“The Pirate Life for Me,” by Lauren Piskothy

Dec 20th, 2023 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

The year be 2007, and me mateys and I just docked on the shore of new land, a place where all the scoundrels of the world be roaming free with little to no consequences, the drunkest, meanest, stinkiest, tannest lads and lassies ye will ever meet—Daytona Beach, Florida. 

Daytona be a lawless land. So it be the perfect place for me scallywags to swindle our way to a treasure greater than any riches in the world—The Blu-Ray DVD of Reservoir Dogs. It be the only one of its kind and therefore, it be worth a fortune. And once me mateys and I find this booty, we’ll make hundreds of thousands of copies to sell to the masses for an extortionate price! 

ARGH!! That be right, I be a pirate who pirates DVDs! Yer probably thinking… He be a pirate, but not the kind I thought. Alas! I come from a long ancestry of pirates, and this just be how we evolved, but don’t question it too much…. ARRRGGGHH!!

Me name be Stony O’Malley, me old man gave me that name as a little lad, because I never smiled, not a once. That was until I was thirty one years old, when me daughter Gracie was born; we be thick as thieves when she was a little lass. (And I would know how thick the thieves be, I’ve met many, they be not the sharpest knives in the mast). But little Gracie be not so little anymore, aye, she be saying things like, “Yer not the boss of me, I be me own person” and “Get out me room Dad, I be watching Gossip Girl!” I just don’t understand her anymore. Me old man and I bonded over our piratey missions, so maybe little Gracie and I can bond over our quest for the digital versatile disc of Reservoir Dogs! Alas, I be going on a tangent, but it be hard being a single dad in this day and age. But Gracie will be me number one fan again, just like when she was a wee lil lass. When we go on our quest and brave the dangers that lurk at the Blockbuster on Orchard Lane. Shiver me timbers. Just the thought of the pimply employees asking me what type of movie I be looking for sends a chill up me spine! Aye, I’ve seen ships sunk and lads walk the plank, but small talk with a movie loving teen making minimum wage be the scariest thing I ever encountered.

I knock three times on Gracie’s door, she be not hearing me over the theme song to Gossip Girl… so I knock harder, and she swings the door open.

“What now, Stony?” She sat down on her bed, her poster of a handsome lad by the name of Chace Crawford, looking me dead in the eyes, like he be reading my mind and knowing all me secrets. Ooh… the shiver is back.

She be calling me by my first name lately. It be… not my favorite thing, but she’ll grow out of it. At least that’s what I’ve read.

“I need to show you the treasure map for our next quest!”

“Ugh… Dad… what did I tell you, I’m not a pirate. It goes against everything I believe in!”

Ya see, Gracie be on about becoming a filmmaker these days. Like her mom…. Her mom who left us to make it big in the worst place on earth, that’s right… I be talking about Hollywood, California. I be trying to talk sense into her lately, but she be a stubborn lass, just like her mom. I’d be lying if I said this be not triggering to me… So, I decided the only way to get her to help me on my quest was to use her love of films to me own advantage and tell a wee white lie. Argh! Do not be judging me, parents do it all the time, ye probably thought Santy Clause was real for yer whole life and yer not getting angry with yer folks now are ye? Santy Clause… imagine that. I know she’ll have fun once she’s there looting with me!

“ARGH! I remember now… sorry me memory is spotty lately, what if we go rent a movie? It be my treat!?”

Gracie turned to me as if she’d seen a ghost! And I should know, I seen lots of ghosts in me days of raiding abandoned ships with me old man.

“Are you being for real!?” Gracie was excited, like when she thought Santy Clause had brought her presents. Kids be so gullible believing in fictional characters!

“Yes I be for real!”

“You mean rent as in pay, not steal a physical copy of a movie?”


Gracie came up and hugged me so tightly me head barely popped off me shoulders. She skipped straight out the door and waited for me to follow her along, like when she would show me her favorite toy as a little lass. Me felt a little guilty about lying, but hey-ho, it be for her own good!


There she be. The blue and golden chunky letters Gracie be so fond of. She tells me this is the place where she fell in love with cinema—Blockbuster. I be seeing what me piratey heart desires through the window: there it be, on aisle three: Reservoir Dogs on Blu-Ray, what a glorious treasure, better than any gold I’ve seen. The only one of its kind. She be a beaute. Gracie has a glimmer in her eyes when she looks into the video store, and something tells me she’s not thinking about piracy. I pull out me treasure map: a blueprint of this Blockbuster so we can steal the booty without walking the plank—or as regular lads call it “being escorted out by the local authorities.” That be super embarrassing.

“Gracie! Come look at me map!”

But she be gone. Already inside the shop. She just walked right in. I never would’ve thought to do that! That lassie be a genius! I walk right in. She be talking to the scrawny lad at the front of the shop. ARGH! A distraction! Good thinking. She be a natural pirate and not even know it! The ghostly looking lad at the front be not even paying any attention to me. He didn’t even ask me what movie I be searching for! Praise be to Blackbeard! So, I walk right over and slip the DVD right into me puffy shirt. It be very puffy and good for theft and storing stuff. Ye would not believe all me snacks I kept in there when Gracie was a baby.

“Gracie!” I whispered.

But she be not hearing me, so I whisper louder.

“Psst! Gracie!”

Gracie still not be hearing me. She really be committing to this distraction. And then I be hearing a sound I only hear when she be watching interviews with Chad Micheal Murray on the YouTube… a giggle. She be twirling her hair like she does when she watches those pretty Gossip Boys too.

“Argh… Gracie…?”

She giggles some more at that whisper of a lad.

“Gracie! I be having a heart attack and I also be on fire!”

Not even a glance.

I do the only thing I be knowing how to do. Scare the living daylight out of this son of a biscuit eater! I limp with me peg leg and give him the dirtiest look me can muster.

He stares at me, with bloodshot eyes, not a thing behind them. I never seen nothing like it.

“Oh! Dad, this is Kevin. He’s a cinephile like me!”

Kevin looks at me with a wee nod of the head. “Sup?”

“We were just talking about maybe grabbing a pizza?” She be batting her eyes at him the whole time she talks.

Now me blood be boiling. This be me father daughter bonding mission and she be leaving me for this smoky smelling lad! I’d sooner walk the plank than leave her with this… Kevin!

“ARGH! This be not happening!”

“But it is Dad.”

“Blimey! No way!”

“I’m eighteen, Dad! I’m a legal adult! I can make my own choices and just because you don’t agree with them doesn’t mean you get to boss me around! C’mon Kevin!”

Gracie storms out with Kevin. She be leaving me all alone in the Blockbuster, I be having dreams like this all the time. Just me and a ton of booty… aye, I mean treasure, get yer mind out the gutter… but I be sadder than a marooned scallywag swabbing the poopdeck in the middle of a snowstorm. So I take all the DVDs me puffy shirt can fit and go back to the ship to drink and commiserate with me mateys… but they all be bachelors with no kids, so it’s hard to relate.


Gracie and Kevin be a couple now… and all I can do is pour meself into me work. Sure, I be raking in the big bucks with me thousands of hundreds of dollars from the pirated copies of Reservoir Dogs I’ve been selling, but it not be feeling as good as me thought. There be a Gracie size whole inside me heart. She never be home anymore, and she never calls. I get so sad sometimes I sit in me quarters and watch Gossip Girl alone, Gracie was right, this show be addicting. I even browse all her non-pirated DVDs… I would be lying to meself if I said me didn’t watch one or two or maybe five of them. I would never tell me mateys this, but I even saw a movie in the… cinema. ARGH! I know this be hypocritical of me.

Twas not my plan to sneak into the cinema, it just happened. This also be what Gracie’s mom said when she be sleeping with an indie director… so I know how it be sounding. But it just happened to be on me walk back to the ship. Okay? ARGH I don’t need yer judgment.

Alas, it was out of me hands, all the sudden I be sitting in the dark theater, with a big thing of popcorn and a mountain of Coca-Cola. Me mateys woulda had a good laugh, but I thought, what the heck, might as well lean into it. All the sudden the image appears on the screen, crystal clear, sparkling almost, like the open waters me ship sails across. I couldn’t believe me eyes, there be no quality like this on me pirated DVDs!

Even the trailers be looking real enticing, and trailers are the worst, they be giving the whole movie away for free! But then the movie started, the title appeared on the screen, sharp as the hook me matey Billy has for a hand! The movie be called Enchanted. It told the tale of a young lass from a cartoon world, set to become a princess, who gets trapped in our world and falls in love with a young lad who divorces people for a living. But it be their differences that make them such a good match. There also be a father and daughter who be the best of friends. I be halfway through the movie, and there be definitely no salty water coming out me eyes. That’s for sure. I thought to meself, Gracie be right, there be something different and magical about watching a story unfold on the big screen. The long list of names of people who be working on the film came onto the screen. Something came over me, and I wanted to see every last buccaneer that worked on this masterpiece. Then the lights came up in the theater and I felt a tap on me shoulder.


I turned around to see me Gracie with her… Kevin.


Kevin nodded, “Sup?”

This scallywag be making weird sounds and actin like they be words. Arghh…

“What are you doing here? You said you wouldn’t be caught dead in a cinema! Were you… crying?” Gracie sounded impressed.

I quickly patted me face dry with me puffy sleeve.

“What ye be talking about? This be condensation from me Coke cup that just so happened to get on me face… somehow!”

“You were crying! At the movie!?”

“Yer seeing things lassie!”

“Okay, you know what Dad, I think we’re going to go. C’mon Kevin.”

Kevin and me Gracie were just about ready to leave that theater, but just then I felt a knot in me chest, that if I didn’t tell me daughter what I was feeling, I might lose her forever.

“Don’t go! Yer right lassie, I was crying…”

Gracie stopped in her tracks and looked me in me glassy eyes.

“Ye see, sitting in this theater, watching that divorce lawyer with his little lassie, I started thinking about how close we used to be when you were just a little lassie and how you be spending most of yer time with Kevin now… this movie be moving me to tears without me realizing it.”

“Wow Dad… that’s big of you to say.”

“Wait, I’m not done yet, Gracie, if ye want to stop pirating movies with me, I won’t be making you walk the plank. If yer dream is to make movies, I want to be supportive. I think… I think I be understanding the magic of cinema now…”

Before she could say anything, Gracie came over wrapped her arms around me, giving me the biggest hug. Shiver me timbers! She squeezed me tightly.

“Thanks Dad…”

I guess me quest for treasure did bring me and Gracie closer afterall…


The year be 2035 and after years of attending PA meetings (Pirating Anonymous) I earned me twenty eight year chip! However, it turns out that piracy be not a victimless crime, so me PA group members got slapped with a big fine and threatened with up to five years in the brig. Luckily me Gracie is now a big time movie director and can afford a good lawyer. She be directing her fourth movie and I be the proudest I’ve ever been! When Disney learned about her pirate heritage, they be knocking down her door to direct the next six Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Gracie starts directing the tenth Pirates of the Caribbean movie this summer and guess who be playing Pirate #4… 


Lauren Piskothy is an American comedy writer, living in Scotland where she spends her free time pretending to be the main character in a Nancy Meyers movie. You can find more of her writing on Points in Case and The Belladonna Comedy.

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