Tarzan's Tripes Forever, and Other Feghoots

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A Tall Ship Tale #12: Fright of Passage

Category: alt.callahans, Puns, Rated G

The saga by Paul De Anguera continues.


As the sun set over the Black Sea, the H.M.S. Legume entered the harbor of Constantinople, capital of the Automen Empire. It was a commercial empire, as the crew could see from the surrounding ships. There were arms dealers like General Mortars, jewelry hawkers like Constantine Opal, and sleazy advertisers like Cry Slur. And they were all having sails. The Harbor Master came out to meet the frigate in a barge whose unsexed rowers were chained to their benches. The First Mate stepped up to negotiate with the Automan. But he soon turned to the Captain for advice.

“They demand a thousand pieces of money for the privilege of anchoring here!” he reported.

“Then go,” the Captain said.

“But, if we leave without paying, the Automen will consider themselves insulted and attack,” the First Mate pointed out.

They glanced uneasily at the Unix platform. Just then a splash distracted them; a shark had reared out of the water and was leaning one fin on the rail.

“Don’t worry about a thing, folks! It’s all taken care of!”

“We can stay without paying?” asked the miserly Quid.

The shark nodded. “I’ll just leave you alone now.” He smiled in a way that gave even Emma pause for thought, and slipped back into the oily water.

The First Mate was appalled. “Sir! That was a loan shark! It’s a racket between them and the Automen. We’ve got to find some way to make money, fast!”

“Tie it to a ringbolt?” the Captain mused.

They went ashore and began looking for transportation to the bazaar. “There ISA bus!” the First Mate said. Soon they were surrounded by Unix installs. They bought kornshells with some script. Then the Captain relaxed on a Hagia sofa, while the First Mate sat on esac. Nearby, a feast was in progress; Automen were dipping ducks in a vat of oil from Prague and frying them on a huge iron sheet. The sailors got in line for some duck, but the last of it was sold before they could get any. Soon, they were glad they hadn’t. All around them, people were groaning and clutching their stomachs in pain.

“It’s no wonder!” the First Mate exclaimed, sniffing the vat with distaste. “This oil is rancid!”

The duck vendor joined him at the vat. “Gee-eee, you have a ship, right?”

“Well, we have a blacksmith,” the First Mate admitted.

“Gee-eee maybe we could do business!”

“What do you have in mind?” the First Mate asked.

“Gee-eee, two things! All the ducks have flown south for the winter, so I need you to get me some preserved ones. And some grease! Because…

“Prague grease is sour — must import tinned raw duck!”

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