Tarzan's Tripes Forever, and Other Feghoots

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A Tall Ship Tale #4: Up, Up And A-Weigh

Category: alt.callahans, Puns, Rated G

Continuing the saga written by Paul de Anguera.

Now that Captain Quid had established his credentials with the Brotherhood’s emissaries, the First Mate wondered what use they would make of the frigate H.M.S. Legume in their conspiracy to dethrone Peter the Great. Disrupt commerce? Smuggle muskets? But what the Brotherhood proposed was beyond belief; to sail to Moscow, and there to open fire on the Tsar’s palace — just in case their concealment of the planet Mars was not enough to frighten him into fleeing the country.

“The Legume cannot possibly sail to Moscow,” he objected. “It’s 400 miles inland!”

“Don’t worry,” the emissaries assured him. “Do you think moving a mere ship presents any difficulty to the Brotherhood, which can move entire planets around at will?” And so the Legume was dry-docked for installation of certain magical devices by the Brotherhood’s most exclusive order, the Unshineers. The Unshineers were named to honor Unshining Stars — mystical stellar objects so dense that even light could not escape them, the literal Russian translation of “Black Hole” having unfortunate connotations.

When all was ready, an Unshineer joined the First Mate on the quarter-deck to demonstrate his modifications. He took an odd-looking wrench from a hook by the ship’s great wheel and fitted it to a stud set into the deck, then rotated it. The ship rose smoothly into the air. He fitted it to a stud set into the back of the mizzen-mast and rotated it; a cylinder at the tip of the mast pivoted about, and the ship began drifting sideways in the air. “I don’t believe it!’ he gasped. “How does it work?”

They dropped anchor (smashing a nearby boathouse), let down a rope ladder and climbed to the ground. The Unshineer pointed up at the ship’s hull. “The deck stud controls a shutter on the ship’s bottom. When opened, it exposes a picture of James G. Watt*. The earth hates him so much that it moves away, leaving the ship behind it in the air.”

“And the back of the inside of the masthead cylinder has a picture of…?” the First Mate wondered.

“John Muir,” the Unshineer said proudly. “Aim it at any mountain, and it will move toward the ship. I call it the Geophilic And Geophobic levitation system, or GAG.”

And so the H.M.S. Legume set sail overland for Moscow on the strength of a Brotherhood GAG, carrying several Brothers as passengers to witness and, if necessary, assist in the Tsar’s demise. It made a magnificent spectacle, scudding across rippling wheat fields under full sail and firing courteous salutes to castles it encountered. At night the ship set anchor in some sturdy tree or barn roof. Things seemed to be going altogether too well, the First Mate thought suspiciously. There were far too many robed and brooding figures about the ship. Who knew what mischief those billowing robes concealed?

And sure enough, just as the turrets of the Kremlin hove into sight, treachery was revealed. When the First Mate picked up the wrench to lower the ship, he discovered that some agent of the Tsar had smashed it! Out of control, the ship rushed past Moscow and onward into the south, as the officers on the quarter-deck stared in consternation at…

The Tsar-Mangled Spanner!

* Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior

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