Sunday, April 5, 2020

No Easter This Year

Lauren and Kierkegaard return to the table.

All the pizza is gone.

Anyone for fruit? asks Lauren. I have apples.

Not me, says Terence. I had one on the bus.

Yes and choked, says Gaius.

I still am choking, says Terence,

He coughs.

Are you sure that's caused by an apple? asks Belle.

Can we take his temperature? asks Marie.

Sure, says Lauren. I've got one of those contactless ones.

She goes to the bathroom to get it.

Did you get the crabs sorted out? asks Gaius.

Yes, says Kierkegaard. Seawater in, crabs in, microplastics added, in medium and low doses.

That's nice of you, says Marie. No high doses.

The two crabs with the highest concentrations have died already, says Gaius.

There's nothing nice about that, says Belle.

They did volunteer, says Gaius.

They complied, says Kierkegaard.

May as well be honest.

Lauren comes back with the contactless thermometer. She points it at Terence's head.

Twenty degrees. That can't be right.

She places her hand on his forehead.

Terence coughs. C-hah!

He feels cold, says Lauren.

I DON'T! says Terence.

Don't worry little buddy, says Sweezus. That's probably your normal. Let me check out the normal temperature range for cement.

He taps on his smart phone.

Between ten and thirty four degrees, says Sweezus.

Wah! says Terence.

It's cool. You're right in the middle, says Sweezus.

Cheer up, says Lauren. Would you like me to find you a chocolate?

Yeah thanks, says Sweezus.

I meant Terence, says Lauren.

He's not allowed chocolate, says Belle.

I am if I don't eat it, says Terence.

I'll eat it, says Arthur.

So Lauren gets out a milk chocolate bunny she was planning to sell before Easter, but can't now she's closed.

May as well eat it, says Lauren. No proper Easter this year.

Sweezus, who had been scowling at the milk chocolate bunny, brightens up.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Meant As A Sign

Lauren returns with the two salad bowls. One red, one burnt sienna.

Now I must get this right, says Kierkegaard. Which crab goes in which?

I was in the blue one, says Alexander-Groovy. It's broken.

Of course, says Kierkegaard. Will you mind being in the red one?

He might, says Alexander-Red-Hook. Our friend died in it, remember.

I don't mind at all, says Alexander-Groovy.

Good, says Kierkegaard. Mind over matter.

Water first? asks Lauren.

Crab first, says Kierkegaard.

He finds he likes making scientific decisions.

Alexander-Groovy gets in.

Kierkegaard covers him with water.

O that feels nice.

Lovely sea water, with only the usual amount of pollution.

But then he remembers. Microplastics have not yet been added.

Kierkegaard is fiddling about in his pocket.

Lauren is watching.

Kierkegaard pulls out a bag of tiny plastic bits and pieces.

Teaspoon? says Kierkegaard.

Was that the precious thing in your pocket? asks Lauren.

No, says Kierkegaard. I mean yes.

It wasn't, but he hopes to mislead her.

No, I mean yes. Lauren has heard that before. There must be something else in his pocket.

She fetches a teaspoon.

Wait, says Kierkegaard. I just need to confirm that I'm giving the right dose to this crab.

Alexander-Groovy had the medium concentration, says Alexander-Red-Hook.

And I had the lowest, says Alexander-Curly.

So the one with the highest concentration of microplastics in the water died first, says Lauren.

Yes, says Kierkegaard. What a pity he died of something else entirely.

The glass shard, says Lauren. Yes, I see that was a pity. But perhaps it was meant as a sign.

A sign was not required, says Kierkegaard. A simple death from toxic ingestion would have been sufficient.

Nevertheless, it happened, says Lauren.

Can we get on with it? asks Alexander-Curly. If there's too much time lag between me and him getting into our seawater, the experiment will have no significance.

It may have no significance already, says Alexander-Red-Hook.

But Kierkegaard, proud of the scientific rigour he has just demonstrated to Lauren, is not having that.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Imagine Yourself

Lauren looks into the bucket of sea water.

There are beads at the bottom, mixed with sand. 

Should we pick them out first? asks Lauren.

No need , says Kierkegaard. I'll decant the sea water into the where are the salad bowls?

Draining by the sink, says Lauren. I'll get them.

She goes to get them.

Kierkegaard waits near the crabs.

Not long now, says Kierkegaard. You'll be back in your bowls in a minute.

But they are not listening. They are debating a question.

The small fish (unlucky) has remembered some more of his tale.

The Golden Crab married a king's daughter. A princess! 

His listeners did not expect that.

Alexander-Red-Hook asks why the king would allow it.

The small fish (unlucky) replies that these things happen.

But he knows that's not right.

I bet he was called Golden Crab for a reason, says Alexander-Red-Hook.

Like because he was golden? says Alexander-Groovy.

No, more significant, says Alexander-Red-Hook. Perhaps he could produce gold, somehow?

That's it, says the small fish (unlucky). The Golden Crab made the king a garden with three fountains that played gold, diamonds and brilliants.

In return for the daughter, says Alexander-Groovy. Good deal, that.

Depends on the crab's personality, says Alexander-Red-Hook.

What was he like? asks Alexander-Curly.

I don't know, says the small fish (unlucky).

A story can return to you backwards.

The small fish (unlucky) remembers the initial incident, before all the excitement.

A fisherman catches a crab, brings it home for his wife to cook for dinner. Her skirt is tucked up, because she's been busy. Let your skirt down, says the crab. I can see your feet.

This changes everything. It was that kind of crab.

Imagine yourself the poor princess.

Even Kierkegaard (who is listening) can.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

They'll All Be Dead Shortly

Arthur leaves the crabs, and goes back to the table, for more pizza.

How're they doing? asks Sweezus.

Good, says Arthur. I gave them a last line for their poem.

What's this? asks Gaius. What poem?

He ought to know. But he hasn't been listening.

Eulogy for one of the dead ones, says Arthur.

Dear me, says Gaius. They'll all be dead shortly, and all at the same time, ruining the experiment. Where's that sea water?

Still in the bucket, says Lauren.

I'll do it, says Kierkegaard.

He stands up.

I'll help you, says Lauren.

How nice is Lauren?

Not so nice that she's given up trying to pry into his pocket.

They leave the table and head for the bucket.

What was it? asks Sweezus, wiping his tee shirt, which he's dripped pizza sauce on.

What was what? asks Arthur.

Come on, Arthur! says Belle. The last line of the poem you gave them.

A crab by day, with Golden intentions, says Arthur.

That's beautiful, says Marie. It reminds me of an ancient Greek story, the Golden Crab.

Apparently the fish told it to them, says Arthur. Crab by day, man by night, eagle whenever it wanted.

Heavy, says Sweezus.

Not heavy, says Marie. Erotic.

No way! says Sweezus.

It marries a king's daughter, says Marie.

The crab does? says Sweezus. How's that work?

Man by night, says Marie.

What did it do in the day time? asks Belle.

Went in tournaments, says Marie. I don't know what it dressed up as, but one day the princess's mother burned its shell when it was out jousting.

That should've fixed everything, says Sweezus. It would have had to keep being a man.

But it was crab in the daytime! shouts Terence.

We're upsetting Terence, says Belle.

Maybe it was jousting at night, says Arthur. Did they do that?

I'm sure they did, says Belle, looking at Terence.

But Terence has remembered the eagle that the crab could turn into whenever it wanted.

So he is quite happy.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Golden Intentions

Terence goes back to the table.

What's going on with the crabs? asks Belle.

They're waiting for the fish to remember some crab deeds, says Terence.

Then what? asks Sweezus, taking his third slice of pizza.

The fish will tell the crabs what the deeds are, says Terence.

Then what will they do? asks Marie.

The last verse of the poem, says Terence.

What poem? asks Arthur, playing with a string of mozzarella.

Go and ask them, say Terence.

Arthur goes over.

Who are you? asks the small fish (unlucky).

A poet who's given up poetry, says Arthur.

You've got a cheese whisker, says Alexander-Red-Hook.

Arthur runs his hand over his chin.So he has. He eats it.

You may as well go, says Alexander-Groovy. We've got this.

I only came over to listen, says Arthur.

Listen, then, says Alexander-Red-Hook. This fish knows a story about crab deeds.

I do, says the small fish (unlucky). There was this Golden Crab once. He was a crab by day and a man by night, and he turned into an eagle whenever he wanted.

How about that? says Alexander-Red-Hook. Now all we have to do is make it the last verse of the poem.

What's the rest of it? asks Arthur.

Alexander-Groovy (the author) recites a short version:

Alexander-Retro the boldest among us
Lies in a bin
Pierced with glass shards
Sharp and celestial blue
blah blah blah the boldest among us
Though his deeds were few.

I see, says Arthur. You want to make the Golden Crab connection.

Right, says Alexander-Groovy. But how? He didn't do any of that stuff.

A crab by day, with Golden intentions, says Arthur.

All three living crabs love this. So does the small fish (unlucky).

Who doesn't have Golden intentions?

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

His Phew

It's actually not very nice, says Alexander-Red-Hook.

It's better than nice, says Terence. He was the boldest among us.

Yes but the last line undermines his reputation, says Alexander-Red-Hook. "His deeds were few".

But it's true, says Alexander-Groovy. A eulogy should be truthful.

But not negative, says Alexander-Curly.

The small fish (unlucky) decides to venture an opinion.

It needs one more verse, says the small fish (unlucky).

What would be in it? asks Terence.

His few, says the small fish (unlucky).

His phew? says Terence. That would be a rubbish ending!

Did you mean his few deeds? asks Alexander-Red-Hook.

I did, says the small fish (unlucky). He must have done some or they wouldn't be mentioned.

He didn't really do ANY, says Alexander-Groovy. None to speak of.

But you said it had to be true, says Terence. And it wasn't. So you're banned from doing the eulogy. I'll do it.

Terence thinks for a moment.

He remember his dog one.

My dog has died
I buried him in the garden
He's not going anywhere.

He recites it.

That's about a DOG, says Alexander-Groovy.

Dog equals crab, says Terence.

His name should be in it, says Alexander-Red-Hook.

Put it in then, says Terence.

Did you have a dog? asks the small fish (unlucky)

What do you think? asks Terence.

Yes, says the small fish (unlucky). What was it's name?

Good question for the wrong answer, says Terence.

Meaning? asks the small fish (unlucky).

I didn't have one, says Terence.

So why write the poem? asks the small fish (unlucky).

Someone else had one, says Terence.

What was IT'S name? asks the small fish (unlucky).

It's persistent, this small fish (unlucky).

What's YOUR name? asks Terence.

I don't have one, says the small fish (unlucky).

Is that why you're sad? asks Terence.

Alexander-Red-Hook takes pity.

Small fish, says Alexander-Red-Hook. You must have seen a few crab deeds as you darted about in the ocean.

O yes, says the small fish (unlucky).

Monday, March 30, 2020

Sharp Thin And Celestial Blue

Kierkegaard feels in his pockets again.

Nothing. No, wait! It's still there.

As if it could fall through a hole made by bamboo sticks!

Found it? asks Lauren.

Yes, says Kierkegaard. It's here.

Lauren makes a mental note to find out what it is.

The door opens. Belle and Marie have arrived with the pizzas.

Six large ones.

Clear the table, says Belle.

That means you crabs, and you fish, says Terence.

Meaning us? asks Alexander-Red-Hook.

Are you deaf? says Terence.

We crabs need a quiet place, says Alexander-Red-Hook.

Why? asks Terence.

Hurry up! says Marie. Clear the table.

I'm doing it, says Terence.

But he isn't.

First he needs to find somewhere to put them.

This is a shop. There are knick knacks.

There are shelves that keep knick knacks in place.

There are gaps, between some of the knick knacks.

If he shoves the knick knacks along there'll be space on that shelf.

Easy peasy.

He transfers the crabs, the fish ( unlucky) and lastly the pickle jar containing Alexander-Yellowsun to the shelf.

Happy? says Terence.

They all look happy except for the fish (unlucky) whose mouth is still turned down in sadness,

So why did you need somewhere quiet? asks Terence.

We're composing a eulogy for Alexander-Retro, says Alexander-Red-Hook.

I'm doing it, says Alexander-Groovy, because he asked me.

We're all doing it, says Alexander-Curly.

But I'm the main one, says Alexander-Groovy.

Have you started? asks Terence.

Potentially, finished says Alexander-Groovy. Listen:

The boldest among us
Lies in a bin
Near the general store
Pierced by glass shards
Sharp and thin
And celestial blue.
The boldest among us
Though his deeds were few.

Woo! says Terence. That's the best poem ever!

But Alexander-Red-Hook, Alexander-Curly and the little fish (unlucky) have heard better.