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A Meeting By Chance

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INT. GUTHRIE TAVERN – NIGHT

Chatter fills the tavern of the Guthrie’s. Drunken men stagger between tables. They order more drinks, sleep on the tables, or stare into space.

Unnoticed, a man – FLINT – enters. He strides over to the counter. Flint takes in the scene inside the tavern. Without looking at the bartender he orders rum. When the rum is served, he empties the cup in in one draft. Beside him a smaller man – GATES – chuckles.

                        GATES
              That bad?

Flint is not in the mood for conversation.

                        GATES (CONT’D)
              Had I seen you on the Walrus I’d
              understand. Yet here you stand
              looking like you spent too much
              time in that goddamn weather out
              there.

                        FLINT
              No offense, sir, but I’d prefer
              to be left in peace.

                        GATES
                   (scoffs)
              I’m no ‘sir’. Gates, Hal Gates,
              quartermaster of the Walrus.

Gates offers his hand to shake. Flint considers not taking it, but looking around the tavern he realises that to achieve his goals he will need help, a crew, and a ship.

                        FLINT
              Flint.

Gates orders another round of drink for them. He steers Flint away from the counter to a quieter corner of the tavern.

                        GATES
              New to Nassau?

Flint reacts non-committal without saying a word. He nurses his drink.

                        GATES
              You’re a sailor.

                        FLINT
                   (bitter)
              Not anymore. I was... relieved
              of my command.

                   GATES
              Your crew voted you out?

Flint looks at him in incomprehension.

                        FLINT
              No.

He lets his gaze wander around the tavern.

                        FLINT (CONT’D)
              The His Majesty’s Navy decided
              they’d be better off without me
              as lieutenant.

                        GATES
              And you came to Nassau of all
              places?

                        FLINT
              I was here. Three month ago as officer.

Gates is not sure what to think about Flint.

                        GATES
              You should know, Flint, that in
              Nassau there are only sinners,
              skilled sailors are rare, and profits
              are better than on any merchant ship.

                        FLINT
              Are... you trying to recruit me?

                        GATES
                   (rueful)
              Is it working?

Flint is amused.

                        FLINT
              You called your ship Walrus, was it?

                        GATES
              That she is. It’s a three-master.
              Must’ve seen her in the bay.

                        FLINT
              The one with the white skeleton holding an 
              hourglass and cutlass on the black.

                        GATES
              That’s her. Now, my crew has just
              voted the captain off the ship.
              And it got ugly enough to say that
              he won’t be coming back to reclaim
              captaincy.

                        FLINT
              What’s that got to do with me?

Gates takes in Flint fully. He leans closer in conspiracy.

                        GATES
              Well, you’ve been deprived of a
              ship. Have you not?

                        FLINT
              I’m no pirate, Mr Gates.

                        GATES
                   (chuckles)
              No one is born a pirate. We’re
               men who lost hope. You would
              fit right in.

Flint puts down his drink.

                        FLINT
              Even so. What makes you think
              they would consider someone they
              don’t know and who was part of their
              enemy not so long ago as their captain?

                        GATES
              I’m their quartermaster. I act in
              the interest of the crew.

Flint moves closer in interest.

                        FLINT
              What makes you think you can trust me?

                        GATES
              The fact that you haven’t raised
              the issue of payment once. And
              finding you in a place such as this,
              it tells me that you are desperate
              to return to the sea.

                        FLINT
              I’m aware how pirates operate.
              But not of their workings as a crew.

                        GATES
              For that, you have me.

                        FLINT
              It was you who initiated to get rid
              of your old captain.

                        GATES
                   (smirks)
              You’re sharp, Flint. You and I could
              make quite some pieces of eight.

                        FLINT
              You’ll get me on the Walrus?

Gates rises to his feet. Flints mirrors him. They shake hands.

                        GATES
              Welcome aboard the Walrus,
              Captain Flint.