The Rumbums of bumstickle
“PlumBum!” Queen Bellafattia sobbed.
“Put down yer food,” Belshaz commanded , and everyone obeyed. He thrust his hand into the air again, the moon a spotlight focused on PlumBum. “The queen’s pet, PlumBum, was writin’ with the chalk. She be so tiny that at first, none o’ us noticed her clinging to it,” he explained. “An’ PlumBum has somethin’ to tell us.” He read her message aloud.
Once he’d finished, PlumBum turned to Belshaz. She murmured something to him in the bubbly, gurgling language of the RumBums. Belshazarrrr nodded, translated her news into English, and addressed his mom. “Mum, PlumBum wants me to be tellin’ ye that she’s terribly sorry she ran off like that. She missed her family, so she went ‘n visited them. They live in th’ hold behind th’ barrels ‘o spiced rum.”
“Aw, my sweet PlumBum! Ye was lonely?” Bellafattia asked, rushing over to Belshazarrrr and taking the octopus from him. She snuggled PlumBum against her cheek before adding, “We’ll go an’ see yer family right now, if it pleases ye.”
PlumBum made a bubbly noise of agreement.
Everyone trooped below deck, carrying torches to light their way. They made their way to the rum barrels. The queen set PlumBum on the floor, waiting for her to call out her family.
“Gurgle gurgle gurgle!” PlumBum squeaked, and a second later, at least twenty tiny octopi squirmed out from behind the barrels.
PlumBum introduced the pirates to her family. Her mother, MumBum, was pale green and slightly larger than the rest. Then there was the twins, super-genius SumBum and surfer-octopus SomeBum. DrumBum was awfully noisy and drummed on everything; ChumBum was a social butterfly; CrumbBum liked cooking; DumbBum wasn’t that smart; GlumBum was always sad, GumBum was bubblegum pink; HumBum loved music; ScumBum was rather mean; StrumBum played the guitar; SwumBum was an excellent swimmer; ThumbBum was skin-colored, etc. PlumBum explained that her father had been eaten when she was just a baby.
The RumBum family begged the pirates to let them make spiced rum for the queen. They promised that it would be the best rum she had ever tasted. Bellafattia agreed, and the RumBums got to work.
Meanwhile, the pirates trudged back up to the deck and began to clean up the food that was splattered everywhere.
Queen Bellafattia rested in the crows nest, her husband and son on either side of her, and waited for her drink. Presently, the RumBums came scurrying up the mast with a mug filled with the finest rum in all of Bumstickle. They presented it to Bellafattia with a flourish.
Bellafattia took the mug from MumBum and raised it to her lips. She drank deeply, then raised it in a sloshing toast, hollering to the crew, “It’s good!”
The royal pirates and the RumBums all climbed down to the deck, and the octopi made drinks for everyone.
Word of the RumBum’s beverage got out, and soon pirates were coming from every corner of the quite round planet to take a sip of the famous rum. Queen Bellafattia would give each customer a few drops of the alcohol so that they could taste its awesomeness — then, if they wanted more (everyone wanted more), they’d have to pay. The men paid with any number of pirate-y booty: gleaming treasure, goods, even their own wives or ships. Everyone wanted a taste of Queen Bellafattia’s RumBum, as the drink was called.
King Hoochewooche and Queen Bellafattia became the richest and most famous pirates ever to sail on the sparkling sea of Bumstickle, and they lived happily ever after — until some of the wimpier seafarers formed a government and began executing pirates. (These politicians did, in fact, almost wipe out all of the planet’s human inhabitants, because practically everyone had committed some sort of crime: piracy, cannibalism, etc.)
But what about fiery-haired Belshaz and his dream to become an architect? He eventually gave up on that, because Bumstickle was mostly water anyway, so where would he be able to build his designs? He took up the ancient art of being a bard, and appeased his parents by becoming the ruthless pirate warlord Belshazarrrr the Belcher.
And to think, the pirates’ success all came from a family of tiny octopi!
The royal pirates and the RumBums all climbed down to the deck, and the octopi made drinks for everyone. After they had pranced around the deck for a while, enjoying their rum, the pirates began, one by one, to get horribly sick. Soon they were all stumbling to the rails and puking over the sides.
“What — was — in — that?” gasped McFarty.
MumBum waved her tentacles in the air and cackled. “Poison!” she shrieked.
Queen Bellafattia’s blue eyes filled with tears. She turned her devastated, betrayal-filled face toward the magenta octopus, who was hanging at the back of the crowd of sneering octopi. “PlumBum?” she whispered, her voice quivering.
PlumBum wouldn’t meet her eyes.
MumBum rubbed two tentacles together evilly. “The poison we put into your rum causes paralysis and vomiting. Once it takes hold of you, we will throw you overboard!”
Hoochewooche snorted. “An’ how are ye gonna lift us up, wee ones?”
ThumbBum flexed his tentacles, making the suckers bulge.
Within seconds, every single one of the rum-loving pirates was unable to move. ThumbBum and several of the stronger RumBums wriggled under each pirate, lifting them up with their tentacles. They staggered to the railing and rolled the pirates over the edge, cheering when they splashed into the water. The pirates, desperate not to drown, flipped onto their backs and floated.
With the crew gone, the RumBums took over the Sea Mama. They sprouted beards, strapped on eyepatches, and settled three-cornered hats on their teeny heads. The RumBums manned the ship, sailing the Bumstickle Sea and getting rid of certain unwanted people with their poisoned rum.
The fierce RumBums of Bumstickle lived happily ever after, and basically wiped out the entire human race.
Rum for all!
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