Chuck Wendig: The Pirate King of Pre-K

This week’s Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction Challenge is called, F**k You, That’s What.  Simply put, the assignment is to defy authority in 1,000 words or less.  I used 987.  I wanted to have fun with it instead of being angry and nihilistic.  I thought about it and decided that pirates were all about chaos and rebellion and would fit the theme nicely.  Since I’ve only ever seen the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, I decided to do pirates my way instead.  I hope it works for you as well.  Please to enjoy.


Miss Kimmy checked the timer on her phone.  Two minutes left and counting.  She had started the timer when she brought the kids outside for recess.  25 minutes of playing, then back inside for snacks and a nap, if they weren’t too wound up.  Maybe she’d put in a DVD instead.  Frozen, perhaps, or Zootopia.  That was one of the new ones that they all seemed to love.

She saw that Jamey, Todd, and Melody were in the tower at the very top of the playfort.  Jamey was shouting something she couldn’t quite make out.  She smiled.  She knew that tower was Jamey’s favorite place because it was made to look like the bridge of a ship.  There were portholes, a ship’s wheel, even a Jolly Roger flag flying from the top of the tower.  The boy was a handful, but he did have an active imagination.  She wondered who he was today, what adventures he was having.

The rest of the playground was chaos, twenty-five four year olds tearing around, shrieking, laughing, playing all sorts of games.  They swarmed the bottom levels of the playfort, climbing the ladders, scrambling across the monkey bars, going down the slides—“Colin!” she shouted.  “Feet first next time!”  She shook her head.  She had almost missed that one.  These kids were quick!

Not for the first time she wished she had an assistant teacher like the toddlers did.  She kept asking.  They kept telling her there wasn’t room for it in the pre-k budget since their state funding had been cut.  She sighed, and considered again applying at Dolly’s, the private daycare down the road.  No problems with funding there.

The timer reached zero.  The alert tone sounded.  “That’s it!  Everyone line up to go in!” Miss Kimmy called.


Jamey the Pirate King stood on the command deck of the Recess, surveying his domain, pointing and calling out directions in his best pirate voice.  Todd the Pirate Prince sat at his feet, his hands gripping the wheel mounted to the rail, turning it to follow Jamey’s calls.  Melody the Very Nice Princess sat beside Todd, staring forlornly out through a porthole, unable to move because she had been captured by the pirates and was being held prisoner.

They heard the alert tone sound and Miss Kimmy call them to line up.  Melody stood up.  “Where d’ye think ye’re goin?” Jamey drawled, in his best pirate accent.

“Arrrrr!” added Todd.

“We have to line up and go in,” she said.

“I’m the Pirate King,” said Jamey, “and I say we’re not goin’ anywhere!  Sit back down!”

“Arrrrr!” added Todd.

Melody looked uncertainly towards the door, where a few other kids were starting to line up.

Jamey shouted now, loud enough to be heard by all the children across the entire playground.  “The Pirate King isn’t going inside!  If ye’re loyal crew, get back to yer posts!”


Miss Kimmy groaned.  Oh, not again.  Jamey did this every now and then.  Several children had already lined up at the door, but those still heading towards her slowed, looking to see what she would do.  A couple of the students in line took a step toward the playground.  “Uh-uh,” she grunted.  “Don’t even think about it.”  They froze.

She waited to see what Jamey did next.  Usually he’d call two or three more course changes then head into port.  He looked over and caught her eye.  Then he grinned.  “Take her out to sea, Mister Todd!” he shouted.  He pointed toward the parking lot on the other side of the fence.  “That way!”  With that, the rest of the class scattered, a few staying in line, the rest heading back out onto the playground.

Miss Kimmy sighed.  It was going to be one of those days, then.  She was definitely sending her resume to Dolly’s.  She stalked out onto the playground, heading for the playfort.


Jamey saw her coming.  “A sea monster!” he shouted.  “Quick, Mister Todd, bring her to starboard!”  Todd’s arms pumped for all he was worth.  Melody considered making a break for it while Jamey was distracted.  A moment later, she did, leaping to her feet and heading for the nearest slide.

“The prisoner is escaping, Cap’n,” called Todd.

“Let her go,” said Jamey.  “We have a monster to worry about!”

“It’s a big one, sir!” said Todd.

Miss Kimmy was tall enough to see into the tower as she walked towards it.  She called out to the two pirates as she tried to herd the other children back to the door.  “Time to go in,” she said, and jerked her head in the direction of the building.

“I can’t do it any more, Cap’n,” said Todd, as the sea monster roared at them from a distance and he left the wheel, bolting for the same slide Melody had just gone down.

All the kids were in line now, except for Jamey.


Jamey the Pirate King stood alone on his bridge, the wheel spinning uselessly, the monster looming as it got closer.  He could feel the ship begin to rock as the waves of the monster’s approach struck its timbers.  He gritted his teeth.  He wasn’t going to go down without a fight.

He clambered up onto the railing of the ship.  The monster’s eyes widened and it increased the speed of its approach, its hands out in front of it as if to catch him and hold him.  Jamey wobbled for a long moment, arms pinwheeling, then caught his balance and did what he had seen his brother do to their mother last week, heedless of the fact that his brother was still grounded for doing it.

He showed the monster both of his middle fingers.

The monster stopped and gaped in astonishment.  Jamey the Pirate King took full advantage, leaping out from the railing towards the waiting monster, teeth bared, bellowing his defiance into the teeth of the wind.


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