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Fort Taylor Pyrate Invasion, Nov/Dec 2012 - Key West, FL

Chapter 2nd: Of Friday morning, meeting with Israel Cross and his girlfriend Krystian; Of Krystian; A Pastoral Dance
A Pastoral Dance, from A Set of
Rogues, by Frank Barrett, p. 355 (1895)
Peeking in on the Captain's meeting along with half the camp and not really paying much attention to anything being said; Springing bears on my fellow twins (wait, that didn't sound quite right...); Unpacking the surgeon's chest in preparation for the public being allowed into the fort; Attending, but not paying much attention to anything being said at the safety meeting; Of Iron Jon and Looking in on some of the many displays in the fort this year.

I got up bright and early after a restless night. How can you sleep in properly when there is pirate fun in the offing? I wanted to get into the fort early enough today to make the Battle Planning meeting at 9 am so that I could be in the battle, even though I wasn't actually going to be in the battle. They've gotten even more safety conscious this year. I awoke at 5am, however, which was far too early for the battle planning meeting, so I wandered about the condo, continuing my work on images for the surgeon's article for December on Period Pirate Christmases (like the one there at right.)

I wanted to breakfast at Blue Heaven, but they didn't open until 8am. (Key West proper doesn't really do mornings. Even 8am is pretty early. This is also foreshadowing, Breakfast at Blue Heaven
Photo: Mission
Breakfast with Mission - I Love Blue Heaven's Banana Bread
incidentally.) So I forced myself to work on images for the article as well as adding random thoughts to the text version of the Journal while nervously tapping a foot and drinking coffee - which made me nervously tap my foot even more vigorously.

Finally it got late enough and I rushed down to Blue Heaven and wolfed down an asparagus, spinach, white cheese and shrimp omelet. (Yes, of course it was good. No, I can't be more specific about the white cheese because it had the sort of name that was invented to confuse poor ship's surgeons who are really more interested in getting to stupid battle planning meetings.) I also wanted to rent a bike so that I didn't have to walk all the way to the fort on foot, but they didn't open until 9 or 9:30, so that didn't happen. (Seriously, Key West just doesn't do mornings.)

Krystian and Reggie Friday Morning
Photo: Mission
On the way into the fort, I ran into Israel Cross and his girlfriend Krystian. (Whose name I initially forgot, something which I'm sure surprises none of you regular readers.) She was very nice. She also seemed to know a whole lot more about me than I did about her, which was slightly alarming. It was probably because of the Patrick Hand Original™.

I asked Krystian how long she had been reenacting and she wouldn't commit. Very cagy. Very piratey. I finally learned that she had been working as the Archangel Crew Photographer for about a year, although she would "only dress up when need be." Very cagy. Very piratey. Her interest was not so much in pirates as it was in a certain pirate from what I could tell. She noted that from hanging around with reenactors, she liked the family aspect of it most of all.

Krystian in Archangel Camp
Photo: Mission
Krystian in the Archangel Camp
Krystian also told me that she was a Francophile, which I wanted to be sure and include here because I like the sound of that word. Francophile. I asked why this was and she explained that she adored French films and French directors. This started her love for all things French. I asked her if she'd ever been to France. "Sadly, I've never been to France yet but we do have a trip planned there for the spring. (fingers crossed) [I'd] like to travel there as well as Scotland, the countryside is absolutely gorgeous and I have to see it." If the Surgeon's Journal had fingers, we'd cross them for you too, Krystian.

She currently works as a deckhand for Rover Marine which gives sight-seeing tours of the Naval Base in Norfolk, Virginia. You may recall the Reggie also works on a ferry boat in Virginia. In fact, she and Reggie met in Portsmouth when she was a passenger on his ferry. Now I'm getting a little ahead of the narrative here, but it seems appropriate since I'm talking about the Krystian. Reggie pulled a little trick on her with the help of the Archangel Crew. They had Krystian set up a photo shoot on top of the Fort. "While I was setting up my camera he got down on one knee and popped the question. It was amazingly sneaky and wonderful!!"

I asked Israel if the battle planning meeting was going on yet. He said it wasn't and assured me that it was "just the Captain's Meeting, which doesn't concern us." Approaching the Captain's Meeting
Photo: Mission
Approaching the Captain's Meeting - Where the Captains and Bored Gather
Once inside the fort, I found that it while it may not concern Reggie, it sure concerned everyone else because it looked like half the camp was at the Captain's Meeting. This either means that everyone had mutinied and started their own crew (a crew of one!) or people just didn't have anything better to do, so they decided to attend the Captain's Meeting. I can't think of many places where people would willingly attend a meeting, but this appeared to be one of them.

Of course, I'm one to talk, because I went right over and bent an ear. OK, that's not completely accurate. I went over and took pictures and pretty much ignored what was being said. Regular readers of these Surgeon's Journals will immediately recognize this as Pirate Surgeon SOP. I am actually proud to say that I have learned almost nothing at the last four battle planning meetings I have attended because I was more interested in digitally capturing the moment for posterity than in gleaning info.

Pirates in Captain's Meeting
Photo: Mission
Pirates Listening to Scarlett Jai at the Captain's Meeting
The Fort Personnel at Captain's MeetingPhoto: Mission
The Fort Personnel at the Captain's Meeting

madPete and the Surgeon's Shipping Chest
Photo: Mission
madPete with the Cardboard-entombed Surgeon's Shipping Chest
With my camera now well-stocked with images of a meeting I had no business attending, I toddled over to the Mercury encampment to get to work. Iron Jon had generously allowed me to send my surgeon's chest to him and then brought it down to the island in his truck.

I started to unload the surgeon's gear from its cardboard and wood prison. I had packed the surgeon's crate in a cardboard shell this year because, as I learned last year, UPS charges me a $30 penalty for not having a package wrapped in cardboard. Tack that on to the normal shipping charges and you're talking about over $100 to ship the surgeon's tools each way! (Oh the things I do for my art...)

I say 'started to unload' because I was quickly distracted from accomplishing that task like the magpie that I am during this event.

The three twins and their bears
Photo: Mission's Camera
The Three Twins and Their Bears - Note Brig's Daughter Keira at right
Opening the box had reminded me of the gifts I had gotten for the twins to con...vince them to continue editing my articles and journals for me. These were two bears wearing the outfits they had had on for the Key West Holiday Parade on Saturday last year, as made by Trudi Dufrense. They were amazing and the twins gushed over them marveling at the details like the fully boned bear corsets.

I also trotted out the surprise third twin bear that Trudi had made for me without telling me. She got the idea for doing this from a comment on the 2011 FTPI Surgeon's Journal page which I had sent her as a reference for the clothing. On that page, I described the (fictional) twins action figures, noting that I was the Special Edition Twin. The Mission bear was very detailed and even had a bloody surgical apron. He sat on my table all day with the idea that I would use him to explain operations to kids. (It's less threatening to explain how you cut off a teddy bear's arm than a child's arm. I guess.)

The Special Edition Mission Bear
Photo: Diane Mueller
Special Edition Mission Bear
Mission Bear on the Surgeon's TablePhoto: Mission
Mission Bear on the Surgeon's Table
Mission Bear Tag
Photo: Mission
The Mission Bear's Tag

Crudbeard Preaching Safety
Photo: Mission
Crudbeard Preaches Safety and Spray Paint Map-Making
With that bit of excitement over, I tried to go back and continue the barely-begun unpacking of my surgeon's chest. Fortunately, something shiny once again caught my eye and I got distracted: the battle planning meeting started.

I crossed the walkway from the Mercury encampment to the meeting tent so that I could take some photos and pretend that I was paying attention to what was being said. (Otherwise I couldn't go out on the battle field today with my clyster syringe.) In order to be officially recognized as a battle member, I needed a form which Lily Alexander gave me. That form said it was OK for me to fire a black powder weapon - which I wasn't going to do. Once I filled it out, I could take photos and carry the syringe onto the battlefield. I tried to give the completed form back to Lily, but she wouldn't take it. I tried twice more and she kept refusing it, so I finally decided to keep it until I saw an opportune moment to slip it into her official-looking papers pile when she wasn't looking.

The Battle Plan Complete with Map
Photo: Mission
The Battle Planning Meeting Underway
The Crew at the Battle Planning MeetingPhoto: Mission
The Crew Listens More Intently Than the Surgeon at the Meeting

I finished setting up my surgical tool table and prepared for the public, who arrived in short order to hear about period surgical procedures. There were several groups who were interested and, sometimes, interesting, so that was fun. I encountered two different sets of vacationing veterinarians this year, who sort of recognized some of the tools on the table and made approving comments after the presentation.

Surgeon talking to group
Photo: Mae H.
Mission & Pole
Mission Explaining CuppingPhoto: Mae Harrington
Mission Explains Cupping
Mission Explaining ToolsPhoto: Jim McGavic
Mission Reaches to Show Something Amazing to the Crowd

Iron Jon Examining a Map
Photo: Mission'
Iron Jon Examining One of William's Maps
Throughout the day, I spent a little time sitting with Iron Jon in our Mercury encampment, talking of this and that. Jon is a giant, affable guy with a bunch of tattoos peeking out from the wrists of the sleeves of his shirt. He nearly always has food set out at the table - fruit, cheese, bread - which is just one more reason why I like him. I don't know if I've mentioned this before or not, because I don't recall knowing this, but he was in military service - like his dad before him. He also makes all sorts of interesting things, which he then hides in his tent unless they are brought up in conversation. For example, he hand-carved a horn button for his cartouche box, which I only noticed because he brought it out in preparation for the battle.

He told me that his dad had also been an American Civil War reenactor in the 60s, which, as far as I know, was the very beginning of the reenacting movement. "They used to fire real civil war guns back then," he explained to me. He showed me a piece of his dad's old kit that he had adopted into his pirate persona. Jon's dad passed in June this year. "I've been going through his stuff and finding all sorts of neat things that I can use in pirate reenacting."

Iron Jon Thoughtful
Photo: Mission
Iron Jon Thoughtful
Iron Jon's Dad
Photo: Iron Jon
Iron Jon's Dad Phillip
Iron Jon's Dad's Container FrontPhoto: Mission
Jon's Dad's Container Front
Iron Jon's Dad's Container BackPhoto: Mission
Jon's Dad's Container Back

During the slow periods for the surgeon's display, I got out from under the fly and wandered about the campsite taking photos of things going on about the camp. I saw quite a number of interesting period displays on Friday morning.

Kip shaving
Photo: Mae Harrington
Kit Shaving While the Captain Looks On
OK, this first one is actually something not seen on Friday morning, at least by your author. It happened before I arrived. One thing you discover about reenactors is that some of them really get into the role and do things like actually camp instead of living like civilized people in perfectly comfortable nearby condos. To really get the 'feel' for living during the time period, they even go ahead and ignore the fact that there is perfectly good electricity for the asking to power perfectly good electric razors. Instead they shave period-style like Kit Madden and Jack Roberts as the photos here reveal. (Although I'd like to see the razor to make sure it's not the modern kind with all the safety features. The razors were dangerous enough that period sailors wouldn't shave themselves, they'd have the surgeon do it. Fortunately for Jack and Kit, I wasn't around.)

Jack Roberts Shaving Period Style
Photo: Mae Harrington
Jack Shaving Period Style
Shaving Kit
Photo: Mae Harrington
A Period-like Shaving Kit.
Kit ShavingPhoto: Mae Harrington
Kit Shaving Period Style

Photo: Stolen
"...an no sidewindin' bushwackin', hornswagglin'
cracker croaker is gonna rouin me bishen cutter. "
Speaking of Jack, his parents - the most reverend Dudley Doubleshot and his wife Gigi - had their encampment set up kitty-corner to the Mercury camp location. They appeared to be making lunch, and who can argue with food? ("Reverend!") Certainly not your ship's surgeon, who decided it was high time to pay a visit to the Doubleshots.

I only had a taste because Iron Jon had done such a fine job providing provender for the Mercury Camp, but what I tasted was really good. ("Reverend!") It was a very nice practical display and the Archangels were no doubt pleased with the results, especially because it meant they had food all weekend. ("Reverend!") (If you haven't figured what all those quotes mean by now, don't ask because I'm not going to tell you. I'll just note that your stupid comedy film education, which is almost a requirement to make any sense of these Journals, is not yet complete. ("REVEREND!"))

Jack's Parents in their camp
Photo: Mission
Rev. Doubleshot Thinking of his Son
Jack helping his mom
Photo: Mission
Jack Helping Mom Gigi Prepare Lunch
Reverand Doubleshoot CookingPhoto: Mae Harrington
Rev. Doubleshot Cooking

Meanwhile, over at the Pirates of the Dark Rose encampment, cannon training was going on in preparation for the Friday afternoon battle. Special training is now required for the teams of cannoneers on the field. (I can remember when it was just me and Mark Moss out on the battlefield in 2007 working a cannon by ourselves. I had never done it before, but he kept feeding me instructions as we went. Ah, well.)

Our own Mercury crew member Beowulf (seen below in the dark blue coat and the hat with the red feather) had joined one of the cannon teams with Smee and Hawkyns and the boys were running through their routine. Battle was clearly in the offing.

Cannon Practice at Pirates of the Dark Rose
Photo: Mission
Spike & Caribbean Pearl on one Cannon, Smee & Beowulf on the Other
Beowulf and Smee Training on the CannonPhoto: Mission
Beowulf Prepares the Gun, Smee Covers the Touch Hole

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