Un jeu de Numa Pompilius.

In a quiet apartment at the top of the street, the residents of Le Monde d’Étoile-grenouille B sat down to hors d’oeuvres with their friends. Since they were civilized people through and through, they ate paté, brie, and shellfish, followed by a veritable spate of other culinary delights. As they ate, they noticed a stranger in their midst. L’Étranger was short, and clad in a capacious oilcloth slicker of charcoal grey. In one hand he grasped a massive spade, and his face was hidden beneath the shade of his enormous chapeau. As the diners noticed his presence, their conversation fell silent, and they turned to stare at the man, who was occupied with slurping an oyster out of its shale.
“Where did you come from?” asked the lady of the house. She was concerned, as her guests were having a whale of a good time, and it looked as though their peace was about to be shattered.
The stranger swallowed his oyster whole. “Pardon?” he asked, in an accent that was unmistakably Québecois.
D’où êtes-vous venu? our lady repeated.
Je viens de la mer,” replied the stranger. “Je suis un chasseur des baleines.
“What does he mean?” asked the others in confusion, while the strange man returned to his meal.
“He said he hunts whales,” explained the lady of the house, who in her youth had whiled away the hours studying all manner of subjects pertinent to our story, including French, and the history of whaling.
“I didn’t think anybody whaled anymore,” piped up Vlad Skralad, one of the guests, who happened to be a rather vocal environmentalist. “He’s a whaler?”
“That’s what he says.”
“Whales, eh?” said our granola-munching friend derisively, pushing a collection of oyster shales off the table as he spoke, which clattered to the floor in mellifluous scales. “Okay, stranger, I’ve had enough of your scares. There were scores upon scores of whales in the oceans until your kind came along, plundering the oceans for whale-oil like spores on the face of the deep. And I just want to take this opportunity to speak up, in a voice that will carry from the highest church spires to the most isolated shires, against the injustices of your trade.” He paused. “I think everyone at this table shares my view.”
There was silence at the table. It was the sort of awkward moment that makes any hostess say “Merde!” under her breath.
“You will have to excuse my friend,” she said demurely. “He spares no one in the expression of his political views. I regret that you have not been spared.” Then, realizing that she had spoken her entire conciliatory speech in English, she quickly repeated it en Français. She blinked and pushed the hair back from her face, a bit scared at what might happen next.
But the whaler simply nodded and pulled a salver of seared tuna toward his plate. Our hostess feared that her friend had offended the stranger, and though, to be fair, the stranger was in fact un étranger and had not been invited to dinner, she simply wanted the evening to go smoothly. Anger at Vlad Skralad flared up within her, and sirens blared inside her head. She blamed him for the scene which had upset her dinner party. But she quickly composed herself. This was no time for bêtise. She beamed across the table at the stranger, who, despite having been verbally reamed by the environmentalist, was tucking into an enormous tureen of creamed spinach.
Suddenly, one of the other guests screamed. Everyone looked toward her, including the whaler, who had finally been pulled out of his gastronomic reverie.
“Oh, don’t mind her,” said Kookas de Minitas, who, despite his Greek-sounding name, was Irish through and through. “She’s a one-pot screamer.”
“Oh, you’re all one-pot screamers,” griped Vlad, who was still in a foul mood.
And with that, our hostess knew exactly what to do. She poured everyone at the table another glass of vin rouge, commented on the streamers and other tasteful decorations that adorned the room, and sat back down to the meal. And as the group relaxed back into the dinner party, outside on the darkening street, a group of streakers ran by.
But nobody noticed.

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6 thoughts on “Un jeu de Numa Pompilius.

  1. Excellent!
    Creativity: 2
    Storyline: 1
    Excessive use of italicized French: 2
    Humor: 2
    Bonus: 2 [I actually didn’t bother to count because I don’t remember them all but it looks legit]
    9 points out of a possible total of 11; not too shabby! The inclusion of Vlad Skralad definitely upped the humor value. And the translation of Frogstar World B is awesome.
    Who is Kookas de Minitas? I’ve heard that before.

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