Pirates of Room 303

When I was a student at UCLA, Apartment 303 was situated above my makeshift hovel. The tenants of Apartment 303 kept mainly to themselves, but once in a while, piratical noises would escape from the ceiling above my bedroom. There were the occasional “arghs” and the heavy scuffling of feet. What were they doing? Playing pirates at this time of night! Let’s just hope they were watching Pirates of the Caribbean with surround sound and not trying to capture the fortress during my bedtime.

In their window, a black flag with skull and crossbones discouraged the friendly visitor. Definitely pirates.

Apparently, the Pirates of Room 303 must have swashbuckled their way into my subconscious because I found myself reading a vast array of pirate literature around this trying time. God forbid I should sleep! Not with the battle roar of Captain Blood disturbing my slumber.

David Cordingly’s Under the Black Flag: The Romance and Reality of Life Among the Pirates provided me with the nitty gritty details of pirate living. If memory serves me right, there’s even a chapter aptly titled “Sodomy on the High Seas.” Now if I can only put my finger on what Apartment 303 were up to…

Along came Richard Zacks’ The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kiddthe tall tale about a real-life sea hawk in the same buccaneering league as Errol Flynn.
Captain Kidd was never personally involved in the mass sodomy incident that took place within a lonely Moroccan prison; Zacks just felt compelled to take this detour for the readers’ benefit. Did it benefit me? You bet the feather in your cap it did! I think my life is a little bit more complete now that I have that image circulating in my mind. Thank you Mr. Zacks.

Afterward, I longed for the Treasure Island brand of pirate lore. Whatever happened to the simpler times of swinging upon the rigging, gold bullion, and talking parrots? Fortuntely, I stumbled upon a picture book: Sara Lorimer’s Booty: Girl Pirates on the High Seas. This unadulterated collection of girl-kick-butt watercolors more closely resembled the Robert Louis Stevensonesque romance of my youth. Maybe this will help me cope with the rabid sea dogs over my head.

Did I ever meet the Pirates of Room 303? I can’t say I’ve had the pleasure. After a year’s worth of piratical reading, I’ve learned to live with the battle cries of my strange neighbors as they pivot and thrust their way into the night.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have my fingers crossed in hopes that they were members of the UCLA fencing club…



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