Message to Morgan – Guy Russell (1937)

sascoverBlonde-bearded” Don Jaime is hanging out with “bright-bandanna-ed Caribs, huge ring-nosed West Indian blacks, and hawk-nosed Spanish soldiery” in a Panama bar where everybody knows your hyphenated name.

He is feeling pretty good that everyone thinks Admiral De Vaca has taken his fleet to Cartagena.  He expects Captain Morgan to attack the town, falling for De Vaca’s ruse.  His scantily-clad serving wench cares only for the jewel Morgan wears in his neckerchief.  Note that the man at the bar, and two men not even on the mainland had names on the first half-page while the wench still does not.

As she wends her way through the crowd, a strap on her blouse is unraveled, so “a firm white curved breast escaped from its flimsy moorings to gleam naked and inviting.” The wench sneaks out the back door to make a name for herself — Rosa; also traitor.   She spills the beans to Roger Blake that De Vaca is just setting a trap for Morgan.  Blake sends a warning to Morgan then bangs Rosa behind the tavern.  Remember boys, Loose tits sink ships.[1]

The fiesta is interrupted by men who bust in and capture Blake as Rosa attempts “to cover her ivory nakedness with two small hands.”  So she is a triple-agent who has ratted out Blake for an unspecified number of pieces of silver.

Blake is hauled back to San Cristobal and chained in the dungeon.  Also in the dungeon is Black Richard — let’s just call him Richard — the man Blake sent to warn Morgan. He got the message through, but returned to town to look for Blake.  Now Rosa and Don Diego are laughing at his predicament.  As they are leaving, Rosa manages to leave behind a knife for Blake — aha, she is a quadruple-agent!

Blake orders Bl . . . er, Richard to try the ol’ sick prisoner routine.  Sure, it’s an oldie now, but maybe this was the first time it was ever used.  However, the sentry comes in and kicks Richard in the ribs.  This gets guard close enough for Blake to over-power him.  He and Richard go up the staircase.

As escapes go, this ain’t the great one.  Richard and Blake are recaptured almost immediately.  Realizing that Rosa gave Blake the knife, Don Diego orders her put into the Iron Maiden.  After being stripped, of course.  Richard explodes in a rage and breaks free of his chains to save the day and free Rosa before the Iron Maiden’s spikes can do much damage.

They head for the wharf so they can swim out to Morgan’s ship to warn him of the true plot.  Rosa is only wearing a cloak which she can’t swim in.  She nudes-up again and swims to the ship of pirates.  The spikes in that Iron Maiden might not seem so bad compared to the penetrations she is about to suffer.

Another story I just could not care less about.


  • [1] Remembered from National Lampoon circa 1915.
  • First published in March 1937.
  • Admiral De Vaca in the same issue was a story by Jose Vaca?  Coincidence? Vaca is Spanish for cow — who would use that was a nom de plume?

Also seen today: The Break-In (Amazon Prime). Just awful.  Only 110 minutes and not one goddamn thing interesting happens for the first 105 minutes; or in the last five.  Actually, I did like the “twist” but it was not worth the wait; it might been tolerable as a short in a VHS anthology.  Or better yet, ABCs of Death.

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