I called the chief cartographer in for a ‘please explain’. He said ‘What mistake?’ I told him where it was and he said, ‘Well, if you know it’s wrong what’s the problem?’
These guys just don’t understand the laws of cause and effect.
‘So when we get ships going to Shanghai how are we going to find it?’
‘That’s not my problem,’ he said. ‘Just use the other map you get from the chimp. Besides, there are hundreds of ancient maps around that you can use.’
After I’d scraped his remains from the wall of the Meeting House I asked a young lass called Abscondida, if she’d like to be the new cartographer.
‘I don’t know anything about mapping,’ she said, looking a bit frightened by the lumps of brain and bone and blood I’d bulldozed into the corner.
‘Knowledge doesn’t seem to be a prerequisite,’ I told her. I got the map out and said what needed to be done.
‘Er, I .. er …’ she stammered. I think I’d rather become a Sauromati woman and shave 3 times a day.’
‘You’ll love it once you get started.’
‘Umm. Ok. Just this bit?’ She pointed at the bit the western element had mapped.
Yes, that bit.’ I said. And vaguely wafted my hand over the 100000 square miles of other maps from various places that needed to be adjusted as well. ‘There’s a little bit more there and there, but nothing you can’t handle.’
She gave me a look that made me think she was smarter than I’d guessed.
‘Sure,’ she said and started slowly backing out towards the door. ‘Whatever you say, o Ztoef, mighty leader. I’d be royally grateful for such an opportunity.’
Now I was thinking she wasn’t exactly as enthusiastic as her words may have sounded to less diplomatically aware ears, but before I could challenge her, she gave a quick glance at the detritus in the corner and left .. actually, fled would be a better word.
Later that day I was out for a walk and saw a friend of hers. I asked if she knew where Abscondida was.
‘Funny thing,’ the friend said, ‘she came to say goodbye a few hours ago. Very strange. She had a fur stuck to her chin and she was naked apart from a large elephant testicle hanging round her neck. Said she had a date with a Sauromati guy.’
That was strange indeed, because Sauromati women usually prefer small elephant testicles.