“Are ye sure you’re aye a pirate?” Iseabail groused.
“Tha’, too. When ye broke me out of jail, I thought there’d be less apologizin’. And tha’ I’d aye get tae be meaner.”
Cannon turned down another broad, tree-lined avenue. “There’s a rule that’s kept me in business this long: don’t make any enemies you don’t have to. To say it another way, don’t steal from anyone who can’t afford the loss.”
Iseabail tutted. “An’ tae think we’re in the same line o’ work as Blackbeard.”
Cannon glanced over at her. “Iseabail, where is my head?” She blinked in utter confusion. “What’s it attached to?” Cannon clarified.
“Yer… neck?” Iseabail answered, after some time.
“That’s right,” Cannon said. “Do you know what happens to pirates who break the rule? Pirates like Blackbeard?”
Iseabail managed to look a little green and a little pale at the same time. “I’m aye tae understand there’s… choppin’.”
“I like my head right where it is, too,” Cannon agreed. “That’s why we steal from people richer than we are, and pay for things we take from— Mr. Wailani! I say, what a spot of good fortune to run into you here!”
Across the street, Wailani’s head turned toward them. He cracked a grin, and crossed to their side. “Good afternoon, Dr. Smith. Mrs. Smith.”
“Aye, it’s a lovely one, at tha’.” Iseabail smiled. “An’ one of our favorite places. We dinnae make the Pacific crossin’ too often, bu’ when we do, we aye look forward tae stoppin’ here.”
“How kind,” said Wailani. “Accurate, too. I—like you, I expect—have been around the world a dozen times over. Not once have I found a place half as nice as our little slice of paradise here.”
“Quite,” Cannon agreed. “I had hoped we might say farewell to you this morning, but by the time we made it to breakfast, I was informed you had already left. So…” he began, casting about for the words. Eventually, he came to, “Farewell.”
Wailani laughed. “Dr. Smith, I am not one for goodbyes. We will meet again. Even if you didn’t owe me a favor, I would hope to make it so.”
“Until our next meetin’, then?” Iseabail said.
“Precisely, Mrs. Smith.” Wailani smiled and dipped his head. “Until then.” A moment passed, then he added, “One more thing.”
“Yes?” said Cannon.
“Whatever you have planned—be sure it happens outside Hawaiian airspace.”
“Mr. Wailani, I’m sure I don’t know what you mean,” Cannon said smoothly.
Wailani smiled knowingly and tapped the side of his nose. “Of course not. Good afternoon. Captain.”
Before Cannon could make a further denial, Wailani had already turned and left. Cannon looked to Iseabail, wearing the self-satisfied expression he expected to find.
“You don’t have to say it,” he said.
“Told ye he knew.”
The post Nathaniel Cannon and the Panamanian Idol No. 37 is part of an ongoing story at Many Words.