A Tall Ship Tale #45: Film At Eleven

The series by Paul de Anguera continues.

In the court of Queen Pharaoh Dei, deep within the ruins of Musawwarat-es-Sufra, a benumbed silence followed the First Mate’s tale of the whore’s sofa. Kernel Sanders took advantage of the distraction to step to the right side of the throne; Sir Hillary was already in position at the left.

“‘Enin sevas emit ni hctits a!'” Sanders growled menacingly. The Queen’s expression changed to one of alarm.

“‘Erusiel ta tneper, etsah ni…'” Sir Hillary boomed in reply.

Before he could finish, the Queen screamed, “Release the prisoners and stand back!” Now, her expression had changed to fear, but this made no difference; any expression between backward quotes becomes the result of its execution!

“Release Professor Hentrack to us!” the First Mate demanded. “She has stolen a letter from our Captain!”

“Take her,” the Queen sputtered. “We will not abide thieves!”

Then they were pelting down torchlit stone corridors, dragging Rita Hentrack, her fancy camera and her Egyptian sidekick along. The First Mate worried that once they left the throne room the Queen would have a change of heart, and he was not far wrong. They heard running feet behind them and the clatter of weapons. “Seize them!” cried the Queen. Then the ceiling between the escapees and the Queen’s forces collapsed with a roar.

A monstrous shape filled the ragged hole in the roof. It was the H.M.S. Legume coming to the rescue! The frigate’s sails flapped as she spilled wind to hold her position, and gunsmoke from the recent broadside drifted away in a golden cloud. The massive anchor crashed down into the rubble, and a rescue squad slid down its cable with cutlasses clamped in their teeth. On the hull’s underside was a huge portrait of James G. Watt, whose repulsiveness supported the ship in the air. Although the sailors had grown hardened to the sight of the GAG levitation system in action, the guards found it quite revolting. “Down with the Queen!” they shouted, reversing direction and rushing back toward the throne room.

No sooner had the rescued crew regained the main deck than the First Mate saw Rita slipping something into her mouth. He leaped at her and forced it out. When he looked at it, he groaned with disgust “Another spy!” Owen Anatu glanced at it and read:

Silica Gel: DO NOT EAT!

While the Legume proceeded down the Nile, Emma Talligeist took charge of the prisoner and searched her thoroughly. The ship’s officers waited in the great cabin, expecting the return of Cilantro’s letter. But instead she placed Rita’s camera on the table. “I could not find it anywhere else, so the letter must be inside this Leica,” Emma reported.

They each tried to get the camera open, but it was stuck somehow. “Maybe the carpenter could cut it open,” the First Mate mused. “But I’d hate to see a saw taken to a good camera.”

“If it would make you feel any better about it, this isn’t a real Leica,” Owen pointed out. “It’s a cheap knock-off. Assembled in Cairo, it looks like.”

“Perhaps, if we heated it carefully, the expansion would release the latch without damaging it,” Emma suggested. The others approved of the experiment, so she took the camera forward to the galley. She had just selected a round-bottomed skillet when the cook came in.

“What are you going to do?” he asked. She replied:

“Wok Leica Egyptian.”

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