Friday, September 20, 2013

My Double Life and Why it Rocks by Jenn Wallace

Have you ever wanted a double life? A “normal one,” and then another where you're a rock star, a top-secret spy, or something else fun and highly dangerous? Ever wonder what it'd REALLY be like?

...Yeah, it's pretty awesome.

Don't get too excited. I work in an after school program. I'm married and I have two kids. I'm in my late twenties, and I like writing and reading books. I sound kinda boring, right?

But on Sundays, I'm a pirate.

Yes, you read that correctly. I'm a weekend pirate. I dress up and sword fight and knock people off buildings. I scream in people's faces and talk about rum and swing off ropes. Sometimes I shoot a gun, but most of the time my crew does that for me.

See, over the weekend, I transform into Captain Morgan. (Yeah, I know, I'm a chick... I'm the daughter of the Captain Morgan you're thinking of, and if a particular pose is coming to mind, yes, I do that too.) It's a free stunt show at Parrish Ranch in Oak Glen (not far from where I live), and I volunteer my time to contribute to the show because it's fun and I get to do the show alongside my husband, who plays Eli Storm. The shows are every Sunday at 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm, from now until the first week of December.

I haven't always been involved with this show... in fact, I first heard of it when I got a writing job for a local magazine. That day, I was totally impressed. So was my husband. So much so, in fact, that he asked if he could be a pirate too (so he was actually the first of the two of us who got involved with it). The day we went to see it, I realized the show went by far quicker than I'd expected. When I spoke to Harley (the head of True West Stunt Team, who puts on the shows) in an interview, he explained that he left the story open to the audience's interpretation, and free from too many details, to allow the viewer to come to their own conclusions about how the events came to pass. My boss at the magazine then allowed me to write a “prequel” of sorts for the show, which is what I did. I figured some of you piratey people would like to read it, so here it is:

“Fine work of craftsmanship,” Captain Morgan muttered under his breath as he stared at the expanse of water before him. He spent much of his life searching for what he now had in his hands, but was eerily troubled. A tempest was brewing, and it appropriately reflected his state of mind. He had grown up hearing stories of pirates, and decided to become one himself. When a ship landed on shore, and a boy his own age along with it, he had jumped at his chance. He left the rules that threatened to stifle his boyish ambition and replaced them with a new friend in Cutter and a carefree lifestyle. “Every man is his own master,” Cutter used to tell him.

As they grew, Morgan and Cutter became captains of their own ships, and it seemed they'd each finally accomplished a pirate's dream. Sure, Cutter had always given him a hard time for being “raised right” and slow to act in anger, laughing when he decided to write up a “Pirate's Code”, but they never really conflicted with one another. Even so, Cutter would shake his head at his friend's forgiving ways and felt compelled to offer an, “I'd have killed him” regarding the life Morgan had spared. The two had a mutual respect, and as much as Morgan disagreed with Cutter's harshness with his crew, Morgan decided it was best to keep quiet about it. After all, Cutter's way of doing things couldn't affect Morgan. At least, it hadn't so far, but this would be the true test of their friendship, and Morgan wasn't sure what the outcome would be.

The King had issued a proclamation: that whoever could find and bring Neptune's trident to him would earn his weight in gold and become his Majesty's personal privateer. Cutter perked up at the mention of the trident, but not because of the King's offer. To Cutter, it was foolish to chase after a trident for a King when all of its glory and power could be instead kept for himself. He had it in his mind that he would raise every pirate ship for its gold, making him the richest and most well-known pirate alive. Nothing motivated Cutter like gold, and that's what made Morgan nervous.

The two Captains set off in different directions for the trident, and each had a different purpose in mind. Morgan actually liked the idea of being the King's privateer. He was getting older and had mellowed a little with age. He also had a young daughter to consider, who he loved and wanted to take care of. Being a pirate was a wild way of life, and the idea of having another option where he could still do what he loved, yet be “official” was very appealing to him. Fighting, running, and too much rum were fun for a while, but there comes a time in a man's life when he tires of those things. Morgan was tired, and he needed something new.

Captain Morgan made port, and took care of some business while he was there. Word got out that he had the trident, and he chose to hide it with his greatest treasure (Skye Morgan, his daughter). Captain Morgan knew that it would just be a matter of time before people came searching for it.  The moment came sooner than expected, and he found himself face to face with Captain Cutter.

“I hear ye have the trident,” Cutter remarked.

“Aye,” answered Morgan.

“That gold is as good as mine, then.” Cutter dared Morgan to defy him.

“Nay,” Morgan said, “It be for the King, to do whatever he desires with.”

“Ah, so you're the King's little beggar now, are ye? You always were one for the rules. I'm offerin' ya a choice: the trident or your life.” Cutter drew his sword.

With determination in his eyes, Morgan drew his. The fight was long and grueling, with both men suffering his share of battle wounds. The night drew on, and it found Captain Morgan on the floor at the hands of Cutter. As he panted for breath, his raspy, dying words were, “You'll never find it.” Cutter screamed in frustration as he took Captain Morgan's life. The trident became his obsession. It consumed his thoughts and fueled his anger.

“I'll find that trident,” vowed Cutter, “if I have to search the ends of the earth, it will be mine!”

Spoiler alert to anyone who sees the show: Captain Morgan's daughter (who also goes by Captain Morgan) is not too fond of Cutter. Now you know why. 

So if you're anywhere in the area (especially if you like apples – did I mention it's apple season?), you should totally catch a show. We have all kinds of new additions to the show, including a “ghost ship” and a house that looks like Tia Dalma's. We have started a pirate band, and we have some little jokes and references you won't want to miss... fun for the whole family!

True West Stunt Team: Pirates at Parrish Ranch
38561 Oak Glen Rd
Yucaipa, CA 92399
Showtimes: Every Sunday at 12 pm and 2 pm
Cost: FREE!

Check us out on facebook and youtube:

Find out more about Jenn Wallace at her blog Writer's Toybox.

Have ye entered yet to win one of the fabulous grand prize Pirate Swag Packs? No? Then enter using the Rafflecopter form below!

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This post be part of The Talk Like a Pirate Event

***Also thank you to Zack over at Raven Tree Designs for the awesome buttons!***


  1. This sounds like so much fun, and it's great that you get to share a hobby with your husband. Keep up that pirate life! :-)

    1. It IS fun! I totally forgot to mention, too, that the guy who runs the place was a stunt double for Johnny Depp in the first two "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. :) He's got a shot of him all dressed as Jack Sparrow, and lots of other cool stuff. :D

  2. What a fun hobby! That would be great to see.

    1. If you live in SoCal (or plan to visit), feel free to stop by! It's going until December! :D