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The Eclectic Pen - Morangi Pora Punda

By: Herbert M. (vunderbar)   + 5 more  
Date Submitted: 12/28/2006
Last Updated: 12/29/2006
Genre: Literature & Fiction » Short Stories & Anthologies
Words: 1,434


Morangi Pora Punda is the smallest inhabited island in the world. It has a population of 113. The population is evenly divided There are 56.5 men and 56.5 women. They have never pinned down who the odd one is. All the men are named Joe except one. His name is Sue. All of the women are named Fancy. None of them are. The native dress consists of skirts made of Kelp. They wear them till they get dry and crackly and then go down to the beach to shop for new clothing. Their currency is hermit crabs and the richest man on the island is the one who owns the kelp concesion. He keeps his hermit crabs in pens which wash out at high tide so he has to declare bancruptcy twice a day.

The highest point on the island is 3.6 feet above sea level. During the high tides there are only 22 square feet of dry land above water. The women are hoisted onto the mens shoulders and everyone stands around and waits till the water goes down. This is an important part of their native courtship ritual. A woman must be sure a man can support her. Since there isn't room enough for everyone, some of them have to take turns treading water. This is done by drawing straws. There was a great deal of confusion five years ago when someone got hungry and ate the straws. Fortunately a broom washed up on the beach in the nick of time. The Guiness book of records reports that the world record for treading water is held by one of the islanders named Joe. He had eaten most of a case of garlic that washed up on the island and no one would allow him to stand next to them.

The natives do not trust anyone on the island to be head man and so Presidents are elected who are not native to the island. Past distinguished presidents include Mahatma Ghandi, Jane Goodall, Barbara Bush, Johnny Cash, Madonna and Tarzan. None of them ever heard of the Island and no one got around to telling them they had been elected.

Morangi Pora Punda's economy is supported by fleecing tourists and visiting anthropologists. Once a year a ship pulls in and picks up the fleeces trading them for canned Spam, soda crackers and Sam's Club diet coke. This, plus whatever washes up on the beach comprise the native diet. Their food is flavored by rolling it in the sand. Several years ago a cargo box full of shoes washed up on the beach. There was much rejoicing and it was almost a year before all the shoes were eaten. The cargo box was declared the Presidential Palace in case one of their Presidents ever finds out where they are and comes to visit.
Most of the islanders have pet octopi which they wear on their heads to protect them from the sun. This accounts for the circular red marks on their foreheads which many anthropologists have mistaken for tribal tattoos.

The Island of Morangi Pora Punda was once notorious for frequent shark attacks. Numbers have fallen in recent years since most of the sharks got tired of being attacked and left.

The Island has another claim to fame. Besides being the world's smallest inhabited island it also has the world's smallest volcano. It is two feet wide and one foot high. There is a prediction that the island will be destroyed if a virgin is not thrown into the volcano every full moon. There are two problems with this ritual, the first being one of supply. It is also difficult to throw someone into a volcano that small. They have compromised by taking turns sitting on the volcano. Tourists throng the island at this time to film the colorful dance that follows called the OOO OOOW dance when the sacrifice leads the entire tribe in a wild dance where they all jump up and down fanning their posteriors with hats stolen from the tourists. This is followed by a ritual called, "The eating of the hats".
The rest of the time they keep a bean pot simmering on the volcano in hopes that someday a legendary being they call, "The sacred tourist" will show up with some beans.

The native religion centers around a sacred object they call, "The hard thing that fell from Heaven". Those few outsiders who have been privileged to see it (it can be seen for the price of one pack of hot dogs) report that it looks very much like a fist sized rock. This is somewhat remarkable in that there are no other rocks on the island. Most of the time it is kept in a receptacle that looks suspiciously like a Spam can and is decorated with shells and coral. The natives say that it fell from heaven one day during a time of trouble. The noted anthropologist Isadore Crane Urquhart (ICU to his friends) working with his son, Isadore Crane Urquhart the second (ICU2), has investigated this legend and it is his opinion that it was thrown at them by the peg legged captain of a whaling vessel named the Mopy Dork when he sailed too close to the island in pursuit of a white whale and the natives swarmed aboard and began eating the leather parts of the ship's rigging. Entered in the ship's log is the notation, "Fortunately the natives failed in an attempt to catch the ship's cat".

Getting to this unspoiled tropical paradise can be a difficult undertaking involving seeking out an inexperienced sea captain. No ship that has visited the island has ever gone there a second time.

When asked what time it is, the natives invariably answer, "Five". This is as high as any of them can count. Normally this is sufficient since there has never been more than than five of any one thing on the island at one time. A teacher sent by the United Nations has been attempting to teach them to use both hands when counting but the natives refuse to learn. "It was good enough for daddy and it's good enough for me", is the usual response.

On the highest point of the island there is one palm tree. This comprises the Morangi Pora Punda national forest and it is taboo to eat the tree. A tourist is required to remove his hat and shoes before taking a picture of the tree. Strangely they can never find them again afterward. When asked about this strange phenomenon a native belched loudly and blamed evil spirits.

There is a legend that at one time in the dim past the tree produced a coconut. This precipitated a terrible war over who owned it. There were many casualties limited mostly to knots on the head caused by throwing the sacred rock at one another. Finally a peace keeping force from the nearby (250 miles away) island of Hoodat Saydat was sent in. They tied up all of the combatants and poured cold water on them till they came to their senses. The coconut was then broken open and evenly divided. There was an attempt to keep the shell of the coconut as a relic but someone had already eaten it.

This news just in. The island of Morangi Pora Punda has sunk beneath the sea. Stay tuned for exciting developments.

This just in from Rooters News Service:
"The Island of Morangi Pora Punda was completely demolished today when an unknown number of high powered catfishing boats repeatedly circled the island throwing beer cans and shouting their mysterious slogan, "YEEE-HAW". causing a tsunami that washed the island completely away. The surviving natives have been recued by a passing garbage scow and are on their way to Los Angeles where a generous United States has agreed to take them in as homeless refugees. The captain of the garbage scow reports that he is able to sail straight to Los Angeles as the natives ate his entire cargo.

The mysterious boats were reported to have been flying flags reading, "Redneck Yacht Club", an aparently hitherto unknown terrorist group. The CIA is investigating the incident and the President of the United States has declared that he will take immediate action once the country sheltering this group has been identified. They seem to have ties to the Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma region of the United States. They may also have underground cells in some parts of Texas."

And so we take leave of this tropical paradise as the island of Morangi Pora Punda sinks slowly into the West.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Herbert M. (vunderbar)

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Comments 1 to 9 of 9
Marta J. (booksnob) - 12/28/2006 11:20 PM ET
Kept me smiling!
DeAnnette H. (deanie) - 12/29/2006 12:27 PM ET
Enjoyed this one, too, Herbert.
Tanya M. (smeghead) - 12/29/2006 3:30 PM ET
That was hilarious. Very Douglas Adams-y. Only criticism that I have is the lack of space between the paragraphs.
Lisa R. (wdwquilt) - 12/29/2006 3:51 PM ET
I enjoyed reading this. Quite imaginative - kept me laughing.
Scott W. (Rev) - 12/29/2006 11:14 PM ET
As a past visitor of the wonderful isle of Morangi Pora Punda, I was extremely amused and entertained by your factual account of their rich yet somewhat brief history. The only criticism I have is the overabundance of space between the paragraphs.
James R. (jamesrose) - , - 10/7/2012 12:42 AM ET
I can see this as a children's book...
Wayne G. (gossmanlibrary) - 3/31/2013 9:48 AM ET
It needs a sequel, or even a series.
Silvercat - - 12/1/2013 6:14 PM ET
Wonderful penning there, Herb, AND, I agree with Wayne - we need a sequel! :)
Dione T. - 8/22/2017 5:27 PM ET
a delightful giggle, thanks for sharing
Comments 1 to 9 of 9