Tarzan's Tripes Forever, and Other Feghoots

The Web's Original Shaggy Dog Story Archive


A Tall Ship Tale #26: The King

Category: alt.callahans, Puns, Rated G

The lengthy but wonderful voyage, as told to us by Paul de Anguera, continues.


The First Mate had done his best, but the Merchants of Pisa were very unhappy about their leaning tower. So, to make amends, the Captain agreed to take his payment in surplus cloth. “‘Arno way out of it,”‘ he explained. It was black velvet. Emma carried off a Pisan made a slinky dress out of it, but nobody else could think of any use for it.

As the H.M.S. Legume put to sea, the First Mate led Captain Quid to the great stern cabin, sat him down at the star board and unrolled the chart in front of him. “‘Come on, you’ve pulled these things off before with the chart. Find someplace that would want a whole lot of black velvet!”‘ The Captain rubbed his chin and pondered the chart doubtfully. After a while the First Mate shook his head sadly and went off to check on the ship’s progress. He returned to find the grizzled old Captain sprawled across the chart, fast asleep. One outflung hand was pointing at:                    ELVAS

The flying frigate sailed to the west end of the Mediterranean, picked up the Spanish-Portuguese border and followed it far into the hinterlands. Elvas lay deep in the mountains on the Portuguese side. The ship dropped anchor in the town square, and the First Mate went off in search of a buyer. He approached a woman on the street. “‘Could you direct me to the Merchant’s Hall, ma’am? Fuss not, but merely point out the way.”‘

“‘That’s all right,”‘ she said. “‘Try the Heartbreak Hotel!”‘ As the First Mate entered the hotel lobby, the piano player was just finishing up “‘Love Me, Tender.”‘ “‘Play it again, Sam! Fill-ups all around!”‘ cried a jovial man from the bar. The First Mate found a copy of the town rag, the Elvas Press; leading story of the day was the demolition of the local prison. Next Tuesday, he read, there would be an auction of jailhouse rock.

The First Mate decided to stop by the bar. But when he stepped over a hound dog in the aisle, the beast growled fiercely and snapped at his ankle. “‘Don’t be cruel,”‘ scolded a woman dressed in blue. She slid to one side of her booth invitingly, so the First Mate joined her. “‘I’m all shook up!”‘ he confessed. He learned that her name was Priscilla, and was surprised to see a tiny face peer sleepily out of her coat. “‘I can tuck Erin so Scott, the bartender, won’t see him,”‘ she confided. Despite its inland location, the town took pride in its seafood. The First Mate saw a startling amount of caviar being consumed all around him. “‘Canned, I suppose,”‘ he thought to himself. But he realized he had become distracted. Back to business!

“‘How could I sell a lot of velvet around here?”‘ he asked her. Priscilla paused in thought, and he saw that she was as beautiful as a blue Mona. “‘Can tuck E.,”‘ he recalled to himself dazedly.

“‘How? Great Thew Art,”‘ she suggested. “‘Scotty! More!”‘ she called, holding up her glass.

Avoiding a loitering group of suspicious mimes, the First Mate found the art gallery. It was displaying muscle-builders painted on velvet. He also saw velvet paintings of little girls with big eyes, and one of a thunderstorm which showed rain blowing in a gray slant. Indeed, it seemed that the local art market could not get enough velvet Elvas’. On a pedestal in the center of the gallery stood a velvet portrait in a gilded frame. When the First Mate glanced at it, he was stunned to recognize his friend Napoleon Bon-Aperitif, whose French cannery had processed the Legume’s cargo of ducks in Chapter 14. But, when he stooped to read the elaborately engraved plaque on the base of the frame, he understood why the painting was there. It read:

The King of Raw Canned Roe!

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