In the not so quiet pirate community of Blagery Dak (see "Black Friday Pirate Plunder" entry in the Musings area of Oompaul.com for more information), there were many, many characters of all sorts and shapes. Some with good (relatively speaking) hearts, some with cold ones. Some with hearts that may have looked like a chunk of ice if you had a peep window direct to it. This, however, is a story of a fellow with a warm heart. No Thumbs Tom.

 

Please don't confuse No Thumbs Tom with Tom Thumb from nursery songs or Barnum ventures. This is a very different character to be sure. No Thumbs Tom was a slender man who often wore striped socks with his knickers and went by many names. Here is a small collection of such appellations that I know of: No Thumbs Tom, Tommy no thumbs, Thumbless Walter Savage, Soots, Sooty, Sooty Tom, Tom Tom Tinker man of Narry a Thumb, Blagery Black Tom, Black hands Timmy, Black hands Tommy, Tom Soot, Sans Thumbs Tombo, Sans Tubs Toto, Jim Fish, Charred Handy, Ol'e eight fingers, Ol'e eight, Mister four and four, Timothy Charrington, Tom Char, Charred Bill, and I'm sure a few others.

 

Tom loved fishing and he loved his pipe. Many say they remember him as minuscule as 2 stone, perched on the beaches of Blagery Dak with pipe and pole. Garment stone likely more so than meat, but even so, just a bit of a lad, and already he was off to cast and puff. Many a sun blossomed out yon with Tom already fishing from the beach. Many a sun did sink in the drink the same way. After all, there was fishing to be done and tobacco to be made lit so there he would go each day to do his duty of each godly task.

 

So it's said that some strange looking fish began darting around the coasts of Blagery Dak one season when Tom was near 10 or 12 years on and still had his thumbs. A violet colored fish with a smear of rouge just under the lower lip. Tom, being more than a seasoned fisherman by this point, landed the very first two of these odd creatures and was excited to show them off to his family and as many other folks in Blagery Dak as did want to take a peek.

 

As is normal, once the fish were beached, Tom commenced to inserting his thumbs into the mouths of the manna, grasping the lower jaws with the remainder of his paws. And why not? It's the most natural thing in the green green world to do next to wetting the lower ends of standing timber when nature gives whisper. No sooner did young Tom begin running village way with the mauve and red wriggling scoundrels than they administered something akin to small fires in his thumbs by way of sharp plated rows of bottom teeth. What came next was a bit of howling followed by the strangest dance you might ever see with fish fastened to the dancer's bloody mitts, which then flowed easily into something like a sermon, as it lasted some time and was difficult to follow. Also if a sermon was chock full of very loud words (as I've heard they do in the confines of some of the smaller hovels of worship.)

 

Eventually poor Tom managed to loose the demons onto the sand as they flipped and flopped, looking as if they were self flouring on the Blagery Dak shore in preparation for some fish fry yet to be announced. His thumbs went from a fiery pain to something so horrible that only mothers and men with belly tattoos could ever truly comprehend.

 

Kneeling in the sand, Tom watched as his thumbs became detached from his body, quickly and simply as though magic were afoot. His pain was, at that moment, marvelously and completely gone. Gone as if it were never there. Gone like any decent person's earnings should they have a taxing government nearby. What's more, he stopped bleeding and felt quite well. By this time, a growing swell of onlookers had gathered to see what all the dancing and preaching was about. Moments after Tom's thumbs came in contact with the warm sands of Blagery Dak, the two vile pets of the devil himself managed to flop into the scene, locate and each consume one of poor Tom's thumbs as if they were nothing more than the smallest of hors d'oeuvres before a great meal at palace. Shrieks peppered the air along with an "Ewwwwwww" which was so spectacularly harmonious and in unison that it would give the most strict choral conductor one, two, possibly three tears due to it's perfection. 

 

As even pirate villages have men of the cloth, a clergy person nearby announced that these flopping purple people eaters were from this moment on and forever to be known as, "bad" and moreover to be, "avoided." With that bit of hard work out of the way, a rough and tumble gal by the name of Thalassa (Tally for short) snatched up the demon fish and casually walked them back from whence they came. Some heard tell that she whispered to each of them before tossing them back in, though I can't imagine why she would do such a thing.

 

Newly no thumbed Tom did not let this little, nay bizarre, incident stop him in this grand life. Even without thumbs, Tom kept fishing and went on to be the most favored chimney sweep in all of Blagery Dak. His thin stature certainly helped in this respect, but much more than that, the inhabitants of that small pirate community saw Tom as something like a partial martyr. Were it not for his accident, who's to say what horrible things might have happened if those violet and violent beasts  of Lucifer's fish bowl entered into the food stuffs, be they dried or fresh, or possibly trades, too, of the folk of Blagery Dak? Many a whispers have been volleyed about Tom being a bit of a saving grace standing up straight in flesh and bone. To say ol'e Tom was admired from that day on is an understatement to be sure.

 

So now you can see why I've made tampers in a sort of memoriam for good ol'e No Thumbs Tom. You'll notice the charred bamboo being the same likeness as would have been used for Tom's fishing pole. You'll also notice a fine brass tamp on one end and a blackened and thumbless porcelain arm on the other, just right for scooping snuff or clearing away the dregs of your pipe, should your pipe's bowl diameter be at least three quarters of an inch straight down. I leave you now with a little song that was made about our warm hearted, pipe smoking, chimney sweeping lad. No doubt you've heard it before though.

 

A piper from the first, a fisher from the start

No man had less thumbs, or bigger a heart.

Tom caught up the fish, that'd do us much harm,

Those demons were perse, and big as yer arm.

 

(chorus) He's why that I sings, he's why that I hums,

He's why that I puffs, though he's gots no more thumbs.

He saved ol'e Blag Dak, even saved all our mums,

He's Timmy Tim Tom black hands no thumbs!

 

T'was on the bare beach where Tom was attacked,

Two fish from the devil and that is a fact.

They bore down on Tommy and right towards the end

He screamed and he danced while they grinned.

 

(chorus) He's why that I sings, he's why that I hums,

He's why that I puffs, though he's gots no more thumbs.

He saved ol'e Blag Dak, even saved all our mums,

He's Timmy Tim Tom black hands no thumbs!

 

I wouldn't believe if I hadn't been there,

Those fish ate his thumbs without caution or care.

He stood straight up then without fuss or a gripe,

And started to puff on his pipe!

 

(chorus) He's why that I sings, he's why that I hums,

He's why that I puffs, though he's gots no more thumbs.

He saved ol'e Blag Dak, even saved all our mums,

He's Timmy Tim Tom black hands no thumbs!

 

 

Posted
AuthorOlie Sylvester