The only thing certain is death and taxes, and Captain Jack Sparrow's prepared for the eventuality of both at the same time. One-shot.
And Jack ends up stranded on an island with a dyin' Greek, but that's another story entirely, you ken - dying, dying, feverblistered from whatever sickness he's got festering in his gut with the knife that'd obviously sank in his thigh doing him no better. Not a nice way to go, but there's nothing Jack can do for him.
He smells like pus and death and he gabbles. Our Jack doesn't know enough Greek to get him anywhere further than the closest privy and your aunt's camel, but this chappie knows a fair share of French, and Jack's well-acquainted with that enow to talk to this man quickly headed for his Maker. He's a nice sort, despite the delirium. His delirium isn't that bad either, as delirium goes.
Jack gives him a few mouthfuls his precious rum, which wets the man's lips better to talk. Jack Sparrow's not a cruel man, despite the murdering and the pillaging. The Greek's got three coins in his purse; as soon as he's dead, he says, he asks well kindly that Jack bury him in the hot sands with the first two.
Ha, says our lad, you won't need those where you're goin', /mon ami/.
The Greek laughs up blood, and tells Jack a story of a cold river far beneath the hot sand and sea of the earth that flows like the very chill in the bones of a skeleton. The only way to pass is the cowled old ferryman; he's wantin' payment, and the dead only have what they're buried with. For the coins he'll take you across into Paradise.
So you take the third, the Greek says, in payment for my burial. Die with that coin, Jack Sparrow, and you'll cross that fast-flowing river.
And then a little while later he dies, as men are wont to do. Jack's hot and tired and he puts those coins underneath the man's tongue, the last tax, for when he a-rolls him in that dark sandy hole he's dug with his own two calloused hands. He puts a stone on top of the place once he's filled it in for a tombstone, sentimental-like, and stares at his silver drachma piece and his bloodied fingernails.
Lucky Jack, as ever, spies Anamaria's billowing sails on the second day, just when he's finished his last drops of rum. Thank God for a fine woman who'll stop at nothing lookin' for a short-lost captain who owes her money besides.
If there are any coins that harridan eventually strips from him, it's not this one; Jack keeps it safe, and the next dark night in front of a tallow candle and an oily mirror beads it into his hair. The livin' ropes on his head are braided twice as strong as jungle vines; there's no finer purse for a skeleton's currency, and Captain Jack Sparrow keen knows the worth by now of coins for the dead. It shines bright with the beads on the red scarf he ties 'round his head to keep his brains in, like some cursed moon at a murdered sunset.
Jack's touched in his time a lot of gods, because he's got more of the feeling that it's good luck to give each of 'em a flash of his unwordly charm, like. Just in case. Jesus, Allah, Vishnu, Buddha, Erzulie - and now a dark-cloaked ferryman, /Karon/, and good on him too for acceptin' solid silver for his currency rather than all that wishy unprofitable commandments stuff.
Just in case. Our lad Jack doesn't want to end up a wailin' spirit on the end of some beach just because he couldn't cough up the fee, savvy?
Maybe one day at the end of that short drop and sudden stop, he'll walk down those long halls deep under the earth to that dark-domed cavern with the swift water black as pain. He'll move past those poor poverty-stricken gnashin' ghosts, nice as you please, and pay up to the ferryman for a ride on that vessel -
- and then Captain Jack Sparrow plans on nutting him one and tippin' him over the side, commandeering that grey ship of ghosts; dark head flung back with the rustle of all his magpie-stolen trinkets, the ferryman's sparse payment back in his woven hair, Jack's black eyes will be laughing triumphant as he turns it about to go and plunder Elysium.