Buccaneer Tales in the Pirates' Lair

Hopping out of the twin outboard speedboat and strolling down the shaky wooden pier in flip-flops and Hawaiian shorts, the pirate king points out other boats that, like ours, are small, weathered and unremarkable but for the monstrous engines weighing on their sterns. "That one's stolen from Melaka," he says, "that's from Singapore." A plump middle-aged prostitute calls out from the Skydog Karaoke and Lounge, a cavernous bungalow built on spindly stilts over the black mud shallows. "Howarrryoo? Howarrryoo?" she giggles. In the neighboring Babi Island Billiards Hall, a dimly lit overwater shack, boys break off from shooting pool on four...

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