Tarzan's Tripes Forever, and Other Feghoots

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The Spratt Family Zingers

Category: alt.callahans, Rated G

This tall tale is by John Barnstead. That’s all I need say. I have been holding on to it for too long. The setting is Callahan’s virtual bar, and Pernicious is The Cat. We have met them before.


Pernicious the Musquodoboit Harbour Farm Cat’s faithful amanuensis and general factotum wanders in and remarks: “I’ve just returned from attending the graduation ceremonies at Calvin Seminary, and was reminded of this ol’ thing:”

Buses, even such paragons of omnibusapient virtue as the buses of the Acadia Lines, are not, perhaps, so conducive to casual conversation as trains are. Perhaps it is because the seats do not face each other as they sometimes do on trains, but are arranged as if the front windscreen were a cinema screen instead… you can get a good view of one’s fellow passengers only when they join the chorus after you do, or else in a sweeping panoramic view as you enter the bus yourself. Talk is likely to be confined to polite requests that the folks in front not lower the backs of their seats QUITE so far, or quick asides leftwards or rightwards. Mostly Pernicious the Musquodoboit Harbour Farm Cat and his faithful amanuensis and general factotum Barnstead chat with each other, or when that palls (and when it DOES pall you can guess for whom the tell palls FIRST…) they occupy themselves with books — Pernicious is reading Michel Foucault’s “This Is Not A Pipe” at the moment, while Barnstead has been working his way through the epistles in his Bible. They almost don’t notice the very ODD couple who board the bus on the border between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and wipe the sticky red remnants of the mudflats from their overshoes as they sit down directly in front of them…

It would be hard to imagine a more physically mismatched couple: he is ALMOST as thin as Spider Robinson himself, with huge but finely articulated hands clutching a Birder’s Bible, while she is built like a Sherman tank, and holds a copy of “Sports Illustrated” as if it were a baseball bat: rolled up and occasionally pounded on the back of her seat as she makes an emphatic point to Pernicious. He is all morris dancing while she is Deere romancing (tractors being a subject upon which she appears to be prepared to spend the entire road to Massachusetts expounding…); she loves nothing more than watching the Superbowl, while he prefers to observe a superb owl…

“How did you fall in love?” Pernicious the Musquodoboit Harbour Farm Cat’s faithful amanuensis and general factotum queries on behalf of his employer, who seems to fear the traditional result of cat curiosity too much to put his question to Mrs. Spratt directly, and is eyeing the rolled-up copy of “Sports Illustrated” with distinct mistrust.

“Oh, Mr. Spratt seduced me,” replies Mrs. Spratt unselfconsciously. “He brews for thirsty teens, so he had plenty of hootch to get me tiddly with when he decided I was the one he wanted…”

“But how did he know that?”

“I told you: Hebrews 4:13 — `And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.’ He has a thing for ladies of my build… and he wanted to convert me, too. I was afraid I might find the Bible too difficult, and Mr. Spratt too much of a handful for me, but fortunately I turned out to be mistaken –”

“How so?”

“Hebrews is easy… and HE bruises easy…”

…and at that point Pernicious the Musquodoboit Harbour Farm Cat and his faithful amanuensis and general factotum decide to return to their reading…

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