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The Anchor Shop

Oct 24, 2012

(A customer walks in the door of a ship's chandlery.)

Customer: Good morning.

Owner: Good morning, sir. Welcome to the National Anchor Emporium!

Customer: Ah thank you my good man.

Owner: What can I do for you, sir?

C: Well, I was, uh, sitting at the dock on Coburg Wharf just now, skimming through “Poems, Series 3” by Emily Dickinson, and I suddenly came over all rudderless.

O: Rudderless, sir?

C: A'sea.

O: Eh?

C: 'Ee I were all adrift-like!

O: Ah, untethered!

C: In a nutshell. And I thought to myself, 'a little maritime mechanical security will do the trick', so, I curtailed my Dickinsonian activities, sallied forth, and infiltrated your place of purveyance to negotiate the vending of some benthic commodities!

O: Come again?

C: I want to buy an anchor.

O: Oh, I thought you were complaining about the concertina player!

C: Oh, heaven forbid: I am one who delights in all manifestations of the pelagic muse!

O: Sorry?

C: 'Ooo, Ah lahk a nice ditty, 'yer forced to!

O: So he can go on playing, can he?

C: Most certainly! Now then, an anchor please, my good man.

O: Certainly, sir. What would you like?

C: Well, eh, how about a small Herreshoff.

O: I'm, a-fraid we're fresh out of Herreshoffs, sir.

C: Oh, never mind, how are you on the U.S.N.?

O: I'm afraid we never have them at the end of the season, sir, we get a new shipment in the spring.

C: Tish tish. No matter. Well, stout yeoman, 45 pounds of CQR, if you please.

O: Ah! It's beeeen on order, sir, for two weeks. Was expecting one this morning.

C: 'T's Not my lucky day, is it? Aah, Bijers Long Island?

O: Sorry, sir.

C: Delta?

O: Normally, sir, yes. Today the van broke down.

C: Ah. Fluke?

O: Sorry.

C: Bruce? Claw?

O: No.

C: A German Bügelanker, per chance?

O: No.

C: Northill?

O: No.

C: Admiralty?

O: No.

C: Speck?

O: No.

C: Gruson?

O: No.

C: Trolling Sea?

O: No.

C: Fisherman’s Kedge?

O: No.

C: Mud weight?

O: No.

C: Matrosov, Bulwagga, Wasi, New Zealand Rocna, Hall, Union, AC14, Pool?

O: No.

C: French Spade, perhaps?

O: Ah! We have a French Spade, yessir.

C: You do! Excellent.

O: Yessir. It's ah... it's a bit rusty.

C: Oh, I like it rusty.

O: Well,.. It's very rusty, actually, sir.

C: No matter. Fetch hither the ancre de la Belle France qui s’appel bêche!

O: I...think it's a bit rustier than you'll like it, sir.

C: I don't care how oxidationally rusty it is. Hand it over with all speed.

O: Oooooooooohhh!

C: What now?

O: The catboat’s taken it.

C: Has it?

O: She, sir.

C: Deadweight?

O: No.

C: HYD?

O: No.

C: Byzantine Stone Basket?

O: No.

C: Mediterranean Three Hole?

O: No.

C: Japanese Stockless?

O: No sir.

C: You... do have anchors, don't you?

O: Of course, sir. It's a chandlery, sir. We've got-

C: No no... don't tell me. I'm keen to guess.

O: Fair enough.

C: Uuuuuh. Wasteneys Smith?

O: Yes?

C: Ah, well, I'll have one of those!

O: Oh! I thought you were talking to me, sir. Mister Wasteneys-Smith, that's my name.

(pause)

C: Athenian Sacra?

O: Uh, not as such.

C: Uuh, Captain Rodgers?

O: No

C: Trotman?

O: No.

C: W.L. Byers?

O: No

C: Baldt?

O: No

C: Mushroom?

O: No

C: Screw?

O: No

C: Indonesian jangkar?

O: Not -today-, sir, no.

(pause)

C: Aah, how about a Danforth?

O: Well, we don't get much call for them around here, sir.

C: Not much ca--It's the single most popular anchor in the world!

O: Not 'round here, sir.

C: (slight pause) and what IS the most popular anchor 'round hyah?

O: Martin-Adelphi, sir.

C: IS it.

O: Oh, yes, it's staggeringly popular at the yacht club.

C: Is it.

O: It's our number one best seller, sir!

C: I see. Uuh... Martin-Adelphi, eh?

O: Right, sir.

C: All right. Okay. 'Have you got any?' He asked, expecting the answer 'no'.

O: I'll have a look, sir.. nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnno.

C: It's not much of a chandlery, is it?

O: Finest on the coast sir!.

C: Explain the logic underlying that conclusion, please.

O: Well, it's so clean, sir!

C: It's certainly uncontaminated by anchors.

O: (brightly) You haven't asked me about a Killick, sir.

C: Would it be worth it?

O: Could be.

C: Have you --SHUT THAT BLOODY CONCERTINA OFF!

O: Told you sir...

C: (slowly) Have you got a Killick?

O: No.

C: Figures. Predictable, really I suppose. It was an act of purest optimism to have posed the question in the first place.....Tell me:

O: Yessir?

C: Have you in fact got any anchors here at all?

O: Yes, sir.

C: Really?

(pause)

O: No. Not really, sir.

C: You haven't.

O: No sir. Not a scrap. I was deliberately wasting your time, sir.

C: Well I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to shoot you.

O: Right-o, sir.

 

With apologies to Graham Chapman and John Cleese

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