The ship had just laid anchor in the harbor. It had been a long journey. The paymaster had reluctantly passed out the wages and the sailors had stormed off, eager to squander the fruit of their labor in the various dubious establishments lining the coast. Jacque, the one-legged French sailor, entered the tavern first, ahead of his buddies.

“Mon dieu!” he shouted. “Look at ze beautiful voman over zere! Je t’aime, mon amour!”

“That’s not a woman, Jacque,” his friend, Sailor Jim, cautioned him. “I think you’re talking to a piece of furniture.”

“Vhat furniture?” Jacque yelled cheerfully. “I’m in love!”

“It’s an armoire, Jacque!”

“Oui! Amour, amour!”

“It’s just wood and…” Sailor Jim couldn’t finish his sentence because the rest of the crew started to push their way into the watering hole.

“We need liquor and women!” they shouted in unison.

The bartender, lining up glasses of booze on the bar, asked, “You’ve been at sea for a long time?”

“Months,” Sailor Jim replied.

“You boys forgot what a woman looks like?”

“Not me!” Sailor Jim declared cheerfully. “I love girls. That one over there, is she available? So pretty, that hair…so long and beautiful. You think she would want to dance with me?”

“I’m sure it would be alright. You could ask her,” the bartender said. “But don’t expect an answer. She is a broom.”

“You sure?” Sailor Jim said, not totally convinced. But then wistfully he added, “Wouldn’t you know it—a broom? Ah, what the hell…I could do worse. I’m filled with painful memories during my long life at sea, you know. In Indonesia I once dated an anthill—it was excruciating.”

The evening progressed, turning into late night and the wee hours of early morning. The bartender, once more, checked the coffers of his establishment, which had quickly filled to the rim with the coins of drunken sailors. Business had been very good indeed, he was thinking. Then he made a mental note to stock up on a greater variety of brooms.