He seemed receptive to the idea.
I never like business over beer but Jack insisted. And investers get to call home field advantage for the pitch. Jack was also predisposed to the upper abdomen, generally, and our wench had the sort of bosom that starts a fight. Unsurprisingly, the hypocrite was a regular here.
Teetotaler or not, he likes to start with three glasses worth of his latest plan. In this case, he had some notion of succulent turnips in the West Indies, or somesuch. If his money hadn’t spoken for his ability time and time again he’d be a Very lonely drunkard.
I’d finally warmed him up to
3) Me (crucial)
4) 74% (est.) return
5) three ships
6) 800 men
when some mick caused a fuss. Our beer wench, overdue for round 4, stood just outside the make-shift arena, rimmed by drunkards not accustomed to action this early. A Very large tar was pummeling the mick’s lower abdomen. The mick was pulling mightily on the tar’s pigtale, but his punches to the skull were falling on (it seemed) sheer rock.
Jack turned to me: “I think that’s the aspiring Irishman from last night. I mean, already irish but with ambitions.”
I had hoped to ignore the whole thing. Tars with half an ear are, generally, worth evading completely. Also, Jack was warming to my plan and I didn’t want his attention to wander.
The tar’s nose confirmed he was not a stranger to brawls. It took a route more circuitous than I would have thought possible between his nostrils and his eyes. Had we had the leisure of an India journey together I would have asked him to pose for me. Evelyn could have spent pages on it.
The mick was no match for the tar’s lower deck manners. Blood now poured from his nose as he hoisted, ineffectually, a bar stool. I was still marveling at the ear. Missing body parts still strike me awful, despite 24 cumulative months at sea, and I pitied the poor Irishman his temper.
I tried to remain focused.
“The raj is on our side…at the moment. And he’s not stupid. The Dutchman has made offers, and Indian loyalty is a beast apart from that of AngloSaxons. It’s only a matter of time before his patience wears thin.”
But Jack was on his feet and already aiming to split ‘em, my words less effective even than the poor micks blows. I’ve never known a blackheart more conciliatory. Violence isn’t good for business, je suppose, and it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen him score a deal out of a brawl.
I noted my spot in my pitch, between points 6&7, tugged at my chaemera's tooth for courage, and followed Jack towards the bar on another errand of mercy.