The Black Joke
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The Black Joke is a rousing sea story in the tradition of the great classic pirate tales. The time is the 1930s. The loot is bootleg liquor, not pirate gold. And the ship is the “Black Joke,” the speediest, nimblest craft on the Newfoundland coast – Jonathon Spence, owner and master. An unwelcome passenger enmeshes the boat and her crew (young Peter and Kye) in danger and near destruction…until the fiercely independent people of the island of Miquelon are caught up in the fate of the “Black Joke” and the cargo aboard her.
From the eBook edition.
not much brawn, ye do all right,” he said, smiling. “Give me a month or two, and I’ll make sailors out of ye…or else.” Kye and Peter caught each other’s glance. Neither would have admitted it, but they were as pleased as only two boys can be who have been told they can do a man’s job and do it well. 4 Encounter with a Salmon TUCKED snugly in their bunks, with the water lapping against the vessel’s planks to quiet them after the day’s excitement, the boys slept right through the early
channel in this kind of weather.” “There’ll be no need to anchor, sorr. The breeze is haulin’ northerly right now. By the time we stands in under the land she’ll have blowed clear; or pretty nigh it anyway.” Barnes said no more, but his mind was busy. The fog might very well crimp his plans if it remained so thick that Black Joke could approach St. Pierre’s harbor unobserved. On the other hand, a little fog would serve as a useful mask for what was planned. And much as he disliked Jonathan
move by trying to swing back to starboard, the master of the motor ship had slowed his engines to quarter speed and had deliberately run under the Black Joke’s bow so that the schooner struck a glancing blow just abaft the rum-runner’s wheelhouse. It was neatly done. The motorboat skipper had calculated the angle of impact to a nicety, so that his ship would take no serious damage. Black Joke swept along the rum-runner’s port quarter aft. The schooner’s anchor, catted out over her bow, caught on
to the mouth of the inner harbor in short order. Once clear of the harbor piers, Jonathan and Kye would come back aboard and the engine would be started. It was probable that no one ashore would notice the sound of the engine but, if they did, they would think it was only a motor dory bound out early for the fishing grounds. In any event, by the time an alarm was given and a crew could be found to man a vessel in pursuit, Black Joke ought to be safe outside the three-mile territorial waters of
just what we’ll do–only we won’t try for Fortune tonight, for they’d be sure to spot us and take us at dawn. We’ll row to Colombier and hide till there comes a fog–and that won’t be long, not in these waters. Then we can make for Fortune. By that time they Frenchies’ll have give up lookin’ for we. With a bit of luck and not too much stiff weather, we can make safe harbor in ten or fifteen hours even if we ain’t lucky enough to git picked up by a schooner partway over.” The old accustomed