Tarzan's Tripes Forever, and Other Feghoots

The Web's Original Shaggy Dog Story Archive

A Tall Ship Tale #17: Ferry God Mother

Category: alt.callahans, Puns, Rated G

By Paul de Anguera

Chartered by the Unix worshippers of Cybele, founder of the race of gods, His Majesty’s Frigate Legume cruised the Aegean Sea. The ship was about to conduct an unusual search — trolling the sea for a mysterious sunken person.

Captain Quid and the First Mate wondered where they should troll, and puzzled over the chart. But this only made the chart harder to see, and they soon gave it up and pushed the puzzle pieces aside. “I smell foul play at work here, or else foul work at play,” declared the First Mate. “You don’t think this guy got ‘lost’ without some help, do you? Suppose he has concrete overshoes? Where would we ever find him then?” The Captain thought for a minute, then his blunt finger thumped the chart not far from the ship’s position. The First Mate peered at the spot:


A broad shadow fall across the chart. “Good idea!” remarked an unfamiliar female voice. “Get those elbows off the table!” The sailors glanced up to see Cybele, Mother Of Gods. Rubenesque and red-haired, she wore a miniature city wall for a crown; a cruelly-curved knife hung from her belt. Cybele was crushing almonds between her teeth one by one in a way that made the men feel somehow uneasy.

The Unix Kernel wandered into the cabin; when he saw Cybele, he circumflexed reverently. “We are ready to perform your bidding, oh Founder!” he said theatrically. Soon they were on the quarter-deck, preparing the trolling line.

“We’ll need a bottle,” Cybele instructed. “A full one. And stand up straight!” Quid went down to his cabin, being careful to stand up straight and hold his shoulders back. He returned with a bottle of absynthe, and tied it securely to the rope’s end. The First Mate wondered whether this sort of worm would be appealing bait to whomever they were trying to catch.

“OK, Kernel Sanders, go ahead,” the First Mate urged.

“How did you know my name?” the Kernel asked.

“I knew that the fellow who’s writing this story wouldn’t be able to resist it.”

The Kernel shrugged and launched the bottle into the ship’s wake. He had barely gotten to the rope’s end when he was jerked over the rail by something big striking the bait. Quid and the First Mate seized his legs and hauled him back onto the deck. A big gray shape lunged out of the waves. Cybele shaded her eyes and frowned. “Why, that’s not a…” she muttered before catching herself (insert illustration by M. C. Escher here). Whatever she had been expecting, what she’d caught was a shark — a _lone_ shark. “Oh, no,” the First Mate groaned.

The shark swam up and leaned a fin on the rail conversationally; it sagged under his weight. “You know, I’ve been worried about your account with us. In fact, I’m about at the end of my rope!” he snarled. “Why didn’t I hear from you guys when Stan Bull paid you for those tinned ducks?” He paused to finish off the liquor, glanced at Cybele, and tossed the bottle into the recycling binnacle with a grimace. “Now, I figure the interest on a thousand pieces of money, at twelve percent per diem… on an even-numbered year… during a neap tide, to be… well, heck, actually that’s not important right now. The main thing is, I want you to take care of yourselves. And to have fun! It’s been so good to see you!” He reached out a fin and fondly shook each of their hands. Good-bye!” And he waved enthusiastically as the ship drew away from him.

“What in My Name came over him?” Cybele wondered as the loan shark, still waving, disappeared into the distance. The First Mate joined Her at the rail and explained:

“Absynthe makes the heart grow, Founder.”

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