Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Last Lunch on the Argonaut

As you may recall from the last episode, the small Animal submarine called the Argonaut had picked up a coded message in the form of a tea towel. The Argonaut was making its approach to the storm drain on Illinois Street by way of the sewer main when Cultural Archivist Dog discovered that Captain Goat's charts were old - ancient in fact- and that storm drains no longer connected with the sewer system! Meanwhile, the tea towel was successfully decoded with the help of Lefty, Piggles, Intelligence Officer Bink, Cleopatra and her great understanding of perfume, and the mysterious, possibly French, Code Bear! Mais oui, c'est vrai! Communications Officer (aka Your Hostess Pinky) was tuning into Chanel No. 5 when we left our brave Animal crew...

As soon as Communications Officer Pinky tuned in, an eerie wailing song filled the little submarine. For a moment no one spoke - nothing like this had ever been heard in Big Bed Land- frightening, and yet fatally attractive. Bink was about to say how strange police sirens sounded when resonating down a storm drain and through the sewer pipes, almost like a giant pipe organ, when he suddenly felt an irresistable desire to leave the submarine. Others felt it too, and Polar Knight began shouting, "Everyone cover your ears! And tie me to the mast!"

He spoke with such urgency that the Animals obeyed instantly and covered their ears. In pantomime and with his ears covered, Bink pointed out that there was no mast on a submarine. Polar Knight indicated that the shaft of the periscope would do. The periscope was quivering in the waves of sound that flooded Polar Knight with a strange destructive ecstasy and they lashed the poet to it, holding the ropes in their teeth so they could keep their ears covered. Alas, the crew was not fitted out with ear-plugs as the wise old ancients were! Cleopatra was the only one who could listen to the Sirens singing without any difficulty. She listened intently, and never spoke of what she heard.

Goat, however, as captain, went to the little box reading: In Case of Emergency Break Glass and immediately put on the earmuffs that were inside the box. He did all he could to keep the submarine from smashing into what was once the connecting pipe to from the storm drain to the sewer main as the Sirens lashed the water into sound and fury!

Polar Bink, as an experienced poet, knew that Sirens were creatures of ecstasy - destructive through no real fault of their own. They didn't harm themselves in the ecstatic longing they engendered, and didn't really understand that sailors couldn't breathe in the atmosphere they created. Even if they had known, it wouldn't have made them stop. Wild longing hurt them no more than a flower is hurt when releasing fragrance. The Sirens were only mildly perplexed by the motionless bodies that gathered in their wake. Why do sailors want to play and then go motionless like that? they wondered briefly, not being, themselves, subject to death. They just shrugged and went on. They never stay in one place for long.

And this is exactly what happened - in a few moments (though it seemed far longer to the Animals) the Sirens moved on and the submarine was released from the pulsing waves that throbbed with a song of unearthly beauty. Goat thought this was due to his navigation, and Polar Knight let him continue in this belief. Polar Knight didn't care about glory, being a poet (of course, at that moment, forgetting about all the times he had cared intensely about glory) and having just had an experience the likes of which few poets ever really knew. Would he ever recover? Was he changed forever? These were questions that only the future could answer...

One problem he hadn't considered when the Animals had tied him up - how do you tell the crew they can uncover their ears when you are lashed to a periscope? He yelled and wriggled and no one noticed, they were still dashing from porthole to porthole. Finally Goat saw the poet's mouth moving and cautiously removed the earmuffs of command. The two Animals shared a moment of quiet triumph before approaching the other Animals with the news of victory.

The Animals were thrilled and also very hungry.

"What's for lunch?" they cried.

Goat thought hard for a moment. "Well, all we have left is emergency rations."

The Animals groaned. What they didn't know was that Goat always laid in a supply of everyone's absolutely most favorite food for starvation rations. He had decided that if you get to the point of using them, that's when you really need a boost. Since the Argonaut would be home in an hour, they might as well celebrate, he thought, and have starvation rations. He was sure that his own starvation lunchbox was packed with a complete picnic - veggieburger, potato salad, chips, pickles, and strawberry rhubarb pie.

Goat hid his own disappointment goatfully. There had been no mention of the Golden Eye-Patch at all. Well, he knew he didn't really deserve it. And he wouldn't let his disappointment spoil anybody's lunch. That's how a true captain acted. But he wasn't really sure he wanted a picnic anymore. Then he felt surrounded suddenly by the presence of the Code Bear herself! "When you come home," she whispered, "you will have all that you desire."

"Huh," Goat thought to himself in some disgust. "That's not French- I understood it perfectly and I don't speak French. She's not French after all, what a bunch of nonsense all that is, how can Animals believe in this kind of thing. I know that wasn't French - unless - but I thought the Universal Translator was on the blink - it can't be working..." And so Goat went to check out the Universal Translator, feeling like a true captain once again.


  1. Hello BBL Friends! Long time, no see!

    We are in awe of your adventures in the sewer-drain and don't mind telling you that we are coveting your starvation rations lunch - everything about it has our tastebuds watering!

    Bink - You are such a pragmatist! Good for you (on that mast-thing).

    We need to catch up on all your adventures (but that may take some time).


    P-kat and the Hyggegang!

  2. Goat here, dear Poetikat the Honored and the Fair-
    I too have been missing your adventures lately and hope to catch up. We're on the home stretch now. Monster E. and Polar Knight wishing you the best as always!

  3. Mmm. Strawberry and rhubarb pie? I picked up some rhubarb for a cake this weekend. Love the enigmatic tea towel.

  4. Rhubarb cake? This sounds delicious, I'll have to explore further. Really the only thing I do with rhubarb is pie - I freeze it for winter pies - but I always have more growing than I use. Thanks for visiting!

  5. That bejeweled lunchbox is delightful!

    And there are many treats in this post - the sirens (and getting lashed to the periscope); and Cleopatra's immunity... I also laughed at the starvation rations rationale (if it's your last meal, let's make it a good one and keep morale up).

    It would be interesting to get in the minds of Polar Knight and Cleopatra and see what comes of their exposure to the sirens. The description of the sirens was beautiful (that explanation too, of what they are and why they sing and their reactions to the dead sailors... I'm seeing the sirens in a new and interesting way as a result).

  6. My dear Pinky and fellow P-in-B-ers! I have, of course, been following your adventures quite closely and ought to register my presence more often. I am amazed by the bravery of the submarine crew and by how much you can accomplish before lunch!

    I, too, am a lover of the jewel-encrusted lunchbox. I'm sure the Sirens found it irresistible.

    Goat deserves rich treasures and much acclaim. I'll be back to see what happens next, for sure!

  7. What a lot of fun. I really enjoyed this. Have you ever thought of writing children's books?
    Happy TT

  8. Dear HKatz,
    I have thought of the Sirens in many different ways since the heady days of discovering feminist theory in the 80s and interacting with women of myth like the Sirens, Medusa, Artemis in a very different way than I had been introduced to them in the more traditional and sanctioned approaches of my encounter with education. At first, I saw most of the murderous women of myth/history as consciously and understandably vengeful. Later I preferred the idea that they were just being Sirens, with no agenda relative to men. At this point, I'm thinking more about cycles of identity rather than any single, fixed identity.

    When I lived in Brazil I was fascinated by Imeja - an African/indigenous/Catholic entity in a panoply of entities - associated with the sea and the moon, and having both Virgin Mother and Siren attributes - she "lures" sailors to their death through her beauty, but their deaths in the flower of their manhood are made meaningful by her personal assurance of eternal love.

    She is not usually pictured with a lunchbox, but a celebration in her honor involves casting cosmetics, flowers, and perfume into the sea. I think the jeweled lunchbox would be a fitting offering.

    I have this feeling that I will go into the mind of Cleopatra as you suggest - whether I'll be brave enough to post the results is another question! Thanks as always for your visits.

  9. Dear Aunt Phoenix this is Pinky,
    I know you're with us on these adventures, it's just sometimes I miss you. Especially when the Animals are really involved in a problem. You are so right about the Animals accomplishing a lot before lunch! When they are on the go like this it can be a bit scary! And your presence is soothing. By the way, Monster E. picked out that jeweled lunch box for me when she was shopping images for all our lunchboxes. Just thought you might want to know. You can borrow it anytime you'd like.

  10. Dear Dreamhaven,
    what a lovely thing to say! I've always thought my adventures with the Animals were kind of too adult for children and too childlike for adults, but maybe not.

  11. i like the skull and crossbones lunch box... but i wonder what the schools would think if a kid cruised in with one...

  12. I think that if the kid was also carrying an Animal like Goat it would alter how the lunchbox came across...thanks for visiting!

  13. united as one,
    what fantastic theme post,
    vivid and enjoyable!


    in case you wonder about mine,
    here is the link,
    Happy Saturday!