Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pirate’s Gold

“The yellow-gold of pirate’s gold
is the gleam in the tiger’s eye-
Only fearless dreams can unfold
the sun in a shipwrecked sky.”
From “Goat Dreams” by Polar Knight.

(If you're wondering why poetry is going down the toilet, please check out previous episodes in the Voyage of the Argonaut, a small submarine captained by Pirate Goat into the last frontier - Council Idaho's sewer system and Underworld.)

“But what IS pirate’s gold?” asked Pink Bear in her specially earnest voice. Usually when Pink Bear asks a question like this, the Animals quietly melt away as fast as they can. But, as a pirate, Goat felt it was a Goat’s responsibility to try and explain. So he stayed.

“Pirate's Gold can be Chocolate Coins, Pieces of Eight, Spanish Double Loons,” he began and then stopped. “Spanish Double Loons, of course!” he exclaimed! “HKatz’ quillsprit must be made from the quills of the Double Loon!”

“Double Loon?” Pink Bear asked in wonder, sensing that this was real treasure.

“Yes,” replied Goat. “The Double Loon is extremely rare, it is only to be found at the moment when a Loon pauses to gaze at the reflection of the Moon in the water. No one can measure the value of what happens at that moment! Priceless treasure!”

Goat ran off and only Piggles remained with Pink Bear. “If Eight is Infinity, each Piece of Eight would also be Infinity,” Pink Bear mused as Piggles looked on. "A very advanced form of currency for Monsters," Pink Bear commented in some surprise.

Meanwhile, Dog and Roxy were poring over the map of the sewer that had been discovered in Monster E's Map of the Ancient Near East. They had found the location of the Illinois Storm Drain by this means, but the sewer lines didn’t seem to actually go to that location. Dog had been called in by Roxy from his duties (guarding the Monsters in Big Bed Land) because Dog was familiar with Cultural Archives of all kinds. He dug and dug in the Archive of Council Monster City Council and found what he was looking for.

“What you have there," said Dog, "is an Ancient Map from Council in 1998 when the storm drains still dumped into the sewer. Well, the Council Monster City Council decided that this was putting too much water through the treatment lagoon (‘With cattails festooning its luxuriant edge/ while frog gondoliers sing their songs in the sedge,’ Polar Knight murmured) so they built a separate system for the storm drains."

“Remember?" Dog continued. That was when the Idaho Transportation Oligarchy decreed that Highway 95 would no longer pass through the town. The substructure couldn't be repaired! It was dangerous for school children! They refused to fix it anymore! And they spent millions of dollars designing a new route, doing environmental studies, the City developed new Planning and Zoning documents, an economic impact study was done, businesses closed and left town – and then the Oligarchy changed its mind, remember that? And decreed that it was no longer a problem that the Highway had no substructure and that logging and semi trucks go right past the school playground and have taken the doors off of cars parked in front of the market…”

“Someday,” Polar Knight said, with a dreamy look in his eyes, "Democracy will replace Oligarchy, someday.”

“OK,” Roxy said. “So the sewer no longer meets up with the storm drain on Illinois Street.”

At that moment the Argonaut crashed into something and all the Animals were thrown up into the air, coming down with loud thumps. Goat immediately righted goatself and ran to the monitor for the webcam that Roxy had installed to rotate around the submarine’s hull.

“A pirate’s treasure chest!” Goat announced. “That’s what we ran into. And there’s a fissure in the space time continuum. Rats. Hull breach in 15 minutes.”

Everyone looked at Polar Knight, and not in a very friendly way. Polar Knight explained that he did not invent the pirate chest, he only knew it would appear – the Voyage of the Argonaut is a very ancient story, he said, it has to happen this way.

The Animals advanced on him with a certain degree of urgency, pleading with him to reveal how to get out of this mess! Which threatened to leave them up Poop Creek to the eyeballs!

Then Piggles said, “Oh my, will you look at that. An Apparition. Why, it's the Code Bear herself!”

All the Animals ran to the side of the submarine where she floated, to gaze at the Apparition of Code Bear! As they stood in silence, gazing at this mystery, forgetting all about their possible deaths through sewer submersion, the Argonaut shifted slightly with the redistribution of their weight, and Goat (who was not interested in Apparitions) saw that the treasure chest was opening slightly and revealed –

“Perfume!” he cried out in disgust.

“Leave this to me,” Cleopatra said, and strode regally to the monitor. “The smell is just barely coming through.”
“How can you smell it through all that sewer interference?” Goat asked skeptically.
“Believe me, this is really good perfume. I know.” She inhaled deeply.

“Hull breach in 13 minutes 45 seconds,” said the enticing voice of the ship’s computer, sounding very much like Leon Redbone, Cleopatra’s main boyfriend at the moment. This gave her the confidence to trust her judgment!

“Chanel No. 5,” she announced. “I’m certain of it.”

“Quick,” Roxy said to Acting Communications Officer Pinky, “open a channel!”

“Opening channel number 5,” Pinky announced.

(To Be Continued…)


  1. death by sewer emersion seems a very bad way to fun post. love your stories...

  2. Did not expect the Double Loons. I love them - not only a pun (which are priceless) but the nature of the double loon, you're right, makes them a rare treasure...

    A hull breach, a fissure in space/time, and mysterious perfume... what's going to happen to these creatures next? Recurrent French themes - Chanel (sorry, channel) and the shroud of Marat - and for a few moments I was reading it as if the Code Bear's Apparition was made out of a cloud of perfume... an aromatic specter.

    Whatever happens, one thing I enjoy is that each animal has something to contribute to this voyage, whether it's code-breaking or a good nose for perfume.

    (Also hopefully at some point we'll see more of Goat Dreams as well, because I thought the excerpt given was beautiful.)

  3. Dear Brian,
    I'm so glad you enjoy these stories - and thanks for your visits to P-in-B!

  4. Dear HKatz,
    I'm happy you like the Double Loons - I didn't expect them either! Looks like I might have to write the rest of Goat know, it's funny but I never noticed the French Connection, thought this seems to be creeping into my life lately...

    And yes, Code Bear's apparition had to be made visible by a cloud of perfume - probably out of the kind of perfume spray bottle they used to call an atomizer?

    The Animal community is inspiring to me, too. The way that they have conflict sometimes but always end up finding strength ultimately through their differences is something I hope to learn from, even though a Monster.

    As soon as I know what will happen next, I'll write about it! You are a delightful reader as well as writer.

  5. First time here and boy its cool! Your story is fab!

    The Clean White Page

  6. Thanks Tina!
    I checked out The Clean White Page and really enjoyed "Yellow Fog" and the Eliot connection - great! I'm glad you stopped by.

  7. So now I nominate Goat and Pink Bear as Secretary of the Treasury and Chairman (Chairbear?) of the Federal Reserve, respectively.

    Odd... I was just on HWY 95. Got off to head to Tahoe, though. Didn't quite make it to Idaho.

    Polar Knight doesn't happen to have a screener copy of Clash of the Titans, does he?

  8. Dear JeffScape,
    I congratulate you on your selections for Secretary of the Treasury and Chairbear of the Federal Reserve! (Pink Bear, of course, asks you, "But what IS 'Federal'?")but they're ready to start their duties anytime and assume that their best course of action will be to do nothing at all. Could only be an improvement, n'est-ce pas?

    Next time you're on Highway 95, stop and visit! Or, if you don't have time for that, just get out of the car in a town and jump up and down on a sewer manhole cover - Goat will answer you in code!

    Funny you should mention Clash of the Titans - I'd never seen any of these movies until John moved here with his amazing collection of videos - the Animals LOVE these and we call Ray "Monsterhausen." What lovely Monsters he makes!


    hope that you enjoy my post!

  10. Dear Ji,
    thanks for visiting - and I did enjoy your post - you made yellow sparkle!