Vol. 2, Issue 38, November 16, 2004
The Joy of Liquid Shrimp!
The Dept. of Social Scrutiny

The Art of Improvisation

Ezekiel F. Watley, Esq.

There was the question of whose Leg it was, to begin with. There was the question of how fast to Repair a broken Window in a blustery November. But mostly, there was the question of what to use in order to serve the Glenlivet in, for the dratted thing had positively smashed the only clean set of Tumblers to bits.

The leg, of course, was no longer attached to the Individual in question, or the first question would have been Moot. It was a wooden one of the Knob-footed variety so very Popular with English sailors 'round the turn of the Century, looking quite a Bit the worse for wear. But what to serve the Drinks in, by thunder? My esteemed Guest would be arriving any Minute.

The Pencil-cup contains a bit of Detritus at the bottom; the broken leads give a distinctly unhealthy Cast to the normally smooth golden tones of this fine Scotch. The Flower-Vase, similarly, is rather too full of Plant-matter to succeed as a Drinking Vessel; and I am rather Fond of the arrangement. So! - my search continues apace.

I suppose one might Normally be concerned when a wooden leg sails through your Window and lands upon your Desk unannounced. But by Thunder, I have obligations as a Host which take precedence over Personal concerns. I seriously consider divesting one of the Pickle Jars of its model Ship, but cannot Countenance the wanton destruction of my little bottled Fleet; not even for an honored Guest.

Impatiently I move the leg to the Umbrella-stand, where it rests with its intricate Carvings and the ivory-handled Knife protruding from its length: but I have no Time for such trivial details. Hmm. Come to think of it, perhaps an Umbrella, opened carefully, might make an appropriate Cup? No, judicious Experimentation convinces me that this is Patently Unwise. The clock, perhaps? The mantel-clock, certainly not; but the Art-Deco one on my Desk might serve. Alas, I have but the One though, and it would be Impolite to let my guest drink Alone.

As I search, I essay to tidy Up the place a bit. Broken tumblers in the Bin, window-glass under the Rug. A stray bit of Note-paper, formerly transfixed to the wooden Leg by the aforementioned Knife, with some Writing or other all over it. I stuff it in the Umbrella-stand and continue my Search for suitable Cups. Some of my extra Pipes? - Even if they did Not smell quite of Tobacco, they are far too Small for a respectable Dram.

At last, the Solution, like the Purloined Letter, stands before me, plain as Day. When my guest arrives, we shall each partake Directly from our Own bottles of the Glenlivet, with all due Apologies for the "rough and tumble" nature of the Accommodations. My guest is a Singular conversationalist; it promises to be an Interesting morning.

Say, what the deuce is that in my Umbrella-stand?


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