Wellard and His Sissy Red Shoes of Shame
by Olivia

Archie is thoroughly concentrating on scratching a potentially
valuable small piece of shiny cardboard with a round copper coin. The
shiny piece of cardboard has the words "Pirate Treasure Hunt" in
bright red letters printed across the top with the
instructions "scratch the same amount three (3) times to win that
amount."

So far Archie has scratched $100,000 and $20,000. There are six more
squares left to scratch. With his tongue squirming over his lower
lip, Archie continues to reveal the following amounts: $400,
$100,000, $2000, $500 and $7000. Still no prize and one more square
left to scratch. Archie brushes away the silver powdered debris which
has accumulated from scratching the card and slowly scratches the
last amount.

"I've won! I've WON!!!" Archie screams, and nearly has a fit from
scratching a lucky third $100,000 amount.

He runs to tell Horatio the news.

"I've won Horatio! I've won!!!" Archie sings, and triumphantly shows
him the winning lottery ticket.

Horatio inspects it closely. "Archie..." Horatio begins.

"We're rich Horatio! We're rich!" Archie interrupts.

"No Archie, listen to me" says Horatio firmly, and Archie listens to
him. "The card has only TWO $100,000 amounts, not three. This third
amount here is $10,000, not $100,000. See that?"

"Oh" says Archie, feeling disappointed and embarrassed, and he mutely
inspects the card himself. Then he says "I suppose I had an even
chance."

"An even chance?!" rebukes Horatio, and he is about to lecture Archie
about how all manner of gambling devices are fixed so that nobody can
ever win, when suddenly they hear Captain Sawyer giving a loud,
tempestuous lecture of his own.

"Your crime for not cleaning the head until I can see my own
reflection requires a more imaginative approach!" they hear Captain
Sawyer yelling in his cabin.

"Oh dear" this Archie to himself. "What kind of `imaginative
approach' will Captain Sawyer inflict this time?"

"Eating grasshoppers?" answers Horatio out load. He knows Archie so
well, he can instinctively hear his questions.

"Doing the backstroke around Samana Bay?" counters Archie.

"Caning a tiger?" suggests Horatio.

"THE SISSY RED SHOES OF SHAME" bellows Sawyer from his cabin. And
after a few minutes, the door of the cabin flies open and poor Mr
Wellard is standing there with two glittery red shoes on his feet.

"My God" whisper Horatio and Archie together. "The sissy red shoes of
shame."

*******

The sissy red shoes of shame was the worst punishment a Captain could
inflict on any officer. Not just because the shoes contained bright
red bows and a slight heel which made the officer look like a total
sissy, but because the shoes acted as a signal to other officers that
they could inflict pain and punishment on the offending officer at
their will. In fact, any officer not seen inflicting pain and
punishment would be implicated in the crime.

Wellard walked past Archie and Horatio shortly afterwards and they
spat on him, which was the least offending thing they could think
of. "It's an injustice, Horatio" lamented Archie.

"It's tutelage, Archie".

"Semantics!" declared Archie angrily. "First you say it's discipline,
now it's tutelage. Do you actually know what those words mean?"

"No hard feelings, Mr Wellard," they heard Matthews say as he gave Mr
Wellard a wedgie.

********

Despite all the pain being inflicted on him, Mr Wellard became
accustomed to wearing his red shoes, and even began to look forward
to putting them on every morning. The shoes were so comfortable
unlike any shoes he had worn before, and if he tilted his foot at a
certain perpendicular angle, they would sparkle in the sun and make
him feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

So even when Randall shook him by the ankles and Mr Hobbs made him
eat grasshoppers, Mr Wellard was always contented with the knowledge
that he was wearing the most stylish pair of shoes on board the whole
Renown.

Eventually, Archie decided the four lieutenants had to intervene, and
they did. The meeting in which this highly complex and strategic
political decision was made went something like this:

Bush: "It's certainly a novel approach to inflicting punishment"

Horatio: "The punishment does not fit the crime. What would a court
think if they heard a boy had to wear the sissy red shoes of shame
just because a Captain couldn't see his own reflection in the
lavatory?"

Archie: "They would laugh."

Buckland: "Something must be done."

Archie: "How about we all eat grasshoppers?"

Horatio: "No we need to make a bold statement that is far more
effective and far less disgusting."

Buckland: "Something must be done."

Bush: "We could all wear red shoes as a kind of protest."

(small silence while they all consider this proposal).

Horatio: "I like that idea."

************

"Listen up everyone! Horatio has come up with a BRILLANT IDEA to put
an end to the unwarranted punishment that is being inflicted on Mr
Wellard!" Archie announced to the crew.

The next morning Captain Sawyer came up on deck only to find the
entire crew wearing sissy red shoes of shame. Everyone including
Randall, Mr Hobss, Dr Clive, Matthews, Styles and the four
lieutenants were wearing bright red shoes with bows that sparkled
like glitter in the sun.

Sawyer was not impressed. "Put your normal shoes back on! All of you!"

"We can't Sir" one of the crewmen replied.

"Oh? Why not?" demanded Sawyer.

"We were ordered to throw them over the side, Sir" replied the
crewman, trembling.

"What? By whom?"

"By Lieutenant Horatio Hornblower!" interjected Mr Buckland.

Captain Sawyer pushed through the crowd to confront his third
lieutenant. "Did you do this?" he asked threateningly.

"Indeed Sir" replied Horatio defiantly. "It was for the good of Mr
Wellard. And of the ship."

"For the good of the ship?" repeated Sawyer condescendingly. "Mr
Wellard is only a yellow-bellied boy. Why throw away perfectly good
shoes for him?"

"He may only be a boy but is one of our men. And we look after all of
our men and show them respect, because that is what it means to be
officers in His Majesty's Navy" Horatio replied.

"He's right" agreed everyone.

Sawyer then addressed Dr Clive. "Dr Clive, I'm disappointed in you. I
thought you were with me."

"I was ever my own man" declared Dr Clive. "Now, I beg you no more
punishing Mr Wellard. I'm sick of giving him laudanum. That stuff
smells bad enough to kill an ox."

"Very well" said Sawyer coldly. "Punishment ended". As he retreated
below decks he shouted "And get back to your duties! All of you!"

Everyone drew a sigh of relief. Archie was elated. "Horatio! You were
brilliant! I loved your speech!! And the way you went along with the
lie about our shoes being thrown overboard! Classic!"

Mr Wellard promptly went offside to change his shoes. Although he
liked the red shoes, he was glad to be back in his normal attire.

"Horatio? You still have our shoes, don't you?" asked Archie, hopeful.

Horatio gave a shifty glance.

"Horatio...did you throw our shoes over the side?"

"Are you asking me that question?" said Horatio rhetorically.

"I am."

"er...back in a minute" said Horatio and hurriedly retreated from
view. A few moments later everyone heard the distinct noise of
someone splashing into the water and swimming away. They all looked
over and saw it was Horatio presumably to bring back their shoes.

Bush looked down in horror at his own feet as the realisation set it
in that he could be wearing sissy red shoes for quite some time.

Buckland began to wail. "I knew we should have opted to eat
grasshoppers instead!"