The Pirate Parents

search for their lost boys, their sons that ran away to never grow up.

Pirate Parents age past their forties, fifties. Achy backs from hoisting the main sail, loading cannonballs and swabbing the deck they renamed The Ultra Serious deck. This was work, not a game. Their boys were missing.

Pirate Parents sail the open sea spying through monoculars, using sextants while not laughing at the word sextant. Pirate Parents pass the time by not telling jokes. Dinners of empty conversation and paintings of sad clowns at the head of the table. 

Pirate Parents eat seafood and kelp. Whatever the nets drag aboard that isn’t plastic. The Pirate Parents aren’t allowed to play with their food, otherwise they put themselves in timeout. There are rules here. Adult rules. Sometimes Pirate Parents tickle each other as a test, to see if the other will laugh. Their faces remain stone, diligent, continuing on their childless quest.

Pirate Parents drop anchor and dive, searching below the surface.

Pirate Parents grow out serious mustaches to cover their frowns.

Pirate Parents as a crew name was a mouthful, but when they abbreviated it they laughed themselves into timeout.

Pirate Parents don’t sing, don’t dance, they forgot their favorite songs in the musical Cats. Now they drink and smoke their depleting supply. They cry into the sea when the other Pirate Parents aren’t looking. The sea level has risen their ship higher. From this vantage point they hoped to see farther, hoped to be wiser at this age, hoped for a great many things that didn’t appear in their lifetime.

Pirate Parents haven’t seen land in decades, always pissing into the sea. Never fresh waterfall thirst, always reverse osmosis salt water.

Pirate Parents see another ship. Other pirates. Pirate Parents prepare the cannons until they see the other ship is more Pirate Parents sobbing for their own lost boys.

Have you seen our children? We should have never taken our eyes off of them.

Afraid not. We’ve been looking for ours for years now.

Yeah, we ran away from our parents when we were young too. We get it. This must be what adults do. 

The Pirate Parents squint at each other, ships mirrored. They wish each other luck and part ways. Their children ran away searching for something better. Hoping to be taken seriously by adults. A feat only a quest could prove.

Corey Miller was a finalist in the F(r)iction Flash Fiction Contest (Spring 2020) and shortlisted in The Forge Flash Competition (2020). His writing has appeared in Third Point Press, Pithead Chapel, Lost Balloon, Hobart, and elsewhere. When not working or writing in Cleveland, Corey likes to take the dogs for adventures. Follow him on Twitter @IronBrewer or at