“. . . because ‘is ear were in the soup! Har, har, har. Ooh, ow! Me peg ‘and!”
“Aye, that’s right, a ‘ook is more usual, only Ol’ Sawbones ‘ad no ‘ooks at the time. Now ‘e’s got some, but I got so used to the peg, I just kept it.
“Croc took the ‘and. Nibbled it off me arm, dainty as you please, while I were napping on the beach. I ‘ardly knew ‘e’d done it, except me first mate calls out, ‘Cap’n, that croc just took your ‘and.’ And so ‘e ‘ad, and I even respect ‘im for it. Har, har, har. Ooh, ow! Me peg pinkie toe!
“You might not think it, but Ol’ Sawbones told me it were important to ‘ave the peg to balance me ‘ealth, otherwise I were sure to catch the syphilis. Ol’ Sawbones is a man of learning, so ‘e is, and not a pinch of syphilis ‘ave I ‘ad.
“Barracuda took the toe. I were dangling me feet in the surf when, silent as a cloud, that thieving fish snatched off me toe. I don’t ‘old no grudges, though. Let me guard down. Har, har, har. Ooh, ow! Me peg uterus!”
“You ‘eard me right. Me peg uterus. Not that I were born with one, you understand. You see, we used to ‘ave a gal onboard name of Salty Sal. She weren’t much to look at, but she were warm company in a cold ‘ammock. One day we were skirmishing with Cap’n Grundley and Sal got ‘erself between one of ‘is cannonballs and meself. It tore right through ‘er, rest ‘er soul, and ‘ad just enough left to dent me gut.
“Ol’ Sawbones sewed me up with Sal’s uterus inside. ‘e said it were too close to me nethers to risk taking it out. Well, I take no chances with me nethers, so in it stayed.”
“Aye, that’s not a peg. You see, six months later I were floating in me tub when this scoundrel shark gnawed me middle and slurped out Sal’s uterus like ‘e were ‘elping ‘imself to seconds at a buffet. Clever boy to find me in me tub. Ol’ Sawbones sewed me up (I were near tore in ‘alf). ‘e said since me nethers ‘ad ‘ad time to get friendly with Sal’s uterus it were fair dangerous to leave them alone so sudden. So ‘e plopped in a peg and me nethers ‘ave been right as rain, though she’s a terror when I ‘ave to pee.
“Which I do now, if you’ll pardon me. It were a right pleasure speaking with you. Har, har, har. Ooh, ow! Me peg . . ..”
Michael Calkins has worked in bookstores for 31 years, the last 28 at Powell’s.