Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Rx, Arrr, Sartre

Child-Prodigy Chemist: Stop standing up and yelling “Ahoy, ye maties” at every inverse light refraction. You’ll tip us over, you spaz.

Well Mannered Pirate: Narr, ’tis you that be the spaz, but what pray tell am I?

Jean-Paul Sartre: [Sighs and lights his pipe.] “Anything, anything would be better than this agony of mind, this creeping pain that gnaws and fumbles and caresses one and never hurts quite enough.” Anything but sharing this lifeboat with you two idiotes, of course.

Chemist: Idiots? Well … I am elasticized hydrocarbon polymer latex, and you are contact adhesive; thus what rebounds from my permeable surface membrane adheres to your permeable surface membrane.

Pirate: Speakin’ o’ surfaces and the like, why don’t you turn your hand to a bit o’ rowing, Lord Frenchy? All ye seem to do is sigh and lay about, then rock us to an’ fro when ye lean past to get at me grog.

Sartre: Ha ha, my fetide ami, to quote myself, “Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat,” yes? But since I also said that “all human actions are equivalent, and all are on principle doomed to failure,” why row in the first place? It is better to enjoy my pipe and the last of your rum—swill that it is—than exert myself and cause even greater anguish.

Chemist: At least stop coating me with your exfoliants. You’ve got contagious dermal parasites.

Sartre: Quoi?

Chemist: You’ve got cooties.

Sartre: The cooties!? No, no, it is the unwashed corsaire who carries the cooties, not moi.

Pirate: Narr, I might be a bit ripe after a few days adrift, but I pride meself on proper hygiene. I agree with the strange lad here, and that you be the one with cooties. And all your talk of anguish an’ doom is bringin’ me down.

Sartre: Alas, “The existentialist says at once that man is anguish.” And of course I am the existentialist. [Chuckles to himself.]

Pirate: Well ’tis more than “anguish” that dropped you and the boy on me ship, or set us adrift together in this lifeboat. Almost as if we were brought together fer some greater purpose, mayhap for some elaborate jest…

Sartre: [Sighs condescendingly and taps out his pipe.] No, mon capitaine, to quote myself yet again: “Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness, and dies by chance.”

Pirate: Methinks ye needs to stop quoting yerself so much and brighten yer outlook a wee bit, landlubber.

Chemist: Yeah Sarty, lighten up.

Sartre: Sarty? Sarty!?

Chemist: Sarty Farty.

Sartre: Imbecile! Crétin petite!

Pirate: Ya-harr! That one got under his skin, err, surface membrane good, it did!

Sartre: [Sighs again.] “Hell is other people.”

Pirate: Avast! For real this time! ’Tis the skiff from me very own ship, come to rescue us! Over here, me hearties!

Chemist: He’s right, it’s not a mirage! We’re saved!

Pirate: Ahoy, me lads! Bless ye for not givin’ up on your Cap’n! Well, seems there’s only room for two more on me skiff. And it also seems that I could use a whip-smart cabin boy steeped in alchemy far more than a melancholy lay-about Frenchman. And as ye thinks us “idiots,” and that “hell be other people,” then you’ll have no problem nursin’ your anguish alone. Why, gentleman that I am, I’ll even leave you me grog, and you can nurse that too.

Chemist: Oh thank you, Captain! I’ve always wanted to be a pirate! And I have some great ideas for a carbon-resin fiber matrix that will exponentially increase the tensile strength and impermeability of your ship’s hull!

Sartre: Incroyable! You would leave moi, Jean Paul Sartre, and take this—this idiot savant? As my onetime friend and rival Camus once remarked, “the only real question is whether or not to kill oneself.” A question I hope you soon answer in the affirmative, mon capitaine!

Pirate: Narr, I’ve got ships to plunder an’ treasure to hoard yet, mon ami. But you take care now. And mayhap a few months alone at sea will teach you some proper manners. And rid you of your cooties. Harr Harr!

Sartre: I do not have the cooties! I can’t believe I just said that…

Daniel McArdle is a freelance graphic designer/trailing spouse/kept man living in Hong Kong with his wife and two daughters. He presently finds solace in short story rejections, and on soccer pitches, exhibiting a surprising knack for goal. He also amuses himself by correcting those who believe him to be Canadian (he is not, but he generally takes it as a compliment). His latest work can be found in print and online at sites like Pindeldyboz, Hobart, and Monkeybicycle. His expat ramblings can be found at hongkongblong.com.

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