"When's your birth day, Gibbs?" Marty asked.
"My birth day?" From his station at the helm, Gibbs glanced up into the
rigging; the wind had shifted slightly and he adjusted the rudder
accordingly. The breeze was stiff enough to tug wisps of his hair loose from
the band that held it. It might be termed a chill day, by Caribbean
standards. Brisk. T'was a fortunate thing, given the circumstances. Helped
hide their tracks, blowing the incriminating scent far away. "M'not certain
sure. Know I was bairned in the springtide. Mum said t'was St. Egbert's day,
but there's two St. Egberts in April. She weren't clear as to which one it
Marty examined the lines he was splicing with deep intent, then murmured,
"So you was named for your saint?"
"Aye, St. Martin the Pope. Though truth be told, I thought I was named for
the island where Maman bore me, 'til long after I was a lad in breeches and
"Was your people devout?"
"They was, once. The Sun King burnt 'em out for it; Huguenot. Leastwise,
'til I was born. Then, Maman's faith sort of shriveled up an' blew 'way in
"Mine's not been the same since me own Mum passed," Gibbs sighed. "It's
women what keep the faith, and if they ain't the ones keepin', often as not,
God's remembry's not kept."
"I think God's just cruel, is what." Marty's voice only held a small trace
of bitterness. He'd had long years in which to grow accustomed, and now he'd
lived to see another year. Thirty. They'd never have believed it, back
"That'd be fair. Seein' as how Man's made in His Image, an' all," Gibbs
smiled down at him. "'Appy birthday, Martin. May ye have the joy of yer
"You're the first to wish me so in many years, Gibbs," Marty gave him a
companionable shove, and went to climb to the foretop, and ponder on his
life's years. Gibbs watched as the ratlines swayed and Marty's form grew
smaller still, aloft. Then Gibbs signaled Anamaria with a curt nod.
"Pssst. Cotton." Anamaria crouched over the hatchway down to the galley. "Is
the pudding nearly ready?"
"God rest ye merry gentlemen!" squawked Cotton's parrot.
Anamaria stood and strode to the captain's quarters, giving the door a sharp
rap. "All is in readiness, Captain Sparrow."
Jack enjoyed throwing surprise parties.