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Published April 16, 2011
Long before the days of rocket planes and microwave sauces, people lived a simpler existence of hard work, connection with nature and early death. Sturdy men with broad shoulders and beards yellow from pipe smoke sailed to sea and brought home its bounty in the way of crab and lobster and fishes with many fine names. These men would board their craft (called ‘boats’ by some, ‘floating whore houses’ by others) and head out over the ocean’s waves. They wore fine dark coats and caps set at jaunty angles; and they drank and swore and fought and drank, so that their children would someday know that their fathers had spent one night conceiving them before disappearing. 

One such man was Hark Tugtally; tall and straight with a shock of red hair and a fiery disposition. He not only worked on his boat, The Slow Leek, but he lived there as well. It was a cold morning in October when he began preparations to start making ready for arranging to launch. He hafted the lumsel and set his course. Then as he made his way to the cockbun he noticed something was missing. In the place where he always stored it was nothing but vacant space. Something had happened to his wank. 

It was the sailor’s worst nightmare (after the one about the giant sea fist) losing his wank; for it was the wank that kept him on the beam and made him a sailor in the first place. No seaman worth his salt (8 pounds) would leave shore without his wank, and no sailor in the world could function properly if he’d lost his. 

Hark searched frantically but came up empty-handed. He lifted the hib and fustered the glamson, but to no avail. His wank was missing and he felt like half a man without it. As he made his way to the wheelhouse, he grabbed his nuts. Doing this always calmed him. He opened the sack and popped one of his nuts in his mouth. 

“Where could my wank be?” he asked aloud, sucking on a nut. “I know I had it in my hand last time I docked.” He sat on the old bucket that served as a chair and busted open another nut. “Did I toss my wank to Dick yesterday?” He wondered. Dick Holder was a good friend and had recently seen some trouble with his dinghy. Hark recalled helping Dick rub off a barnacle or two. Perhaps his wank was with Dick. He decided to head over and ask. 

Dick Holder was dead; Hark’s wank lodged in his throat. Police Inspector Plotdevice was already on the scene. 

“Ah, Captain Tugtally. Just the seaman I wanted.” Said the Inspector. “What do you know about this?” He pointed at the limp form of Dick. 

“Oh my word!” Hark said, “I can’t believe it. What happened?” 

“It looks like someone tried to force-feed him your wank.” The Inspector replied. 

“Well, it is my wank. Those are my initials on the shaft.” 

“We figured that,” Said Plotdevice, “I was just about to head over to your slip and question you, but now that you’re here, I need you to speak up.” 

“I didn’t kill him.” Hark said, and I’ve been spending all morning looking for my wank.” He paused and took a breath. “I thought maybe I’d loaned it to poor old Dick here. I was coming by to grab it when I saw you.” 

“Well, case closed then.” said the Inspector. “It’s a clear this was an accidental death.” Plotdevice smiled. “Take your wank out of his mouth and head on home. We’ll finish up here and let people get back to work.” And with that the Inspector waited for Hark to retrieve his wank before rolling Dick over the side of the wharf and into the ocean. 

Captain Hark Tugtally returned to his boat, cleaned his wank, gripped it tight and pulled out. 
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