Tobias made his way down to the shore and the shipyard, which he found crowded with goods and swarthy women.
"Tobias! Tobias Bilge!" cried his friend Oliver, who was already there waiting. He was only standing three feet from Tobias, though screaming as if across the water. "HERE!" he hollered straight into Tobias' face. "HEY! TOBIAS!"
"A whisper would suffice, my giddy gadabout," Tobias sneered. "All's met. I've secured a few pounds and papers that show us in good standing with the local magistrates!"
Oliver laughed and kicked his heels. "Why, never such papers there were!" he said, somersaulting.
Thomas started to chew a piece of gum and said, "Not until now, dear Oliver, not until now."
"I knew you would come in handy one day, old boy," Oliver swooned.
"And I suppose I should have known you wouldn't," Tobias mumbled, seeing that Oliver hadn't brought any luggage. "Have you anything at all to contribute to our escape? A shilling? A bright idea? Socks?"
Oliver crab-walked in a circle and then pop-and-locked back over to Tobias. He procured two pairs of socks from his coat and exclaimed, "Well, you've won this guessing game! One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me. What a pair!"
Tobias thrust his pelvis and uttered, " 'struth. Well, as you've nothing other than socks to contribute to our voyage, I trust you've some information as to how we may find ourselves transported?"
Oliver tried to fly but couldn't because he was a human and then, a bit sadly, said, "Indeed I do, indeed I do. I've good word on the Lady Juliana, bound for Bask to-day at high noon."
A pallet of otter coats rolling off a ship ran into Tobias, pushing him across the pier. He fell into the ocean, nearly drowned, climbed back out, and rejoined Oliver, who had passed the time of his friend's absence playing Sudoku.
"Well, it looks to be about four after eleven... no, five," Tobias said, pulling an octopus off his neck. Let's about and board before we reach six!"
Oliver nodded and cooed, "You're such a thinker, Tobias. A true poet of the soul."
Tobias belched and shrugged. "I'm no poet. At least I didn't know it. No more rhyme! Now's the time!"
Oliver grimaced. "I hated that so, so much. What you just said. I hated it."
Tobias pulled a strange face and agreed, "Me too. I really feel ashamed." The stranger's face he pulled punched him in the back of the head.
"This ought to cheer you up!" Oliver said, grabbing Tobias and spinning him round. Soon, the two were dancing, rather well actually, all the way over to a nearby boarding plank.
"Oy!" the hulking sailor standing guard grunted. "What's this then? Who're you two?"
Oliver leaned in close to Tobias and whispered, "Let me do the talking. I know his type." Tiny Oliver strode up to face the guard and introduced himself. "Good sir, what is your name?"
The sailor spat out a huge ball of snot and answered, "Well I ain't no good sir, but me mum called me Lawrence. Lawrence Base, sir. She did."
"Well, Sir Base," Oliver said, "My friend and I were wondering how we might procure steerage on your mighty ship."
"Well, Base explained, "you've made two mistakes already. I'm no good sir and this is no mighty ship. It's actually three smaller ships and a horsecart strung together with hemp. Not really sea-worthy or safe, for that matter. At any rate, I don't think two men, such as yourselves, obviously lacking in powers of observation and sea-faring, should be interested in our voyage at all. We're off to Bask, and, as I'd imagine you've no knowledge of Bask any more than you've knowledge of ships or the sea, Bask is no place for the ill-equipped." Base then dropped his registry, and his pants split when he bent over to retrieve it. "Right."
Oliver had fallen asleep during Base's rant, but woke up with a start and shouted, "Well! I know you sailors get lonely at sea..." acting coquettishly and dropping an inexhaustible supply of handkerchiefs.
Tobias balked. "None of that, Oliver. Good Sir Base, we are seeking transport to Bask... by... order of the King!"
Base scrunched his face up like a mud monster and garbled, "The King? And what, pray tell, would his majesty be employing your services towards?"
Tobias pulled at his suspenders and boasted, "I'm a very important member of the council... on ... Bask. Vice Regent, I am."
Oliver jumped in. "'struth," he said, "I've seen him lay charters and oaths to waste at court."
"None of that sentence made sense," Base said. "I can see you're both idiots. Also, seeing as how I've wasted the past few minutes of my life, I'll thank you to provide documentation or leave me to more deserving tasks."
Oliver crouched down like a raccoon and hissed. "Boo!" he cried. "Booooo!"
Tobias picked his friend up by the scruff of his neck and cradled him, nodded a firm apology to Base, and then ducked into an alleyway.
"You fool!" Tobias roared at Oliver. "You're going to make a fool of us!"
"I've going to make some food for us?" Oliver asked.
"Oooh, please," Tobias squealed. The two had a lovely, imaginary meal.
NEXT TIME: BALDERDASH