One bright, shiny day, Bob was skipping merrily along the dandelion-lined dirt road, joyful after a successful night of pillaging. "Arr," he said for no reason but the joy of hearing himself speak. He decided he liked it very much, and said "Arr" again, with a swipe of his sword for good measure. Suddenly, Bob came to a halt, sniffing at the air. He looked from side to side and, satisfied that no grown-up was watching, plucked a juicy apple from Farmer Frank's tree. He took a bite and spat out a worm, knowing that his teeth were good and black like a proper pirate's are. But something was awry.

He hurried along the path, anxious to get home as an ominous feeling of dread gripped his dark heart. After what was only a moment but felt like hours, he arrived at 327 Merrydale Lane. Without pausing to unlock the door, he burst through into the parlor and ran around the house wildly, crazed and restless like a caged animal.

But then he spotted it!-One of his laced curtains was slightly awry. Bob snarled. He knew who had done this. Carl. He spat as he thought the name of his arch-foe, that scoundrel. He would surely pay for this outrage!

Bob stormed out the still-lying-on-the-floor door, revenge locked within his heart, when, lo and behold, who should he come across but the hateful Carl!

"Carl!" he hissed despite not articulating any s's with which to hiss.

Carl waved, smiling but standing strong.

Ignoring the smile that tugged upon his own lips, Bob frowned. "Carl, you-you-you-"

"Yes?" Carl said sweetly, turning to Bob.

Everything in Bob's mind clicked into place just in time to grind to a halt. "You're a woman!"

Slightly annoyed, Carl answered, "Yes, Bob, 'Carl' is a nickname for 'Carlotta.' I've been saying that every day since we met in third grade."

Stunned, Bob proclaimed, "We must be wed immediately!"

"Why?"

"I dunno, it's just what we do. Pirate meets boy, pirate hates boy, boy is a girl, and pirate and girl fall in love."

Carl pondered this for a moment. "Okay."

So it came to pass that Bob and Carlotta were married. Fortunately, Bob's pirating and gambling habits paid off, and Carl was able to receive a pirate ship as a gift on her wedding day. They continued pirating until they were old and grey.

THE END