After The Sydney Opera House Gig.
As the lights went down the crowd went wild, the band taking their bows.
‘Wow, that was the best gig we’ve ever had!’ said the Events Manager as the band walked off stage.
‘What did you expect?’ said Bad Brad, as he grabbed a bottle of water from a table backstage.
Out in the audience, over the applause, the chant had already gone up, ‘Encore, encore, encore!’
The Captain was smiling, leaning back in a chair, swigging some water as well.
‘You reckon that fool writer will be alright on his own?’ asked the Doctor.
‘Who?’ said the Captain, ‘oh, yes, him, he’ll be fine, at least he better be!’ he said, winking at the Doctor.
After a quick refreshment, the Beer and Flies band went back on stage, to blast out an hour long encore of B-sides to the adoring fans.
Back on board the ship I was pacing around, periodically staring through the telescope at the Sydney Opera House. Out of curiosity I had ungagged the Mayor, mainly to get a sense of how seriously he took being taken hostage, but also for the light entertainment of his rambling threats which lit up the night with expletives.
‘Yes, yes,’ I said, patting the Mayor on the head, ‘good boy.’
Already, he had become quite familiar, almost like a badly trained dog, I thought, as I tossed some shrimp from the barbecue onto the steel floor for him.
‘You’ll pay for this!’ he cursed, as he wriggled around, licking the freshly cooked shrimp off the deck of the ship.
‘I’m not so sure,’ I said, scrolling through the photographs on his phone, ‘Is this your wife here, or your secretary?’
‘How dare you look at my photos!’ spluttered the Mayor.
‘Touche, old boy, but don’t you have teams of people monitoring the photos of your citizens? A bit rich, I’d say!’ I said, laughing, and showing the phone screen to the Mayor.
His face went red as he saw the image of himself dressed in women’s lingerie with his secretary…
‘Well, well, well,’ I said, ‘maybe you’ll be paying me?’ trying to contain my laughter.
The Mayor looked up at me, furious and fearful.
‘Don’t worry,’ I said, ‘I’m not the litigious type, but your wife, now that’s another matter, how do we send an image on this phone?’
‘What… do… you… what do you mean!’ hissed the Mayor.
‘Your wife, Lord Mayor,’ I said calmly, beginning to enjoy my role as hostage taker, ‘she might appreciate some of these photos, what do you think?’
‘Okay,’ said the Mayor drily, ‘what do you want?’
‘Free passage out of Australian waters.’ I replied.
There was a moment’s pause.
‘Okay, I guarantee you free passage.’ replied the Mayor.
‘Not just me, Mayor, the whole crew, and this vessel.’
‘Okay,’ said the Mayor, fuming in his ropes.
I sat back down, still scrolling through the images on the phone.
‘Quite a collection here!’ I said to the Mayor.
‘When are you going to let me go?’ asked the Mayor.
‘That’s not up to me, but I’ll put a good word in to the Captain, since you’ve been so well behaved. Anyway,’ I continued, ‘I’m rather enjoying this whole hostage situation, kind of like reverse Stockholm syndrome!’ I said, laughing at my own joke.
‘Reverse what!’ said the Mayor.
‘Oh, never mind,’ I said, turning up the volume on the radio, ‘sounds like the band is doing an encore, not bad hey?’
The Mayor just squirmed in his ropes as the music kicked out across the open harbor.
Back on shore the crowd were thronging around the band as they made their way out of the Opera House.
‘Right,’ said the Captain, ‘anyone for a night out with the natives?’
‘Me!’ said Jay, a local gripping him by the arm.
‘Okay boys,’ said the Captain, ‘you have yourselves a fine time after a good night’s work. Doctor?’ he went on, looking over his shoulder, ‘we better make sure that fool hasn’t sunk the ship.’
‘Aye, aye!’ replied the Doctor, saluting the jostling crowd, then he clicked his fingers theatrically in the air, ‘but we’ll need a ride to the shore Captain!’
‘Okay, boys, and girl, we depart at 6 am, anyone not on board will have to catch up!’ shouted the Captain, over the roar of the crowd.
The rest of the band disappeared into the crowd of fans while the Captain and the Doctor walked down the steps of the Opera House.
As the Doctor and the Captain sat in the back of the black limo, the Doctor leaned forwards, opening the door to the mini bar fridge, ‘Drink?’
‘Yes, please,’ said the Captain, looking distractedly out the window.
‘What’s wrong Sir?’ asked the Doctor, handing the Captain a Bloody Mary.
‘Oh, nothing, just remembering the first time I was here, years ago now.’
‘You look positively wistful,’ said the Doctor, sipping on his Martini.
‘I might just be,’ said the Captain, ‘I might just be!’
‘Are you planning on leaving me hanging?’ asked the Doctor, with a twinkle in his eye.
‘Well,’ said the Captain, ‘when you’ve birthed in as many shores as I have, you do tend to stray into the territory of wistfulness on occasion.’
‘Understood,’ said the Doctor.