Monday, August 14, 2006

Nuts in the Ocean

Finknottle continues the story ~

Well, Dear Figgyies, I am not at the Word juicer to-day, but that will not stay my hand from seeing to your rekwests for inspir'd counsel. My Assistant has filled you in with the detailia of our travelouge, and nicely brought us up-to-date. His narrative had placed us exactly where we need to be, vis., on route to an important errand in the Southern Hemisphere.

We now open the scene with Self collapsed against a large wooden crate, sucking on an opium tab, wet hand-kerchiefe on my face. Also arrayed in formation are My Assistant, to his left the former Captain of the Sassy Wench, and below him, a lifeboat. Below that is the Indian Ocean, a most un-aptly named body of water. I, that is to say, Self, am rummaging in the crate mentioned afore. The Captain was not saying much, having burned his lips on a cigar in an accident unrelated to the Mutiny. And now for the dialoge.

Assitant: "Sir, I don't know how you can be so complacent." he said.

I (Self): "Whatever do you mean, young Scribble?" I replied.

[Notice how the deft hand of the experienced writer has efficiently arranged the scene for readibility and eschewed the vernacular.]

My assistant continued his theme, "We are adrift, the Sassy Wench is no longer even within flare distance, and all you are doing is sitting there abusing the opium!"

I fished a lugnut out of the crate, and tossed it overboard behind me. "I am also throwing lugnuts overboard," I mentioned helpfully.

He failed to see the note of cooperation I had struck. "How will we get to Lima or even survive the night without rations?" he begged.

I threw another rusty lugnut into the Atlantic, checking my watch, and smiled. "I have not the foggiest idea how we'll survive."

Assistant looked petulant and whined," I hate being stranded in the South Pacific with you."

"Then stop doing it," I replied. The water splash'd with the impact of another metal lugnut. The Captain looked up from a water-logged copy of Archie Comics and snorted at Self.

"I don't see why you couldn't use your spacious brain and think up a way to get us along to Lima, Sir" my Assistant said, using his most obsequious pandering tone.

"I am currently using my brain to answer my readers' letters, if you must know. It is my solemn duty, after all." I stared at my watch for a good half-minute and hucked another lugnut to the fish.

My Assistant eyed me warily. "Why are you doing that?" he asked cautiously.

I indicated the side of the crate. "What do you see stencilled just there?" I asked.

"Alamagordo, New Mexico, New America." Scribble replied. "What do they produce in Alamagordo?"

"Lugnuts," I replied.

"I can see that," he retorted haughtily, "but what importance can they possibly have?"

I was aghast. "Without lugnuts, dear boy, the wheels of the car you are motoring around in will displace and leave you high and dry."

Scribble was not in thinking-cap mode, and persisted in being obtuse. "What has that to do with anything?" he yelled.

I grabbed the side of the crate and shook it, the lugnuts jingled inside. "There are a lot of Chevys in Alamagordo that aren't going anywhere..." I trailed off.

"Because they're missing their lugnuts!" Scribble suggested.

"No," I said, "because they've blown up."

"Ahh," said Scribble. "So the opium is past it's expiration date like I told you, and you're babbling again. That's lovely."

The Captain surreptitiously palmed an opium tablet from the open tin nearby and gamely looked it over, presumably looking for it's expiration date.

I launched another lugnut over the bow and narrowly missed a seagull. "Do you know what they make in Alamagordo, Scribble, my very young Assistant?"

He shrugged. "Chevys?" he offered.

"Atomic weapons." I said. He looked nonplussed. "They have to test them of course, to see if they're as frightfully awful as they claim in their brochures. They test them on fake houses, rows of them, fake lampposts and fake mailboxes. And...." I paused, "real cars."

"So the cars are.." Scribble struggled for the next word.

"1957 Chevys." I said.

"And these antique machines are blown up?" he said as if in a dream.

"Smashed to bits." I confirmed.

"And the lugnuts..." he said, beginning to follow along.

"The lugnuts are all that's left," I said. I picked one up and hurled it at the horizon.

"They must be radio-activated!" Scribble said, alarmed.

I picked another one up and licked it thoughtfully. "Yes, I would expect they are." I said. I looked at my watch and, after a tick, nonchalantly let the lugnut fall out of my hand into the deep.

Scribble thought for a bit, then sat down and put his head in his hands. "All is clear to me now. You're placing your hope for rescue in a trail of breadcrums. Genius that you are, you've only missed one detail." He paused, "Metal sinks!" he fumed.

The Captain had finished the Archie Comic by my count at least three times, and was now reading it backwards, in an attempt, I presume, to get Jughead unstuck from the mud his jalopy was in. He'd been unhappy with the plight Jughead ended up in every time he re-read the funnybook, and was now taking matters into his own hands. I was beginning to form a profile of the Captain, vis-a-vis his mental clockwork. By my count he was missing several teeth on the main drive gear, and his flywheel was caught on his winding stem, if you catch my drift. I turned my attention back to my long-suffering Assistant.

"Do know where my Editore is right now?" I asked mildly.

"No." my Assistant sobbed.

"Well at this very moment he is using my blue prybar to loosen the floorboards under my word-juicer." I said, without venom. "I anticipated that his greed would get the better of him, so I bolted the machine to the floor, but that won't stop him, just delay the inevitable."

Scribble said nothing, so I continued. "Do you know what he'll do when he's finished winching my word-juicer into his office?"

"No," said Scrib.

"He'll check his email."

"Aha," said Scribble, "is that a fact."

"Yes it is dear boy." I said. "Poor man is addicted to email. Shame, really. Then he'll while away the hours on the Internets, surfing here and there. He'll make a loop of all the usual places, but he always surfs himself to sleep in the same place, at Google Earth. He scans the globe, zooming in on his enemies houses and so forth, until sleep finally overtakes him. That's when he'll see us."

I finally had Scribble's attention. He began slowly, "So he'll look at the globe, scan the oceans, and see our trail of radio-activated lugnuts that can be seen from space!"

"Indeed, dear boy." I said, pleased.

The Captain was eyeing me carefully.

"And you've spaced out the lugnuts to spell a message in Morse code!" He almost jumped for joy.

"Yes, yes." I said. "Not a hard code to learn, even a simpleton like him will be able to read it, I imagine."

"What does the message say, Sir Finknottle?" asked Scribble.

"Keep your hands off my word-juicer." I said.

The Captain snorted happily at this.

"Oh," said Scribble. "I thought perhaps this was how you'd been submitting our columns. Or sending a s.o.s. to get us some help?" He looked at me hopefully.

"No point in that," I said and he frowned. "That's what the ship-to-shore radio is for." I said, showing him the device.

He looked incredulous. "The crew of the Sassy Wench let you have that?" he asked.

"Of course," I smiled, "They're not cannibals."


1 comment:

Editor said...

Dude said...

Good show, Herr Finknottle. By the by, you haven't perchance encountered one (1) William S. Burroughs in your travels, have you?

4:09 AM
Anonymous Duffy said...

Good to see you back old man.

12:35 PM