The Nosefaucet

The Captain’s first mate, John Nosefaucet, was a tiny man who was of almost no use to the crew. However, he endeared himself to the Captain by way of his unique nose, which always ran like a faucet: Press the button on his head, and water would pour right out. John’s body heat ensured that the water was always just the perfect temperature for the Captain’s tea, hot chocolate, and even hand washing. The Captain so valued this perfectly-heated water that to him, John was indispensible, and the Captain would never leave shore without him.

Though the Captain was an honorable man who would never exploit his incredible value to the navy, John was shrewd, devious, and — once aware of his value to the Captain — demanding. The Captain needed John and the navy needed the Captain, so for a time, John got whatever he wanted. Once John had money, servants, and lavish quarters, John’s cruel boredom led him to articulate his every whim, no matter how absurd, as a formal demand: He demanded the crew always walk backwards in his presence; he demanded the head of a rhinoceros be served every night as his dinner; he demanded his letters be sealed with earwax plucked from the left ear of the Queen; he demanded the bottled tears of the a young child, which he used to season his food. Grudgingly, to their shame, the navy complied: they felt it necessary to win the war. In secret, however, a race began among the military scientists to solve “the Nosefaucet problem,” and it was from this very race that George W. Heater’s breakthrough innovations led him to invent what we now know as the modern mechanical “water Heater” …

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