 1 Evening: Captain Crickles meets his mentor!
“What noise is this that breaks the incandescent slumber to which I currently reside? The images of virginal maidens innocently gazing at me from silk tapestries draped across the foot of my fourteenth century, seven-post Da Vinci bed, inducing dreams of Sodom and Gomorrah incarnate! What kind of uninvited, yet unencumbered degenerate dares trace his infectious fingernails across the redwood panelling that envelopes my door? A miscreant perchance? Or some delectable Eastern delight selling all that she has to offer? Welly welly well, perhaps t'would be more advantageous to not keep said potential company waiting.” pondered the occupant of the address Captain Crickles had sought.
Leaping to his feet and sauntering to his front door the occupant slowly eased back the latch while shadows from the quickly setting Sun danced on his piquant coloured walls.
“And to whom do I owe the pleasure of gracing me with their company at this bewitching hour?” announced the occupant as he pulled the door back to reveal our beloved hero, Captain Crickles, with address in hand and a slightly confused expression upon his face.
Taken aback by the appearance of old Crickly, his auburn hair a matted, greasy mess coiling around the sides of his face to rest upon his shoulders, straggly, dark beard encrusted with the remnants of a thousand forgotten meals, and eyes that could penetrate even the most celibate of souls, the occupant was for a split second simply lost for words, however he quickly regained his composure and greeted Crickles;
“Yes sir and a pleasant evening to your kind self, and may I ask to what purpose has lead you to my threshold?”
“Hmmm, tavern man. . . and who may be this tavern man?
“Rum tavern man, sent me 'ere, said yous can 'elp me out.”
“He did did he? And to what end can I aid you?”
“He said that you'd make me speak more proper and look like I needs to so I can get sum money and then I can get as much drink as I want.”
“Right well you better introduce yourself and then enter my boudoir so to speak.”
“Oh yeah, the name's Cap'n Crickles.”
“Captain Crickles? Why what use of alliteration, I adore it, however I'm not sure everyone else here may think the same, but to hell with them. Some of the locals you know they pick their own English names. Not sure why they don't just use the names given to them by their families. They believe we can't pronounce their names in their own tongue you see? Preposterous I know, but it does add a bit of humour to proceedings. There's obviously your Lillys and Lindas, Jackies and Jasons, Mias and Michaels, then you have some more daring names such as Crythern and Gresh, Frog and even a Jesus, my favourites were Mary and Susan, two pleasant young men who worked in the local tobacconist. After they had introduced themselves to me I did inform them that they had adopted girls' names, but that didn't faze them in the slightest. But I'm straying from the point, terribly sorry, I often let my mind wander and before you know it I realise I'm down a back-alley, a wad full of cash in my hand betting on how many live crickets a man can stuff into his orifice.”
“I once saw a sailor try to 'av it off with a sea-cow, it's the way a manatee smiles that stokes their loins and gets 'em all broiled up.”
“Well certainly old chap, who wouldn't yearn for a bit of the other when one's been at sea for such a long time, without the gentle yet seductive pleasures that a girl can induce within a man?”
“Oh we 'adn't been at sea, this were at one of them water park things, you know with dolphins and penguins and the like?”
“Indeed, well needless to say I'm sure the sailor fellow had a good time. Now back to the matter at hand, which is to transform the very visage before me into a suave, sophisticated, debonair money making dynamo, that will take the Shanghai scene by storm and bathe in the vices it has to offer. Talking of vices, what would be yours dear Captain?”
“The illustrious smokey teat of a pipe?”
“The golden syrup of the gods, which when consumed brings a sense of self belief when attempting even the most absurd of ideas?”
“And women, what of women? Do you admire the fairer sex? When you pass a delectable piece of skirt in the street do you imagine running your fingertips over the curve of her gracious calf, tenderly caressing her inner thigh, and then your fingers gliding through her parting lips, followed by your. . .
“And what of boys?
“What of 'em?”
“Do you have a secret inclination for the soft skin of an adolescent boy? To wrestle him to the ground and bathe in his youthful good looks?”
“You shag boys?”
“No, I don't have the stomach for it you see, but if I were interested then it's an appetite that could more than certainly be satisfied here with what the dark corners Shanghai's back-streets have to offer. Are you sure you're not interested? I have a contact who could get you whatever age you fancy at a reasonable price.”
“Not interested, all I want is some drink in me gullet and a wench on me lap.”
“Well I can certainly appease your drinking needs. Which salivating spirit would you care for? I have gin from Geneva, vodka from Vladivostok, a lovely single malt from Strathcarron, tequila from Tijuana, actually there's a funny story related to that one, I was with an adorable young Mexican filly who's pleasure was to take the seed from an avocado and insert it in. . .
“Got any rum?”
“Of course my good fellow, I have a Brugal 1888 from the Dominican Republic right here. That was given to me by a Sheik I met while on my travels in the Middle East, doing a bit of dubious work in Dubai at the time, he was involved in the trafficking of various desirable goods, had a taste for incestuous geriatrophilia, was caught having sex with his grandmother and was subsequently crayoned to death by nursery school children. . . he was a wonderful cad though, still sometimes it's better to keep one's perversions to oneself and pursue an alternative hobby like egg collecting. Would you like to see some eggs?”
“I reckon I'll stick with rum.”
“Well next time then. So where were we? Oh yes, those viciously cruel yet insatiably beautiful temptresses, the majestic wonder of women. So what's your preference? You know Shanghai has everything to offer. Obviously there are the natives who I like to refer to as the 'Ladies of Luxury'. As beautiful as they may be they come with a price and that price is image, an astronomically expensive image, from Prada shoes to Gucci handbags, jewellery from Tiffany and accessories from Yves Saint Laurent, even their tampons are cashmere. To be honest with you they're not even worth it, if you were to manage to tempt one into your bedroom you'd get more action out of a comatose quadriplegic, and as for oral abilities, although they may be good at filling their mouths with chicken feet and duck necks they're not so skilled at putting much else in there.”
“Then there are the Eastern European beauties, the Russian Tsarevnas, although they may appear cold and humourless once you break through their icy exterior your member will struggle to find time to ever be flaccid again. These girls will tie you up into positions a yoga instructor could only dream of.”
“Or if you prefer the Western side of the continent, Shanghai is abundant with Spanish bellas, Italian fashionistas, Scandinavian sweethearts, Dutch delights, French sexperts and German shepherds.”
“There are even several so-called 'English Roses' here, although I would more likely refer to them as 'Swollen Durians', some local men find them palatable but most European guys tend to steer clear.”
“Err, I 'adn't thought about it. Normally I'll just grab the nearest gash and 'av me way with it, I cudn' tell ya if thems were Africans, Asians or Aliens, s'all the same to me, just as long as I get to drain me portcullis I dunnae care where she's from.”
“Truer words have never been said brother. Well, in order to achieve the desires and ambitions you have brought to me will indeed be quite the challenge, but I'm not the kind of nonce to turn down a good challenge while helping out a fellow comrade at the same time, so I will do my utmost to ensure that by the end of the week you'll not only have a roll of notes in your wallet and a quart of rum in your arteries but also I guarantee people will doth their caps when they pass you and you'll leave a sense of enthralment in the faces of those whom you leave in your wake. Through your sheer style and charm you will be causing young women's undergarments to literally rip themselves up in order to allow your codpiece easier access. In order to achieve this, however, we need a tailor, a barber, a haberdasher and a chemist.”
“What we need a chemist for?”
“Oh, well that's just for me old fellow, I have a slight inclination for consuming recreational substances from time to time, purely for medicinal purposes of course. Talking of substance I will also be giving you lessons in enunciation, articulation, modulation, vocalisation, eloquence and discourse, for if you are to engorge your pocketbook with much needed readies then we have to obtain for you a vocation and the easiest manner to achieve this will be by entering you into the humble profession of English teaching.”
“Who'll 'and over their money for me to learn 'em English? I know as well as you that I ain't exactly good at conversin' and the sort.”
“It's all in the presentation my dear. You see many of my clients are already more than capable of utilising our beautiful language in a professional sense, yet you need to be able to belittle them with a profound use of vocabulary, confuse and confound them, bewilder and befuddle, perplex and perturb, unsettle and unhinge them to the point where they believe their proficiency and that of the English speakers they will undoubtedly encounter to be so perilously imbalanced that they will be more than ready to hand over the coinage necessary for you to impart upon them the English language skills of an asserted expert.”
“An' you think you can learn me to do that?”
“Well why do you think you're here sir?”
“An' what'll you get out of it?”
“I'm sure we'll be able to come up with something my dear fellow. In the meantime all I require of you is your time and attention, in return you can reside with me full-board and I will attain the necessary materials to turn you into a Shanghai socialite. How does that sound squire?”
“Excellent, well we have plenty of work to do so let us get on with it.”
“Well ta very much mister.”
“You my friend are more than welcome, and please call me Earl, Earl Grey.”
Find out next time how Captain Crickles gets on under the eccentric tutelage of Earl Grey and whether he finally finds himself some much needed clunge! Byedee bye!!!