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Tales From Beyond The Enchanted Prong Hills

The Star That Lost Its Twinkle

Mike

Page 2



  

Meanwhile, the first night watch had commenced on the Cheese Grater. Captain Sausage was discussing duty rosters and Mongolian influences in neo-Georgian architecture with his first officer, Mister Mash.
"And put Smithers in charge of the pencil sharpener," said Sausage.
"Aye aye, skipper," said Mash, "Will that be all, sir?"
"Yes, I think so. Thank you Mister Mash."
"Sir."
"Oh, just one more thing."
"Yes, sir?"
"One of the stars in the Earwig isn't twinkling," said Sausage, "Could you see to it?"
"Sir?" said Mash a little confused.
"A star in the Earwig, Jamie I think it is. Not twinkling tonight. Have one of the men put it right."
"You want me to get a star to twinkle?" said Mash incredulously.
"That's right," said Sausage, "Can't have stars not twinkling. Sign of a sloppy sky."
"Sir, may I point out," Mash began, "that stars are huge gaseous bodies thousands of light years away which generate radiation by the thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen plasma into helium at temperatures of several million degrees. What do you expect me to do - put a match to it?"
"Good idea," said Sausage, "See to it at once."
"But I can't!" Mash gibbered.
"Can't, Mash, can't?" said Sausage, "I gave you an order, man. Now carry it out or I'll have you keel-hauled."
"Yessir!"
"Oh, and Mash . . ."
"Sir?"
"Nice laces."
"Oh, er, thank you sir."
"Barratts?"
"Freeman Hardy Willis, sir."
"Excellent," said Captain Sausage, "Lovely brown colour, but wouldn't suit my brogues."
"No sir."

Now, being a well organised ship, the Cheese Grater had its natural pecking order as determined by rank. And when it came to pecking, First Officer Mash was not going to be out-pecked by anybody, least of all someone who can't find any decent shoe laces.
"Bosun!" he cried.
"Aye, Mister Maaash," responded the ship's bosun who was busily trying to extract the name of a decent tailor from an unwilling eel.
"That constellation," barked Mash pointing towards the Earwig, "is a disgrace to the night sky! Get that star's twinkle fixed immediately!"
"That thaar's young Jamie, that be," replied the bosun wistfully.
"And his twinkle's not up to the captain's satisfaction. See to it at once!"
"Jamie's lorrst 'is twinkle."
"That's right, bosun, and it needs fixing."
"Can't fix something that's lorrst," said the bosun.
"Why not?"
"You'll 'arf to foind it first 'fore y'can fix it."
"Find it?" said Mash, "Find Jamie's twinkle? Where?"
"If y'knew thaat, it wouldn't be lorrst now, would it?"
"Well . . . well, keep an eye out for it," said Mash, "There's a good fellow."

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