Monday, April 23, 2007


By Doreen McClure

"It's quite simple, really," Doctor Fitzgibbons explained, removing his stethoscope. "Your wife has a minor skin infection. That's the cause of all this itching and discoloration."

"Oh really?" Glenn said, rolling his eyes. "That's your diagnosis, is it?" The doctor noticed that Glenn made quotation-mark signs with his fingers when he said "diagnosis."

"Yes," Fitzgibbons replied. "I recommend a course of antibiotics and plenty of rest. She should be fine in a week or so."

Glenn turned to his fellow townsfolk. "Antibiotics and rest," he sneered. The crowd burbled with laughter. "Antibiotics," someone shouted. "What a silly word!"

The doctor was perplexed.

"Look here," Glenn said. "We know you arrived last week aboard the Ship of Fools, so if it's all the same to you, we'll just do things our way, got it?"

"What does it matter that I arrived on the Ship of Fools?" the doctor protested. "It's just a name." Scarcely had the words left his mouth, however, when Captain Nibblets appeared in the town square, furiously waving his fancy pink yachting cap.

"Ahoy, ahoy!" the captain cried. "I'm ever so hungry. Someone fetch me a fresh ape salad at once!" Soon his first mate and boatswain showed up, and as they dismounted the Irish Wolfhound they had been trying to ride, it became apparant that each grinning man's codpiece had been fashioned from pieces of actual cod.

Glenn gave Fitzgibbons a look. Then, ignoring the doctor's protests, he proceeded to apply a poultice of sulphur and horse excrement to his wife's cheeks and feet. After that, leeches were inserted into her nostrils. When the woman began to scream and flail her arms, Glenn and the town cobbler helped her to her feet.

"Now run!" the cobbler advised Glenn's wife. "Run in a circle until you collapse!" Bernice took off in a frantic gallop, and Captain Nibblets and the rest of his crew gathered to watch.

"Hooray, hooray!" the captain cried. "Now the funny lady's off to find my lunch!"

(Author and Nova Scotia native Doreen McClure has been a seafarer's wench for more than 20 years.)


wilson said...

if the ship of fools made port in my fair city... well hell, i'd be impressed, we're landlocked.

Doreen McClure (author) said...

Funny you should mention that, my landlocked friend. My next short story will be titled "Airship of Fools," so there is hope for you yet!