Arrrrgh, maties, hoist the mainsail and get ready for some serious pirating. This is Lisa Burton Radio, and we’re about to sail the seven seas for adventure. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl.
Our guest is Gabriel Wallace, but he’s also known as Rasmussen “Big Red” Bergman. Isn’t that cool?
“Welcome to the show, Big Red, or would you prefer something else?”
“Hello lass. Please call me Rasmus or Razz. I’m pleased to join you, although I’ve no idea what a radio is.”
“Razz it is then. My bio says you were a Captain in the Royal Navy. That’s kind of a big deal. How the heck does someone with all that going for them become a pirate?”
“Well, that’s easier to answer than one might think. I was betrayed, maligned and stripped of my rank as well as my commission in the Royal Navy, by a corrupt and unscrupulous Admiral. Plainly put; I was set up for a fall. Corruption runs rampant in His Majesty’s Navy and by the time I realized the deck was stacked against me, I was out on my arse. Fortunately, my first mate, Miles Jacobs, and my loyal crew, stood by me and picked me up. Yes, I suffered personal loss and intimate damage at their hands as well. That is for them to regret and I saw to it that they regretted it just as intimately.”
“Oh Razz, that’s terrible. So the whole thing sounds to me like you were made a scapegoat, and your family paid the price for that. To get your revenge, it sounds like you not only took up piracy, you made a complete identity change too. What can you tell us about that process?”
“Hmmm… I’m still not completely comfortable with the term, pirate. Most think of pirates and believe they are searching for treasure or making their living by robbing merchant ships and relieving Spanish ships of their gold. Most do. I have no interest in gold or fortune. My interests are solely invested in righting wrongs. If bad people get hurt in the process, I’d say that is their reward for getting in the way of justice. I pirate for better reasons if that makes sense.
“However, finding one’s self on the opposite side of law, regardless of the reasons, will change even the most dedicated and dignified man. Then again, perhaps they aren’t changes at all but rather characteristics that were suppressed or even consciously tucked away waiting for the right moment to emerge. Rasmus was a necessary evolution if I was going to be able to conceal my identity in order to complete my mission and by the end of the book, I was indeed more Rasmus than Gabriel.”
“Pirating sounds like a fun time. Sailing around, looking for buried treasure, the freedom to go wherever you want. Tell us a little about the lifestyle.”
“What in God’s name sort of stories have ye been reading lass? Sailing around? No. We always have a mission. Sailing to us is not recreation, it’s a way to get from one place to another, and getting there in one piece depends on skill and experience—not to mention the will of God’s oceans not to kill ye. Second, sacking other ships for profit is a pirate’s line of work. I’ve sacked ships to keep my crew alive and to pay back those who’ve wronged me. Every day we look death in the face and keep going. Every night we chart the stars and follow the moon. It isn’t romantic to open a man’s belly with your sword or shoot someone who’s trying to take your ship. It is however sometimes necessary to preserve your freedom and protect your mates. We’re a floating society with our own set of rules. Follow the rules or face your punishment. Should you violate the code, you can’t beg for mercy since you voted on those rules and chose to break them. I also haven’t searched nor found any treasure yet…at least not in this book.”
“It sounds almost like a mini senate where everyone gets to vote on what the next project is. That’s kind of cool. If I want to become a pirate how do I go about that. Is there an application and interview process?”
“Haha! There’s an interview process alright. Can ye sail? Have ye ever tarred the decks or sewn sails or climbed the rat lines and walked the yards? I’m not sure what “kind of cool” means but being a sailor, especially a pirate, isn’t all drinking and singing shantys on the deck in the sun. It’s hard work ye see. Nobody really sets out wanting to be pirate. The food aboard ship is mostly awful. There’s danger over every horizon and men die out there, lass. Many men go on account to escape the brutal, slave-like treatment they’re subjected to aboard merchant ships, which accounts for most pirate crews. These are men who’ve been beaten and half-starved I’m speaking of.
“For example: a pirate ship takes a merchant ship at sea and offers the lads a chance to create their own destiny. “Sign here!” they say, and freedom is yours!
“I of course didn’t get my start that way but my crew and I are the exception. We took a ship of the Royal Navy and sailed off through smoke and gun fire. We became pirates by fate, not for any of the reasons most men do. I have to admit, though, the freedom to lead your own life and have respect amongst your mates is something worth fighting for. Freedom doesn’t come free. Ye have to fight and work for it every day. However, once ye have it, it’s hard as hell to let it go.”
“When you explain it that way, I’m surprised there aren’t more pirates. We have a caller, do you mind if we take a question?”
“Ye have my full attention, lass.”
“Hello, caller, you’re on the air with Lisa Burton and Razz. What is your question?”
“Well hello there, Captain Bergman. It’s been quite some time since I’ve had the privilege. Hello to you Miss Lisa, I’m Maddox Carbonale.”
“Well I’ll be damned.”
“If you ask me, it’s too late to blame that on me old friend. So, how have you been….since, well, your run in with the Royal Navy?”
“Ye should have stayed for the show, Carbonale. You missed the finale.”
“Damn it’s good to hear your voice again but then, I knew our paths would cross sooner or later. Shall we regale the young lass with tales of our tavern brawls or shall we discuss the time you forced me into hand to hand combat with a crewman?”
“Ahhhh…here he goes! Watch out lass. Mister Carbonale loves to toot his own horn about his conquests. What if we discuss your other conquests, Maddox? You know, your pension for the young wives of Admirals? Now there’s a story worth telling. Ha ha.”
“Captain, I’m sure it would not be polite to discuss such scandal in front of a lady. By the way Miss Lisa, do you ever get down the Caribbean? I could show you around and of course, I have only the most honorable of intentions.”
“Lass, if ye believe that story I’ve got a tale for ye about the time I met a mermaid off the coast of Jamaica! Oh, Maddox, you’ll never change and I hope to God ye don’t my friend. I might not miss your fashion and flowery scent preferences but you and your pretentious ways definitely made our time together interesting. I have missed you old friend.”
“Well boys, it sounds like the life of a character is anything but simple.”
“I would like to bring up how conflicting it was being tossed back and forth between Madam Bartlett and Mister Hester. As you know Captain, it was quite confusing and undignified at times having words put into our mouths and then yanked out as if we had no say what so ever.”
“Oh Maddox will you ever stop with your belly aching over this book having been co-written? They did the best they could and imagine how difficult it was for me? Missus Bartlett had written us both before in her other books and Mister Hester only knew of us what she’d written. I was a whole other person—literally, going into this book. Of course there was going to be a bit of a tug of war. You survived it so shut your port hole and be grateful for all of these five star reviews we’re all getting.”
“Easy for you to say, you’re in three of Bartlett’s novels. I’m still waiting for the sequel to The Blue Diamond. Ivory and I have quite a bit of…unfinished business shall we say?”
“Don’t make me come and hunt you down Carbonale. As of right now, she’s still my wife.”
“Oh let us confuse the bloody hell out of this poor woman shall we? Do you all see now what I must put up with?”
“Yeah boys, I get it. In my story I got electrocuted, shot, partially disabled, and had all kinds of hardware problems. It’s a tough old business, but we wind up having a little fun along the way too.
“Say boys, robot girls everywhere would like to meet the Dread Pirate Roberts. Do either of you– Sorry, got a little conflict in my software. Do either of you know him?”
“The Dread Pirate who?”
“He’s the peculiar and sort of swishy fellow from that movie The Princess Bride. You see, Lisa, Razz isn’t as worldly as I, although he’s well-read and has an equal level of education. However —
“I know who he is and I’m not impressed. I won’t deny he could handle and sword but all that romance and fancy talk…well, let’s just say a true man of the sea knows who his true lady love is.”
“There’s no hope for the man, Miss Lisa. Captain Bergman, perhaps it’s time you set a course for Demons and Pearls and have yourself reminded of a few or those fancy words. I do believe you’ll find another lady of equal temperament to the sea you so adore, waiting for that shaggy red melon atop your shoulders to rock your boat a bit…although upon my life I am yet to understand what she saw in you. But alas, I’ll be several books ahead, awaiting my opportunity to sail away on that same tumultuous, daring, deep blue eyed, bonny sun kissed and unpredictable sea.”
“Watch it, Carbonale. You never know when I could show up again and turn that voyage bottoms up. However, I accept your challenge and any other that presents itself to me—be it a hurricane or a female.”
“Oh I have no doubt we’ll meet again man to man. As a matter of fact, I’m looking forward to it.”
“Thanks for being on the show today, boys. Make sure you eat your limes now. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”
I included the purchase links at the beginning of the show. You can connect with these authors at the following locations:
P. S. Bartlett: