The other day I had the strangest conversation.
Do you remember it?
It went something like this:
A: I have an idea I’d like to run by you. A proposition, if you will.
A: You know that organization, establishment or enterprise that we’re both a part of?
B: I can’t think what you’re referring to.
A: And you’ve heard, I’m sure that the Tuesday next the whole crew is going on an ice fishing field trip?
B: No, no organization, establishment or enterprise that I’m a member of has mentioned anything about an ice fishing field trip.
A: So my idea is that, well: first you have to remember that I’m going to the South Pacific next week for an old-fashioned four-year South Pacific whaling voyage.
B: Did I know that already?
A: Of course, it’ll be just for a week or three, and whaling’s outlawed now, and we’ll be in a giant steel ship with restaurants, swimming pools, dance halls and other amenities. And we’ll stop in at various port towns for sightseeing and language practice.
B: Sounds more like a modern-day cruise than an 1830s South Pacific whaling voyage. I don’t suppose hardtack or swabbing wooden decks or rowing little wooden boats after giant diving sperm whales will even be options — let alone requirements.
A: Right, so my idea is this: Just for that one day, you and I switch places. So you get to have the day visiting Antigua or Panama, or wherever it is we’ll be not-quite-whaling that day — we can consult the itinerary if you want to know precisely — . Anyway, I’m thinking that Tuesday you can be on the South Seas voyage, and I’ll take your place ice fishing. I’ve never been, you see. And I’ve always wanted to go, you see further.
B: Well, in principle …
A: Yeah? Go on! You were saying!?
B: Yes, in principle, it sounds like a great idea. I’d much rather go to Antigua or Panama
A: (interrupting): No guarantees! We need to look that up! Wish I’d thought to bring the itinerary!
B: The point is, I’d much rather make my way down the Atlantic, into the Caribbean, through the canal, and out into the South Pacific — or to spend a day anywhere along that route — than go ice fishing.
A: OK, we’ve got a deal! Put ‘er there! A shake’s as good as a contract between honest men!
B: My reservation has to do with the logistical details.
A: Oh, got an eye for details do you? If for one second I’d figured you for a nit-picker, I would’ve taken my offer elsewhere!
B: Now just hold on! If you’d simply explain to me how you’re going to transport you from a ship somewhere between Florida and Santiago back here and me from here to that ship — ! That’s all I want to understand.
A: Oh is that all! Easiest thing in the world! Nothing to it! You just leave those little trivialities to me!
B: I mean, we can know — and praise the Lord! it’s truly amazing what God lets technology get away with anymore! — ; that is, I know we can send data around the world in less than a second or so. But I don’t believe there’s currently — and correct me if I’m behind the times here — ; but I’m not aware of a way to zip human beings from one place to another with anything like that kind of speed … I also want to uphold my end of the bargain, and I’ve not heard anything about an ice fishing trip; also it hasn’t been that cold yet and the temperature is supposed to go up into the fifties and low sixties early next week, so I can’t see how there could be any ice for us to fish atop …
A: Forget it! Forget I ever mentioned it! I mistook you for another sort of soul altogether! My mistake!
B: Your offer is too good to pass up, and so I’m more than ready to hear you out. I just can’t understand how this operation is going to work.
A: No worries! Nice to run into you! You’re looking great! I’m sure we’ll run into each other soon enough!
B: OK, sure. Yes, it’s always nice to … have we met before? Anyway, thanks for, um, stopping over to … certainly appreciate you taking the time.
A: Yes indeed, no trouble, fare you well! Sir: Fare You Well!
B: Thanks, you too. Very kind …
Author: Alphabeticus Maximus