So, yesterday was Shrove Tuesday. I hadn't been very concerned about the day before, but being able to come in to work an hour late because of "religious observations" at a pancake restaurant tends to bring on the deep spiritual thoughts. Believe you me, pancakes eaten when you're supposed to be at work are delicious. Maybe I should have skipped more classes in university? Ah, regrets.
Incidentally, I really like the word "shrove". You don't order shroves at Smitty's; there's no shrove syrup in the grocery store. No, not even the organic farmer's market. But you know what a shrove is: it's a pancake. The fact that a perfectly valid word is only ever used in a particular phrase is something I find rare and beautiful.
The only other word like that which comes to mind is "wreak". You don't wreak love on Valentine's Day. You don't wreak high blood pressure. You don't wreak huge savings during Employee Pricing Madness. Yet we all know that wreak means "go all over the place getting nasty", because that's what happens when you wreak havoc.
You know, I just had a wonderful idea. Bear with me here...
* * * * *
"Ship to starboard, cap'n!", cried the lookout, and the crew turned from their duties to steal a look. All they could see was a thin grey fog, dimly lit by the rising sun, but they prepared for boarding nonetheless. In a few minutes, the smell of lard on the griddle cut easily through the sea spray, and they knew their quarry was near. The men started laughing with each other, smacking their lips, thinking of the sweet, sweet maple syrup that would soon be theirs.
"Quiet on th' deck!" The furious hiss carried clearly across the ship, and to a man, the crew snapped to attention. With a bump and a step, Captain Benjamin Shrovewreaker stepped down from the upper deck and addressed his men. "Comin' out've th' fog, we've got surprise on our side, and we'll catch'em just as 'ey're sittin' down fer brekkie! They'll soon rue celebratin' a brand new day..." Shrovewreaker's grin turned ugly. "They always do."
The crew matched his grin in perfect silence, and their ship drifted closer. The men were almost drooling when they finally saw it through the fog: the Griddleship Mjolnir, riding low in the water with its precious cargo of bacon and eggs. "Close enough, boys," the captain muttered. "Now wake 'em up!"
An opening salvo roared through the dawn, and the crew of the Black Coffee cheered as they pushed into view, mug and crossbones flying proudly. "Listen up, you flapjacks!", Shrovewreaker yelled over the water. "Put down yer forks and prepare to be boarded!"
Impossibly, he was answered by the thunder of a return salvo, flying over his deck and tearing through a sail. There was no way they'd have their cannons out -- unless...
A second ship sailed in from behind the Mjolnir. Shrovewreaker spit and cursed. He wasn't ready for a fair fight this early in the morning. Not waiting for his idiot of a lookout, he ran up to the bow. "Who? Who dares challenge the Black Coffee?", he bellowed.
His answer came clearly across the distance: "It is I! Captain Vegetable! With my cannons, and lack of scurvy! It's time someone taught you the importance of proper nutrition, Shrovewreaker, and I'm the one to do it! You can surrender now... or face my Vege-might!"
Shrovewreaker raised his cutlass and roared defiantly, and his caffeinated crew joined in. It was going to be an ugly battle.
* * * * *
EDIT: I learned at work the next day that shroves aren't pancakes, but rather the past tense of "shrive". It's still a unique word, though, and I'm much happier with breakfast-raiding pirates anyway.
EDIT #2: Do you realise that the first mate could be called Starbuck? There's no question about it now... I have to turn this into a webcomic or something.