Pirate Grey Beard is in trouble. Not only are the British naval war ships closing in on his ship, The Raging Hormone, but he’s also learned someone on his crew is a traitorous British spy. And that’s not even the worst of it. The spy has done the one thing Grey Beard never imagined . . . the spy has killed Grey Beard.
Help Grey Beard's ghost as he tries to unravel his own murder and keep the British from finding his treasure!
From the opening scene of The Case of the Dead Man’s Chest
The setting is a tropical island beach near dawn. The sound of surf and jungle bugs can be heard. The stage is littered with a few half empty jugs of rum. A small boulder is half buried in the sand down right. Across the beach we notice three slumbering pirates. These are Buck A. Neer, right of center, Willy Spanker, center, and Scurvy Dogg, left of center.
After a few moments, we see a lone pirate crossing from the back of the auditorium to the stage. He hobbles slowly and uses a crutch. He wears a white coat and trousers, a white eye patch and carries a small bottle of rum. In fact, he is clad in all white clothing. He has a metal hook for his left hand that operates like pincers, allowing him to grasp small objects with his hook. This is Captain Grey Beard. He struggles up to the stage, turns and regards the audience. He takes a long drag from his rum bottle, coughs and crosses to center where he addresses the audience.
GREY BEARD: Greetings, land lubbers. Allow me to introduce me-self. I’m the most dreaded pirate of the high seas, Captain Grey Beard, Scourge of the West Indies and Mutilator of Public Restrooms. You’ve no doubt heard a’ me and me ship, The Raging Hormone. It’s a ship I’ve had since I was a teenager.
Does ye miserable wretches knows me? (Waits for a response)
No? Maybe you knows me from me youth when I was known as Captain Red Beard? (Waits for response)
Or maybe when I was even younger? Captain Peach Fuzz? I’m Irish so it took a long time to grow this damn thing.
Well, no matter because I’m not really here. You see, I’m dead and you’re looking at me ghost . . . Booooo! (He laughs) I need to sit down. (He clambers to the small boulder down right and sits.) Sorry but me left leg is false. Lost it in the Battle of Blackwater. Lost me right eye at the Skirmish of Schenectady. And me left hand in the Tiff at Tannleberry. And I lost my ass at a black jack table just ten minutes ago. (He laughs and drinks again) Sorry, this must be unnerving to you, talking to a ghost like this. But I need your help. You see, one of me crew ruthlessly murdered me. Me, a gentle man of an indeterminate age and accent with a rich, musky aroma. Who would want to kill the likes of me?
Sure, I’ve been known to pillage more than a few ships. Sure, I’ve maimed more than my fair share of English, French and Spanish sailors. And sure, I’ve been called the “Blackest Soul on the Seven Seas” — I forget where I was going with this.
Anyway, I’m about to show you a murder . . . me own murder, in fact. An’ I’m wonderin’, after you watch me murder, can any of you spot me killer? And more importantly, can any of you spot me about twenty bucks, the rum in the afterlife is terrible expensive!
(He rises) But enough of me . . . let me take you to an island off the coast of Florida. Just yesterday, in fact . . . early in the morning . . . I can see it all now (Lights rise on the beach) . . . A small bay I called . . . the bay of pigs, because of all the snoring.
The three men begin snoring loudly. Grey Beard crosses to each one of them and gestures to them as they are introduced.
GREY BEARD: There’s me crew. Most of ‘em, anyway. Though I don’t know any of them all that well. I always takes on a new crew every few months to keep control of me ship and reduce overtime pay. As ye can see, they’re all sleeping off another rum induced slumber after a night of carousing. There’s me first mate –
He gestures to Buck A. Neer.
GREY BEARD: Buck A. Neer, a vicious killer with a mean streak. He’s a throat slasher, an expert swordsman, and makes the best damn salsa in the Caribbean. Technically, he’s not really me first mate . . . that title goes to a girl I met at summer camp . . . but I digress.
Grey Beard crosses to the sleeping Willy Spanker.
GREY BEARD: An’ this scurvy dog is Willy Spanker. He’s very good with his hands. And he likes being alone . . . a lot. I don’t really know the lad but I can tell already he is definitely not to be trusted.
Grey Beard crosses in on Scurvy Dogg.
GREY BEARD: An’ this here scurvy dog is . . . Scurvy Dogg. Literally, that’s his name. I have no idea what his parents were thinkin’. They named him Scurvy Dogg and then disowned him when he joined me crew. It’s like naming your baby Pot Head an’ being shocked when he moves to Colorado.
Grey Beard starts to move off left.
GREY BEARD: This is where me story begins.