Francois l’Olonnais, a 1600s French buccaneer, has long since gone off to a different realm, but he didn’t leave pirating behind. Being a ghost is merely a speed bump on an already dark and potholed road to hell. Along the way, he decides to become a mentor so his legacy will continue…”Or something stupid like that” as Tommy Klopt his protégé says in the adventure Pirates Off the Wall.
With the ghost lingering around and getting them into more trouble, Tommy Klopt and the rest of his family, Captain Hoody (his dad), and brothers Connor and Dillon have a hard time retiring from the pirating business.
The ghost has an ever-watchful eye on the Klopts, and sometimes, he uses his persuasive charm to ward off threats made to them:
L’Olonnais pulled his cutlass from its sheath. “Oui, Capitaine Hoods’ list of wrongdoings is quite long, but so is my cutlass. ‘Tis long and sharp. I’d say it could dispense with your head in one swipe…possibly deux.” He sneered. “And don’t even think about shooting me. I am already dead.”
When negotiating doesn’t work, such as with ghost pirate, Captain Mignard, he’s ready to duel.
Lost in Translation
Most of the time, the ghost lets the Klopts find their own way out of sticky situations—at times because he can’t help given his ghostly restrictions. The French pirate’s warnings aren’t always crystal clear and are a constant source of frustration for Tommy and especially Connor.
“’Tis not what I desire, but what you desire that I bear news about.”
“Beware of the living, not the driftwood.”
“You can trick people into believing you are who you tell them you are.”
Connor sums up l’Olonnais in his own special way: “He’s a nut case, and we don’t need him screwing up our already screwed-up lives again.”
Captains Don’t See Eye to Eye
Hoody is not intimidated by l’Olonnais although the pirate used him as shark bait, lost him in a card game, and sent him on a one-way cruise to Iceland. L’Olonnais refers to Hoody as l’idiot. He uses threats, but they bounce off Hoody such as:
L’Olonnais’ nostrils flared, and he gritted his teeth. “Oui, I have my cutlass, and ‘tis sharp enough to cut your head off.” His dark eyes were intently fixed on Hoody.
Hoody remains mild-mannered and gets right to the point when he deals with the ghost:
Hoody shook his head. “Speaking of things that aren’t obvious, why are you back? You have your cutlass. Shouldn’t you be lounging around on your ship waiting to terrorize unsuspecting children?”
Pirates and Sea Witches Can’t Be Trusted
The sea witch Volange adds to the Klopts’ problems. She’s beautiful, spiteful and powerful, which makes l’Olonnais avoid her and Mignard sorry he ever crossed her. Volange turned Mignard’s redhaired girlfriend, Cosette, into a ship’s figurehead for 100 years.
Tommy strikes a bargain with the aqua-eyed sea witch to save Cosette, despite his disdain for Mignard. This actually pleases Volange, but it doesn’t mean she plays fair.
The sea witch grinned. “Yes, I will bring Cosette to life again. I promise.”
That guarantee definitely came with fine print. As Tommy learns, a deal is a deal no matter how screwed up it is. The deal with Volange sends the Klopts on their way to Scotland with Cosette. She may not be a ship’s figurehead, at least for the time being, but she’s not quite her normal self. The Klopts success in Scotland will determine her fate.