November 20, 2008

Yo-ho-ho! and a boatload of oil

WHEN SOMALI pirates operating from little boats seized a huge Saudi supertanker carrying $100 million in crude oil, a little light went on in my head. Those pirates were asking for $25 million in ransom money.

I have a little boat. I could do with $25 million.

Yesterday I motored out into the channel where the supertankers pass by on their way to the refinery. When a nice fat one came along I called her on Channel 13.

“My name is Abu bin Hijakka,” I said.
“Whaddya want?”
“Is this the captain?” I asked. “Avast there! Halt your ship, I’m a pirate.”
“No you’re not.”
“Yes I am.”
“Where are your buccaneers then?”
“There are two possible answers to that. (1) Under me buckin’ hat, and (2) It’s their day off.”
“I don’t believe you. You’re not a pirate, you haven’t got a wooden leg.”
“They don’t make wooden legs these days. They’re all aluminum. You don’t have to varnish them, you see.”
“And where’s your parrot?”
“He drove me mad telling the same joke over and over so I fed him to the cat.”
“What was the joke?”
“Never mind the joke, stop your ship or you’ll be sorry.”
“How sorry?”
“Very, very sorry.”
“I don’t believe you. Can you say Aaargh?”
“No, you said it with four As. That’s wrong. Real pirates say it with only three As.”
“All right then, Aaarg!”
“No, you left the H off. Sorry, you’re a phoney.”
“Am not.”
“I’m a pirate. I know all the words to Eskimo Nell and I’m wearing skull-and-crossbones underpants.”
“Let’s see.”
“No, it’s private.”
“Do you have a union card?”
“A union card?”
“The Pirates’ Union. We only stop the ship for union members. Are you a member?”
“Yes, I’ve got a card.”
“What’s it say on the front?”
“It says National Union of Pirates, Catering Branch.”
“Catering branch?”
“Well, it’s not so much catering as drinking, actually. Rum mostly. Yo–ho-ho and ...”
“Well, I’m very sorry, but we only stop for the Boarding and Fighting Branch, the ones with cutlasses in their teeth and flaming beards.”
“I’ve got a grappling iron under my shirt.”
“What for?”
“What do you mean, what for? Haven’t you ever been grappled?”
“Not really, no. Although once in a pub in Boston, this lady ...”
“Never mind that. Stop your ship immediately.”
“What if I say pretty please?”
“There, I knew you weren’t a pirate. Pirates don’t beg.”
“That’s where you’re wrong. Pirates will do anything for $25 million.”
“Twenty-five million? There’s nothing on this old bucket worth twenty-five million.”
“What about all the oil, then? You know, the light sweet crude.”
“There’s no oil here, matey. This is the ferry to Anacortes.”

Well, it was his lucky day. I gave him a severe talking-to and let him off with a warning. The next one won’t get off so easily, specially now I have discovered that you can use Canned Heat gel to set your beard on fire.

* * *
Today’s Thought
We hang little thieves and take off our hats to great ones. --German proverb.
* * *
California’s wine growers have listened to pleas from senior boatowners who have to make several trips to the head every night.
Vintners in the Napa Valley area, ordinarily producing Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Grigio wines, have now developed a new hybrid grape with anti-diuretic properties that will eliminate the need to visit the head during sleeping hours.
It will be marketed as Pinot More.
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