Friday 20 May 2011


An assembled crowd of more than 1,000 roared in excitement as Singbad the Sailor launched his grand expedition into the unknown, braving killer whales, pirates and ship-munching sea dragons on a five-year-long epic expedition. It would be the journey to end all journeys, a fact-finding mission of monumental proportions, especially since it was mostly funded by a seedy underground starfish club. "Bring many back," they threatened, "or this trip may well be your last." I would have taken them seriously, too, for they possessed many a sharp object which could easily be inserted about one's person.

As SS Hammenegger left port, Singbad had a niggling feeling he had forgotten something. "Never mind," he said out loud to a bemused shipmate, "it can't have been that important." It later turned out to be his watch, the absence of which would ensure the trip lasted 75% longer than expected. Nevertheless, hopes were high for another successful expedition under the Great Singbad.

After two weeks, however, things took a turn for the worse as the Pacific conditions became highly uncomfortable, heavy rain and high winds rendering the ship almost impossible to keep under control.

"Maybe we should do something to appease the gods, perhaps offer a song of pleading," suggested Ballwash, that captain's right hand man. "Capital idea," responded Singbad, scrambling around his cabin for the guitar he had been saving for just this occasion.

All hands were hastily summoned to the captain's quarters for a mass sing-song. But as Singbad stroked the strings of his guitar, it immediately became evident from its unpleasant, discordant tones that the instrument was wildly out of tune.

"Not to worry, I have an idea," piped Ballwash, who immediately donned his swimming costume and jumped into the freezing waters below. Everyone looked on in awe as he emerged less than thirty seconds later holding a large fish which he proceeded to drag aboard.

"What on earth is this?" Singbad ventured as Ballwash handed over his catch. "I think it's fairly obvious," came the reply, "that it's a tuner fish."

And with that, Harry Yack was shot dead.

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