Read a new piece recently published here in the Portland Review:
That’s it then. We’ve eaten the ponies and Jenkins is down to his last tin of marmalade. The marmalade went quite well with the ponies. We set out with an entire crate six glorious months ago. I have no one but myself to blame for allowing the men an extra ration after we failed to reach the pole. Today is another bitterly cold day. Duh. What was I thinking? And why did I leave my hat in Dimduddy-by-the-Puddle? And why did no one bother to tell me I had no hat? I suspect the men may not like me. Perhaps I am not fit to command. Certainly any fool could find the South Pole. You just keep going south, and just when you start to go north again, that’s where the pole is. Only it isn’t. They tell you there’s a pole, and there’s no pole. Here every Thursday, folks. Look, a penguin. I don’t know why he’s calling me Phil. He knows my name is Freddie. That’s way it is with penguins. Farewell. We died like Englishmen, except, without marmalade.
Sally’s seashell sales at the shore excelled even her expectations. It was when she decided to franchise that things went sour. A silver-tongued speculator convinced her to expand her brand, and so he lined up some unsavory investors. A booth at Port Authority. A kiosk in Times Square. A rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike. A storefront in Dubuque, which, although suffering from a deficit of seashells, was nevertheless more interested in corn-themed souvenirs. When sales were lackluster, fudge was added, then taffy and postcards. Nothing worked, not even a paid celebrity endorsement by a Latvian Opera singer. Within a year Sally’s Seashells Worldwide Holdings was in the red. Desperate, Sally mortgaged her seaside emporium. She sold her Duesenberg. As her stores began to fail, investors sued. Sally sadly saw no simple salvation. She became a gumball addict. Packing a water pistol, she began robbing gumball machines. The Seashell Preservation League issued a $10,000 reward for her capture. A folk ballad was written. She fled to parts unknown. Thus, legends are born.