by Joshua Blanc
A thin man, wearing a heavy woolen suit and round-rimmed glasses,
stood atop a short bluff at the oceanside. Docked before him in the
calm water sat a large sailing vessel -- the Stinky Riverfish. A ramp
led from the ship to shore, and Dardly Bardsfad -- Captain of the ship
-- stepped down to greet the man. A heated conversation was then struck,
and the Captain sought to end it quickly.|
"Okay, look," said Dardly. "Because I like you, I'll make you a deal. I'll ferry you, in my fine vessel, as far as the port of Gwindle, for ... two pigs and an otter."
Dardly's customer took out a notebook and leafed through it, tallying figures out loud, then replied:
"No deal, Captain. I have no otter, as you can plainly see, and I'll need these two pigs to barter a new sail for your boat if we are to go anywhere, as I see your sail is missing."
Dardly looked, and indeed there was no sail furled on the boom.
"There's a reason for that, mister. I traded some barrels of fish liquor for a pair of stoats at my last port. Of course they eventually grew hungry, and ate the sail the night we drew into harbor."
"They obviously weren't boat stoats, then," said the man.
"Quite. I traded them for a goat just this morning--"
"A goat? Well, sir, I'll happily buy your goat for these two swine. Then I won't need your boat, or a sail."
Dardly considered the proposition, then called for two deck-hands who ushered a stubborn billy-goat down the ramp. The smartly-dressed man accepted it with a smile.
"You've got yourself a deal, mister."
"Nice doing business, Captain. Goats are amazing swimmers."
With that, the man handed over the pigs and mounted his new steed. He spurred the goat onward down the bluff, to the water lapping the stones below.
"By the way," the Captain called down. "Where are you heading?"
The man and the goat waded waist-deep into the water, heading out to sea.
"To the promised land! Blub blub blu ..."
And he was gone beneath the ocean.