Fiction LNE
Fiction Friday

The Azores Mystery

Claude looked over the railing of the freighter which looked very much like a donkey. "The sea," he said to himself. "It's many crashing waves. The gulls that soar o'erhead. The crab biting my toes."

"How goes it, matey?" asked the captain. He had great bug feet.

"Middling fair, middling fair, commodore." "Captain, you swine's ass!" the eyepatch-wearing captain shouted.

"Aye," Claude said. "Aye."

Out of the captain's chambers came a black-haired girl with a huge nose. There was one long strand of grey hair coming from her lip. She wore a Champion sweatshirt and sandals. Nothing else.

Both Claude and the captain were naked.

"U.N.C.L.E.?" she said. "I'm tired."

"Go back to bed, Penny," the captain admonished. "We be bein' there soon."

The Azores! Not a gull overhead. Not even one o'erhead. Not a gull to be seen nor a buoy, only a tender piece of driftwood set asail by the random acts of a bored Mother Nature.

"Aye!" The captain shouted. "Clams! Clams!" The captain threw his plate out the starboard porthole. "Blah! I've been eatin' these here clams for forty days and forty nights." The captain looked around. "Penny!"

Penny entered the ship kitchen wearing a new raincoat. She had a coppery tan. Her nose was in a bandage. She'd hit it on the mizzenmast. "Yes U.N.C.L.E.?"

"Bah! BAH! These clams be ruinin' mne appetite. Do uncle a favor and get out ye' fishin' rod. We be feastin' on an enormous trout tonight!"

"Damn this ship!" Claude said. He looked at his suitcase. His shirt, his shoes, his pants, his socks, his tie, his garter belts, his undershirt, his portrait of the queen, his cufflinks, his bra, his Pittsburgh Steelers autographed game jersey, all soaked with brine. "You think you could repair such a simple thing as a leak!"

The captain walked in. "What ye be hollarin' aboot?"

"The ship!" Claude roared. "Look at my case. It's soaked clean through thanks to this here ship!"

The captain took Claude by the bare skin and pushed him against the wall. "That be the last bad word I hear about my ship, you hear? This here ship is getting you where you want to be. This ship is yar. Yar! I tell you. YAR!"

The captain stood in the crow's nest. "Land ho'!" he shouted to Penny. Penny steered the ship towards the land in her new leather vest.

"The Azores!" said the crusty old Captain. And indeed they were the Azores.

Claude quickly got out. "I'll be blasted before I sail with you again! The S. S. Unlikely to Find Inhabitants in the Azores1 is crewed by fools!"

"Arr, ye lubber!" replied the captain, chewing on his pipe cleaners.

Just then, Claude looked around and saw that there!

Engulfed with sorrow and fear, Claude ran threw the town. Pummeling himself with his fists, he wept with rage and shame and ripped off all his clothes, the reminders of his ties with civilization.2 Then he collapsed on the beach and vomited with the pure pain of it. Then he fell asleep.

Later Penny came by in her brand new life jacket. She found him and tenderly dragged him back to the ship.

"There's no one there," he croaked as Penny tried to fit the nozzle of the gas can in down his throat.

"Here, drink this," she soothed. "It'll make you feel better."

He shrugged away her comforts. "Penny," he said, sinking his fingers into her chain-mailed shoulders. "Where are they?"

"Arr," said the weatherbeaten captain, coming in off the poop deck where he spent a great deal of his time. "All signs of life have vanished. What is more, no electricity works. TVs, lights, electric blenders, hair dryers, nothing works."

"Has all humanity vanished? Could we be alone?" said Claude in horror. "Can             it                   be?"

"Merry as can be!" wobbled the small First Mate as he stood next to the captain's chair.

The captain3 (a purple-moustachioed being) said, "Our burglary of the Azores went off without a hitch. Unfortunately we dropped the electrical generator on the way into the ship and all the people ran away."

"Then how will we do our breeding program, Captain?"

"Luckily three people survived. One is too old but the pthers will do nicely. They will be our Adam and Eve, First Mate Glifgu." The captain leaned back in his patent leather easy chair and closed his eyes. "Was it not in Genesis that God said, "Let there be two people, one a man and one a woman, and let them propagate. And from them shall spring a mighty nation."

"So..." breathed the first mate. "...that's very interesting."

"Yes, isn't it?" replied the captain, contentedly, stroking his moustache.

The End

1. This is "foreshadowing." [back]

2. Although it was previously stated that Claude was naked, he had dressed in his best clothes for his arrival in the Azores. [back]

3. Not that captain, another captain. [back]