Liber Jonae CAPUT EIGHT Page 23



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Your curses, parrot, achieve mixed results.

However, a kind of salvation arrived.
My luck, which had preceded me out of town,
Had left me a tiny farewell gift.
There, centered in the square, a ship was placed,
And though far from sea its oars were manned
And sails unfurled, set for starboard tack.
And just what is this? I queried myself,
Psalmanaazaar's tomb in the Viking style,
A momument to a naval victory,
A small maritime museum, maybe,
Or is it some seafood restaurant?
Noting my interest, a salesman came,
Clad in hipwaders, over from the ship,
And filled me in on what was going on.
The ship is an exhibit for the Boat Show
Held at the Nineveh Convention Centre,
A Phoenician triereme, complete with crew,
An armed marine battalion, galley slaves,
New oars, fully rigged, fully equipped,
And fully laden with precious cargo.
It flies a Liberian flag of convenience
And its hull has been underwritten by Lloyd's.
And the ship can be yours for a bargain price,
A show special, valid only today.

What cargo's carried? I asked, intrigued.

Leather jackets, baled, consigned by the King.

His price came down, as I told him it must,
After I sang him a familiar refrain.
I considered the price a moment or two.
Having a yacht would be nice, also handy,
But I'd become a trifle self-indulgent.
Could I really afford a major purchase?
Here I was, facing early retirement,
Having spent my money like it was water,
And with nothing to show for it but headaches.
What if the economy took a downturn?
I'd soon regret such great extravagance.
But didn't wise men say live for the day,
Today brings goods, tomorrow bailiffs,
Grab fruit, spend the loot while you have it,
Lest cops catch you and take it all back?

I'll take the ship, I said. I'll give you cash.
Sorry, but all I have on me is fifties.



End of Caput 8


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