Yes, Jack Plank started out to be a pirate. His shipmates all liked him, and their ship, Avarice, was certainly very beautiful. But after a while it was clear that Jack wasn't much good at plundering. He just didn't have the knack for it. So what to do? Jack did the only thing he could do-he went ashore to look for another line of work. The town was called Saltwash, on the Caribbean coast, and he had a lot of helpful advice from the people in Mrs DelFresno's boarding house. Somehow, though, each career he looked into seemed to have something wrong with it. And every night at dinner in the boarding house, he tried to explain why. For who would want to work where there might be a troll, or flirt with the danger of getting a crab caught in your beard? Or what about a music-loving crocodile? There were other things, too, that ran against every suggestion and took the wind out of his sails. At last, Jack sadly decided he wouldn't be good at anything onshore and would have to go back to sea, pirate or not. But sometimes, as you probably know already, things work out very nicely when you least expect it.