Vol. 4, Issue 3, March 28, 2006
The Joy of Liquid Shrimp!

I Seem to Have A Lovely Bunch of Cocoanuts

Ezekiel F. Watley, Esq.

Readers will no doubt recall that I am rather fond of the noble Nut, a delectable treat made much More so by my discovery that one need not employ the family Nut-cracker to partake of this seasonal Treat. However, there are nuts and then there are Nuts, and I confess that it was with a Slight amount of consternation that I faced my most recent shell-related challenge: the crate of Cocoanuts which found its way to my Office last week.

This thoughtful Christmas present made its way with only a Slight delay courtesy of my ersatz partner in Law, Jonas Oldham. I still have No idea where the rascal is, or what he is Up to, for the card is a maddening exemplar of Brevity. I confess I was not sure What to expect upon opening the battered Crate (using one of my Sturdier walking-sticks as a Crow-bar); exotic Liquors? Obscure news-paper Clippings? Perhaps Oldham himself? But no: a small forest of brown-tufted ovals gazed up at me Instead, mutely proclaiming their Tropical origin.

Well. I was somewhat taken Aback, and did wonder at first What I would do with fifty pounds of Cocoanuts. But one must Seize the Moment, as it were; it has been many a Year since last I sampled such fare! I determined not to let Oldham's enigmatic gift go to Waste, and placed one of the brown Orbs upon my desk. The next question, naturally, was how to go about Opening the thing.

My office is Replete with several implements potentially Suitable for the job. The iron-tipped Walking-stick which served me so well in opening the Crate is the first called to duty. Alas, it has less luck with this doughty Shell. Each of the Walking-sticks is tried in Turn, with equal results, alas. Well: I am not inclined to beat around the Bush this morn. Great-uncle Elijah's cutlass is surely a tool that shall not Fail me here! I am not as practiced as He was in his heyday, but I can surely manage to chop a Cocoanut in two: hey presto... Zounds, the blade has stuck Fast in the shell. Thinking quickly, I give the cutlass a good Flailing about. The cocoanut is dislodged! However, it is dislodged out the Window (most fortunately Open this day). A quick peek to ensure that no one was Hurt convinces me that the only casualty is the Sidewalk in front of the News-stand. I take a Fresh cocoanut out of the crate and ponder anew my Dilemma.

Aha: surely it is Fire which elevates Man above the animal kingdom! So shall this fundamental tool of Civilization serve me now. I carefully place the Cocoanut atop the blazing Logs in the Fire-place (we have a roaring fire today in anticipation of much Mail to dispose of). I now need but wait Patiently for the shell to gently Crack, and the meat within shall be Mine (lightly Toasted to boot!)

But I have perhaps underestimated the Ferocity of the blaze today: the shell does not gently Rupture, but Explodes with a resounding bang! Dutiful Elisabeth is on the scene in No time, asking after my well-being and assessing the Damage; even slothful Ephram is moved to rouse himself from his preprandial Nap and poke his head in the door.Inspiration strikes! "Ephram, my boy," I say with as much Dignity as I can muster while removing bits of Cocoanut-shell from my Waistcoat; "Do you see that crate of Cocoanuts there? You may have," I say with a hushed tone, "whatever Money you may find hidden within those cocoanuts."

My timing is Perfect, for Ephram is awake enough to Seize the opportunity but not quite Wary enough to wonder how any funds could have been hidden within the Cocoanuts to begin with. Within ten minutes the entire contents of the Crate have been cracked and my nephew is poking Despondently through the remains of the shells. I unobtrusively slip a Five-dollar bill into the mix for him to Find, lest he be Entirely disappointed; and as he dances into the News-room whooping with Glee over the minor find, I graciously offer some Cocoanut to doughty Elisabeth, shaking her head at the fiendish plots of the old Man.

Oldham, you scoundrel... I have just remembered that I do not Like cocoanuts.

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