Pirates: A short story by David Lee Holcomb

The visitor wore cargo shorts two sizes too big, a Dallas Cowboys t-shirt, grimy canvas deck shoes, and a blond ponytail.

“No, ma’am,” he said. “I don’t have a library card. I’m a pirate.”

Kellie Lovell didn’t bat an eyelash. Situations like this came with her job.

“In that case, you won’t be able to take any materials out of the building.”

The man smiled. He was missing a tooth on the left side, lower jaw.

“Yes, ma’am. I understand. Where I’m staying, I don’t have much room for books.”

The librarian nodded. She assumed that the visitor was living in one of two nearby facilities, a homeless shelter and an assisted-living center, which together provided a number of unusual library visitors every week.

“Tell me again the name of the ship?”

“It’s the Bountiful Bess,” the visitor said. “She was the Battling Bess, but me and my friends, we changed the name. We didn’t want to give the wrong impression.”

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