The galleon looked resplendent as it soared across the darkened waters, its hull adorned with flags of every country and its magnificent masts illuminated in a spectrum of colours.
The good ship Glaring Metaphor had been sailing for more than two years, on a quest to find new land – an idyllic place reputed to be one of Europe’s great small cities.
The captain looked out to the horizon. He knew it was a formidable adventure, one plagued with pitfalls and perils.
But he knew his crew, though somewhat fractured, were up to the job. More than 150,000 people back home were relying on them.
The cabin boy burst into the wheelhouse with some unwelcome news.
“It’s two of the crewmen,” he announced. “They’ve been up to no good. We’ve had a lot of complaints.”
The captain was disappointed, but not surprised. This pair had been causing him unrest for some months and it was only a matter of time before things came to a head.
“Aaarr,” sighed the captain. “Lock ’em up in the brig while I decide what to do with them.”
But what could he do? These were some serious complaints to be sure, but could he really afford to lose some of his best crewmen? Especially ones from his side of the galley, he thought, the allegory now slipping somewhat.
The captain decided he had no choice. “On Monday, I shall make them walk the plank,” he announced.
The crew was stunned. Had the captain taken leave of his senses? Or was this, finally, a show of strength against two bothersome trouble-makers?
The day came, and the two crewmen were led out onto the deck in chains, blinking into the sunlight.
They could see the sharks circling below as they stepped onto the plank. Was this really how it was going to end?
“Not so fast,” said a voice. The captain turned and saw members of his crew with their cutlasses raised. They had bandied together, even the ones that usually didn’t get on with each other.
His loyal crewmates were by his side, but the captain found himself for the first time outnumbered.
A mass of swashbuckling ensued and the sound of clanging metal echoed around the ship. Limbs were lopped off, timbers were shivered and parrots were plucked.
The captain fought well, but the odds were stacked against him. The mutineers had won, and taken control of the ship.
That night, in the solitude of his cabin, the captain heard the jubilant sound of the rebel crewmen through the walls.
Now it was rumoured that his first mate, who had stayed so loyal for more than two years, was about to abandon ship. Maybe he should too, he pondered.
Weary from battle, water now lapping round his ankles, the captain thought what many were now thinking: “It really can’t go on like this.”