Icarus Archibald Redbeard III – By Sarah O’Connell



My name is Icarus Archibald Redbeard III.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a pirate.

Not an ordinary pirate though, like Bluebeard or Jack Sparrow. I’ve never stolen a treasure chest or ordered someone to “Walk the plank!” In fact, due to the bad economy, I don’t even have a boat to sail the six seas with, let alone a plank to push people off of. You have to make the best of what you got, however, so I try not to complain.

After all, compared to how the ninja industry is suffering, the income made from being a pirate could be a lot worse.

But I’m pre-vari-o-cating. This isn’t a story about my economic problems or why pirates are way cooler than ninjas. Rather, this is a story much deeper than that.

It’s my name story.

I wasn’t born with the name Icarus, but it’s been my name for so long now that I can hardly remember the name my mom gave me. What I do remember is the torrent the other children gave me at school, which only fueled my desire to be free from my parents’ tyrannical reign and the cruel claws of society that restricted me. Yet even in my darkest moments, when it seemed like nothing would ever make me whole again, I knew I would come out on top. My parents, the town – none of them knew what I knew. They were so blind, so ignoramus of what I had long figured out:

I was born to be a book marauderer.

Okay, it wasn’t my first choice of a job, but since high seas pirating was both illegal and expensive, I had to think on the spot. And what better way to put my marauderering skills to work than by taking books?

People don’t like books. They think they’re boring and long and, worst of all, time-grabbing. And yeah, all of these things are true. But that’s why I like them. In books, a reader can lose themselves in the characters and really feel like they’re a part of that world. They can get so into it that they even bring a tiny bit of that world back with them and make it their own. That’s what I did, at least. Icarus was a really awesome dude who made a dumb mistake and flew too high, but because I took his name, he lives on through me. It’s the same with the rest of my name. Archibald is the full name of Archie Andrews, the coolest comic book character ever! So you see? It all makes sense.

Oh. And Redbeard doesn’t have any specific meaning. I just think it’s a really imitating pirate name.

That’s what’s so unique about my name story. No one gave me my name – I invented it. I made myself who I am. And that’s what makes me a true book marauderer. Because in order to be a book marauderer, you have to be able to think on your toes. People may not like books, but stealing them isn’t easy. Especially when the books are huge, like Harry Potter or The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. You need to have really thick sweaters or large satchels in order to get away with those, because enemies – they’re everywhere. And they come from all walks of life, too. Short, tall, fat, skinny, ginger, blond. The only way to survive this crazy battlefield we call “life” is to have Constant Vigilance!

My name is Icarus Archibald Redbeard III. I’m a professional book marauderer. I don’t fight monsters on the six seas, but my enemies are always out there. If you want to have a job like mine, you’ve got to be careful. Knowledge is power, as the famous song goes. And if you’re not careful, then threats like supervillains, and rappers, and even other book marauderers will –

Timmy! For the love of Christ, if I have to call your name one more time – !”

A mournful sigh issued from small, pert lips as a tiny boy peered up from his lead-smudged notebook. “What, mom?” he implored, his voice lined with the impatience only found in the youthful and impertinent.

Loud heels clicked and reverberated against linoleum flooring as a graying head of hair emerged from the other room. “Watch it,” the head warned, tone low with implications of time-outs and TV restrictions should the order not be adhered. “I don’t like your tone, young man.”

It was an odd sight to behold. A head, seemingly floating in the air, the body concealed by the large maple doors, staring off at the compact body huddled on the floor – the body, in turn, frowning petulantly as it fiddled with a stack of crayons. It wasn’t exactly a pirate duel, but the atmosphere was no less tense for the lack of it.

The head caved first, as it nearly always did. “Please don’t start,” the head said wearily, resignation setting in. “If we don’t leave now – ”

“But I’m not done yet!” blurted the boy, his shaggy hair falling in front of his eyes and obscuring them from discernible view. “I haven’t even go to the best part– !”

“Are you listening to me at all?” the head moaned, finally opening the door all the way. Standing under the wooden frame was a tired woman. She was pale and fatigued with a sort of rippable quality to her papery skin, but her eyes belied the amusement ensconced within her chest. “The library’s going to close in eleven minutes.”

The boy frowned, blue eyes staring at his mother accusingly. “You said you’re off today,” he pointed out, betrayal seeping into his tone.

Counting to five in her head, the woman let out a deep, calming breath. Dealing with her son was sort of like dealing with a wild raccoon trying to attack you. You knew you had to do something to get it to calm down, but if you made one wrong move it would lunge. And who knew what kind of diseases it carried? “I am off,” she replied, sending her son, Timmy, a look, “but if we don’t hurry up and get to the library, your books are going to be overdue again.”

Timmy was outraged. “They’re mine!” he yelled, standing up as crayons scattered haphazardly all over the room floor. “I stole ‘em fair and square!”

Advil, his mother thought, forlornly, where the hell did I leave the Advil? “For the last time, you’re not a – is that my writing notebook? Timmy!” she growled.

Huffing, the boy crossed one arm over his stomach while the other rested under his chin. Timmy was fond of wild gestures and dramatic poses. “I needed it,” he whined.

“Well ask next time, that has – oh, nevermind.” The woman sighed, knowing it was a losing battle. “Just…hurry up and get in the car, ok? I’ll be waiting outside.”

As his mother exited the house, Timmy let out a huff and plopped back down on the floor. Staring determinedly at the school assignment below him, he took a large purple crayon and crossed out the last five lines.

My name is Icarus Archibald Redbeard III. I’m a professional book marauderer. And if there’s one thing I know, it’s this:

There is no greater enemy to book marauderers than mothers.


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