If your idea of a pirate is a gnarled reprobate with a big beard, an earring, a skewed hat and a cutless clamped between his teeth, you have obviously never had the pleasure of an introduction to me.
Jacquotte Delahaye is the name on my birth certificate, but you can call me ‘back from the dead red’. And I’ll tell you how I earned that name.
A good pirate inspires legends and a female pirate is a legend the moment she sets foot on a ship.
I was born on Haiti; my mother a native of that place, my father a Frenchman and the source of my famous red hair. My mother died in childbirth and it became my job to look after my brother who was not quite capable of looking after himself.
I suppose at that time life seemed straightforward. I would care for my brother and inherit the little my father had. Marriage held no charms for me.
Then my father was murdered. I hunted down the man who did it and in my ladylike gloves, with my hair pinned up all nice and neat, I killed him. And that was the first time I ever acted outside the law; after that there was no stopping me.
If you are not disquieted by morals, piracy is an excellent way to live. And, oh, it’s a free life. If I’d stayed ashore, I would have had to marry or die in spinsterous poverty. I never looked back, not once.
Not even when it all went wrong. When I was pursued by good and bad men, parted from my ship and run ashore with the law at my heels.
To escape I put around word of my death and abandoned being a woman altogether. I lived as a man in trousers and short hair, free as a bird and the happiest I’ve ever been.
But all good things come to an end and posing as a casual labourer in a small town is nowhere near as lucrative as seabound robbery. Or as adventurous.
So, to my old crew’s great surprise, I made my comeback. Back from the dead red, my flaming tresses sighted on a ship’s deck more terrifying than any jolly roger.