“….and when I ran out of razors I had to use sharpened toothbrushes to kill my prey.’
Sid didn’t entirely believe Great Uncle Malcolm’s tales of when he was the sole mutineer on a cargo ship headed for Malacca, and was put ashore on the unmapped island of Krakapu somewhere in the Indian Ocean.
‘How come you had so many toothbrushes?’ he asked.
Great Uncle Malcolm looked at Sid with an ‘isn’t-that-obvious’ expression on his face. ‘Well, of course I had an inkling that I’d be marooned, so I stole all my fellow’s toothbrushes the night before. Knew they’d come in handy for something.’
‘But…but, aren’t toothbrushes made of plastic? How could you sharpen one?’
‘Made of wood in those days, my boy, ‘ said Great Uncle Malcolm dismissively. ‘All made of wood. Even the bristles.’
Something was still not right. Aha! ‘How did you sharpen them if you’d run out of razors?’ That, thought Sid, was the clincher. There could be no return for Great Uncle Malcolm now.
‘Clever boy. You see, laid out my last dead rat’s intestines to dry in the sun – like catgut they were – then used the thread to whittle the toothbrush handle. Got to have your wits about you when you’re marooned on a desert island, you know.’
Hmm. ‘What year did you say this was, Uncle?’
‘Well, yes, it would be 19…er..let’s see now, 1924, I reckon. Or thereabouts.’
Sid slid away and googled Krakapu. Great Uncle Malcolm didn’t know what Google was and only used the family laptop to rest his mug of coffee on. ‘Krakapu, uninhabited island discovered and mapped in 1750 by the great explorer of the Indian Ocean Lord Sir Captain Stanley Blitherington-Smethers.’
Just as I thought, muttered Sid. But he could hear Great Uncle Malcolm chuckling to himself in the room next door and didn’t have the heart to tell him. Instead, he googled ‘wooden toothbrush’. Just in case.