Regardless of the reasons, there they both stood talking of things in common. And somehow, the merchant marine was able to twist all of Allister's likes into the love of swashbuckling, wenches, and life on the high seas. In reality, Allister did not know what swashbuckling meant, thought wenches to be dirty, and was prone to nausea if he even remained too long on the low seas of bath water. Allister also knew that the life of a merchant marine and the life of a pirate were two completely different things. And it was apparent, in this case, that he was being sold on the price of a pirate for the life of a merchant marine (or vice versa). Even drunk, he could tell when he was being swindled. So, why was he still listening? Probably because the man bought him another shot of whiskey.
Allister poured the thick liquid down his throat and by the time he was done looking at the crust on the bottom of the shot glass (Approximately five minutes), he found another shot waiting patiently for him at the bar. He realized for the first time that his friend had yet to order a drink for himself. The merchant marine waved his hand as if to say, "Oh, pish." In response, Allister raised two fingers to the nearest bartenders and said, "Two straws, please." The bartender cleared the dust from the shelf marked 'Shirley Temple Ingredients' and pulled down two ancient straws. Perhaps, it was this moment of unbridled shot-sharing that turned the tide in the merchant marine's favor.
The merchant marine's pictures of a better life became more vivd now. Allister could see his hook and patch glistening in the sun. He would stand, firmly balanced on his peg leg and laugh with his parrot about why his patch was glistening. He took a few steps; stiffening one leg, closing an eye, and laughing to his shoulder. He found himself being led somewhere by his new friend and when the dust curtains were parted, he realized he was at the merchant marine sign-up table. A pen planted in his hand, he listened to stories of English gold and other buried treasures. The arm that would soon be a hook began to sign his name. A-L-L-I-S-T-E-R C-R-O-M-WAIT! He dropped the pen. The alcohol was fading. Pirating and merchant marining are not the same and Allister would sooner die than be a merchant marine! He backed away from the desk and staggered in sprint form towards the door. His friend yelled after him, "The ship leaves tomorrow!! Be there or we will come find you!!!"
Allister found his way home. He drunkenly opened the door, packed a small suitcase, and hid in a cupboard in the kitchen for a month. He had nothing to eat but a box of crackers and nothing to drink at all. Somehow, he survived and when he had carved the thirtieth mark into the wood, he pried the door open and tiptoed to the window. The light poured in. Allister blinked and looked out at the most beautiful sight he had seen in a month. A street free of merchant marines! He was saved. From that day forward, Allister made it his mission (one of many) to preach in the streets and push for legislation banning the use of pretending to be pirates in order to recruit future merchant marines. His story was told far and wide, his bravery revered by many, and the fact that the merchant marines passed him over seen as a sign. It was only after years had passed that Allister heard the entire story from a close friend. Luck had smiled on him. That was much was true. But, it was not because he was a chosen person. It was an incredible coincidence that saved him from a terrible life in the merchant marines. And he spent the rest of his life searching for this Allister Cromwait.