Silly Short Stories #1

 HOW A POUND BECAME KNOWN AS A QUID

By Simon J Tatt

Captain George Leaning commanded his ship with a salty, iron-fisted discipline that often prompted a swift retort from those in charge at London`s Office of Blue Water Sailing and Vessels that move Forwards at the Speed of a Trout. L.O.B.W.S.V.F.S.T for short. A rejoinder so strong in some instances that many a dignitary had packed up his or her toiletries and fled the mariner`s life forever.

The LOBFST office as it was more commonly reffered to would reverberate with the irate rantings of the admiral in charge, Admiral Gogg:

“How dare that fish-encrusted scoundrel swear at his sailors the way he does. He`ll have to answer to me and my cricket bat i tell thee”, expostulated the creaky admiral.

He had attended a rather ancient preparatory school during his early teens and was thus accustomed to using some of the old language in his dialogue.

It was standard custom for ships that carried purple sails to leave harbour first as it was widely believed that the colour purple  attracted mice.

After two years at sea, Captain George Leaning decided to pay his men a small sum of money that they could use to rattle around in jars to scare away penguins. Penguins have been known to take control of ships, especially ships that might contain within their holds, sausages or tinned mackeral.

The coins that were used for naval pay were made from iron and of course, after a week or two, would start to rust. This would not have been too much of a problem except for the fact that rust gives off a reddish oxide which could be visible for yards around and would thus be useless in instances where stealth and disguise were the order of the day.

Captain Leaning retired to his cabin and thought long and hard about what he could use as a replacement for the trusted coin of  choice in use at that time, the `Rusting Ruble`.

After much thunking (thinking in the past tense) the bespectacled sea-dog of a prep school upbringing decided that the best coin for use as sailor payment would indeed be the recently introduced one pound coin. Of course this would have to be approved by the Bank of Finland – the Bank of England was on holiday for a month and the Bank of Finland was the closest sounding (phonetically) –  and LOBFST needed to give approval too, and as soon as possible.

“Hark at thy black and white vertical beaked creatures attempting to take over the forecastle!” screeched Leaning, referring to an imminent penguin attack.

“A vast there thee dingbats and shake y`re  Rusty Rouble jars!”  The ensuing racket was enough to drive off all but one brave bird who decided that it was far better to remain on deck than to dive overboard and risk a clout from his penguin grandmother who often chaperoned him on his attempted forecastle take-overs.

Such was the success of the thwarted take-over due to pound coin rattling, that Admiral Gogg immediately sent orders that all ships in the Royal Navy should from thence on rattle one pound coins in glass jars to get rid of penguins as well as the second most dangerous invader, the deep sea squid.  

In mid-Atlantic, squid were known to scuttle up to the top of the masts of vessels sailing south and very rudely excrete long streaks of purple wee down the length of the foresail and mainsail alike.

This purple staining of the sails led to a misbelief that all ships crews were in fact signalling to attract mice. This of course was untrue….most of the time.

The embarrassment and ridicule that followed was not readily tolerated by the London Office of Blue Water Sailing and Vessels that move Forwards at the Speed of a Trout…L.O.B.W.S.V.F.S.T for short.

It wasn`t long before the Royal Navy put two and two together …. and got six. Drop the `s` from the title of the ten-tentacled taciturn tyrants and call a pound a quid.  

THE END

Silly Short Stories #1  “HOW A POUND BECAME KNOWN AS A QUID”  is copyrighted to the author, Simon J Tatt. No persons may reproduce any part of the story in any way for the purposes of financial gain or for any other reasons without the express permission of Simon J Tatt. Law 6785/67 of the Writers Code 2009 protects the above mentioned work and any infringement thereof will result in a fine of $20 000 and/or a jail term of between 5 and 7 years.

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~ by Simon Tatt on February 20, 2010.

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