Monday, September 27, 2021

A Low Mystic Sun

The oystercatcher has returned with three sea slugs, one being a head, newly severed.

He has placed them on the saucer, and waited.

Gaius has come up the stone steps.

Aha, says Gaius. I see you have brought three replacements.

Yes, says the oystercatcher. Sorry about the first three.

Not at all, says Gaius. I was just saying, we don't really need them. Terence and I will shortly be leaving. 

And? says the oystercatcher.

And so you may as well eat them, says Gaius.

Eat them! says the oystercatcher. I wasn't asking that question.

What then? says Gaius. But of course! What am I thinking? Yes, you, as Terence's parrot, will come with us. That is, if you're willing.

I'm willing, says the oystercatcher. 

Come down to the cellar, says Gaius. There will be things to discuss.

Gaius and the oystercatcher go down to the cellar.

Is all well? asks Saint Ténénan.

All is well, says Gaius. And you have gained three sea slugs. We've left them outside, on your saucer.

He didn't eat them? asks Saint Arnoc.

No, says Gaius. No doubt, he had his own reasons.

Would he like some potato soup? asks Saint Arnoc.

No thanks, says the oystercatcher.

Yay! says Terence. You're coming! You get your own passport.

Which may be a problem, says Gaius. 

My other parrots had one, says Terence.

So they did, says Gaius. A parrot passport. From an obscure printer in Paris. What a bother.

No need to bother, says Saint Arnoc. Do you have a copy of previous parrot passports?

No, says Gaius, but Arthur might. I'll call him.

He calls Arthur, forgetting the time zones.

Arthur? it's Gaius. Do you happen to have a parrot passport?

Arthur had been dreaming of waterspouts, surf and currents, and a low mystic sun.

It is some moments before he comprehends the question.


Sunday, September 26, 2021

Or Even Scotland

Guess what! says Terence. The sea slugs are all interacting.

In what way? asks Gaius.

I don't know, says Terence. What IS interacting?

Mixing together, says Saint Arnoc. Like soup ingredients.

Not yours, says Gaius. It's only potato.

And water, says Saint Ténénan.

Good point, says Gaius. And imagine, if one added some butter and black pepper.....

It would not be potato soup, in that case, says Saint Arnoc.

It would be, but not as we know it, says Saint Ténénan.

I had no intention of criticising your soup, says Gaius. I was merely trying to explain interaction.

The sea slugs aren't in the soup, says Terence. They've gone to Japan.

Did the oystercatcher tell you that? asks Gaius.

Yes, says Terence. He's gone to get three replacements.

I can guess what really happened, says Gaius. However, it doesn't matter.

Wasn't he supposed to be guarding them? asks Saint Arnoc.

He was, says Gaius. But we must remember, he's the one who caught them.

Very nice! says Hideo. If I take a few toes, I'm a villain. 

An entirely different situation, says Gaius. 

Maybe they HAVE gone to Japan, says Saint Ténénan. Aren't two of them from there?

No, says Gaius. Only one of them. The other two are locals. Or they may be from the Channel Islands. Or even Scotland. But no further.

Is my parrot in trouble? asks Terence.

Not at all, says Gaius. We must be leaving soon, and we can't take the sea slugs.

But my parrot's gone to get more! cries Terence.

He can eat them, says Gaius.


Saturday, September 25, 2021

Replace The Missing

No red soup, says Terence. 

Is that the reason you came outside? asks the oystercatcher.

No, says Terence. Gaius asked me.

To do what? asks the oystercatcher.

Check on something, says Terence. But I can't.

What is it? asks the oystercatcher.

The sea slugs, says Terence. I have to find out if they're interacting.

They are now, says the oystercatcher.

Where? asks Terence. They're not on the saucer.

Just go back and tell him they are, says the oystercatcher.

But where are they? asks Terence.

I can't tell you, says the oystercatcher.

You have to tell me if you want to be my parrot, says Terence.

All right, says the oystercatcher. They went to Japan.

How did they get there? asks Terence.

They won't be there yet, says the oystercatcher. But they're on their way.

Together, says Terence.

Yes, says the oystercatcher. I was just about to go down to the shore and find three replacements.

One would have to be a head, says Terence. 

Easy, says the oystercatcher.

But it has to be the right one, says Terence.

Yes, an atroviridis, says the oystercatcher. I not stupid.

Okay, says Terence. I'll go back and tell Gaius.

Just tell him they're interacting, says the oystercatcher. 

Roo-kai! says Terence.

That's ryouki, says the oystercatcher.

You learned it! says Terence. That will be useful if you go to Japan.

I'm not planning to go to Japan, says the oystercatcher.

Or if someone from Japan wants to say something to you, says Terence. Like, hello, are you a parrot?

Unlikely, says the oystercatcher. 

That's the right answer! says Terence. I've got a parrot that can answer Japanese questions. 

Lucky you, says the oystercatcher. Well, I'm off to replace the missing.

Remember, says Terence. One head, two bodies. 

Wrong, says the oystercatcher. Three heads, two bodies.

I meant that, says Terence.

He runs back down the steps to the cellar, to tell Gaius the good parts of what's happened


Friday, September 24, 2021

The Meaning Of Roger

Saint Arnoc places the soup plates on the table.

Saint Ténénan ladles potato soup into each one.

This smells delicious, says Gaius. 

It always does, says Saint Arnoc. 

Are you sure you won't try it, Hideo? asks Saint Ténénan.

I'm an otter, says Hideo.

In the shape of a man, says Saint Arnoc.

That doesn't alter my appetite, says Hideo. I eat fish and crustaceans.

And toes, says Rusty.

Did I eat them? asks Hideo.

To be fair, says Gaius. Hideo didn't eat them.

Thank you, says Hideo.

Shrimps, mussels? asks Saint Arnoc.

Sea slugs! says Terence.

Never, says Hideo. 

Can I have red soup again? asks Terence.

Saint Arnoc goes into the pantry.

Comes out empty-handed. 

No.

Shin jin! says Terence.

Meaning? asks Hideo.

I don't believe it! says Terence.

Chigau, says Hideo. That's not right. It's shinjirarenai.

I said the first bit, says Terence.

Shin, says Hideo, but jin was chigau.

How interesting, says Saint Ténénan. Japanese seems quite easy.

I try to make it easy, says Hideo. But Terence is slow.

I bet you do eat sea slugs, says Terence.

He is easily distracted, says Gaius. Terence, since you're not having the soup, why don't you go back into the garden and check on the slugs. I'd be interested to know if they're interacting.

Okay! says Terence. 

He runs up the stone steps shouting Roo-kai!

It's not roo-kai, says Hideo. It's ryouki.

Ryouki, says Saint Arnoc. I shall try to remember. And what does it mean?

Roger, says Hideo.

Of limited use then, says Gaius.

Roger as in Got it! says Hideo.

Ah, says Gaius. I see. Or should I say, Ryouki!

Terence stops at the tree.

The oystercatcher is standing next to the pebble.

The saucer sits on the pebble.

But the saucer, which earlier held three sea slugs, is empty.


Thursday, September 23, 2021

Squishy Lumps Underneath

Come down everyone, soup's ready! calls Saint Arnoc.

Potato soup, no doubt, says Gaius. 

 Yay! says Terence. Come on Rusty.

He dashes off down the stone steps, followed by Rusty.

Coming Hideo? asks Gaius.

I've already told them none for me, says Hideo.

For the sake of being convivial, says Gaius.

All right, says Hideo. What about my pupils?

Leave them here on the saucer, says Gaius. They'll become acquainted.

They might slope off, says Hideo.

I'll watch them, says the oystercatcher. 

Excellent, says Gaius. 

He and Hideo go down the steps to the cellar, where the homely aroma of boiled potatoes fills the air.

The oystercatcher stands next to the saucer, guarding the sea slugs.

The atroviridis turns to the crimoras.

Atroviridis: Why are you here?

First crimora: Training.

Second crimora: Yes, training.

Atroviridis: As in Japanese lessons?

First crimora: No. In regeneration of bodies.

Atroviridis: That's what I'm currently doing. Watch me.

The atroviridis sucks up some water.

First crimora: He's sucking up water.

Second crimera: And getting squishy lumps underneath.

Atroviridis: That's good. I'm supposed to.

Second crimora: Yes but how do you do it?

Atroviridis: Say you're infected with copepods, and you want to get rid of your body. You choke yourself, until your body falls off. Then you start sucking, and grow another one.

Second crimora: Sounds easy.

First crimora: No it doesn't. He didn't explain how to do it.

Atroviridis. True: I don't really know how to do it.

Second crimora: Then we're here for nothing.

Oystercatcher. Look on the bright side. You can take Japanese lessons!

Second crimora: Who from?

Atroviridis: Me. I've picked up a few words. Try saying shinjirarenai.

First crimora: Shinjirarenai!

Atroviridis: Yokatta!

Second crimora: Yokatta!

This is great. They are getting on well.


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Akira Men Deedo

Gaius and Rusty go up the cliff steps.

Rusty first.

Gaius next, with his thumb over the hole in the container.

The sea slugs, inside the container, feel themselves rise.

The oystercatcher is already at the top, because he is eager.

They follow the cliff path to the saints' garden, where Hideo is holding his class.

Guess what? says Terence. Akira men deedo!

Very good, says Gaius. What does it mean?

Never give up, says Terence.

Chigau! says Hideo. 

What does that mean? asks Gaius.

Not right, says Hideo. Terence has mispronounced it.

Okay, says Terence. Roo kai.

Ryukai, says Hideo. 

I said that, says Terence.

I see Terence is progressing, says Gaius. What about our sea slug?

It may be deaf, says Hideo. 

I don't think it's deaf, says Bertille. 

Here are two more sea slugs, says Gaius, putting the container on the ground, next to the pebble. Perhaps our sea slug will do better in company.

Shall I get them out? asks Bertille.

If you can, says Gaius. It's one of those impossible lids, I can't imagine how.....ah! you've done it!

You have to flick it up here, says Bertille.

She lifts the two crimoras out of the container and places them next to the atroviridis, on its saucer.

Right, says Hideo. Two more pupils. Chotto matte.

That means wait a moment, says Bertille. 

At least someone has been listening, says Hideo.

I've been listening, says Terence.

Half listening, says Hideo. And the sea slug may as well be a cucumber for all it's retaining.

Ahem, says the oystercatcher. Perhaps I can be of assistance.

Who are you? asks Hideo.

The oystercatcher I was meeting, says Gaius. It wants to meet Terence.

You've met me, says Terence. 

I could help you with your pronunciation, says the oystercatcher. A special tutor.

Help THEM! says Terence. They can't say anything.

Yes, help them, says Hideo. 

But I really came to help Terence, says the oystercatcher. I hear he needs a parrot.

I'm too grown up for a parrot, says Terence.

The oystercatcher looks sad.

It's beak turns down slightly, its head droops.

Bertille whispers something to Rusty.

I might need a parrot, says Rusty. 

Actually, says Terence. I do need a parrot.

Good, says the oystercatcher. What's my first job?

Tell the teacher the lesson is over, says Terence.

You heard him, says the oystercatcher.

Buzz off then, says Hideo. I've got enough on my plate with these unresponsive faux cucumbers.

The unresponsive faux cucumbers look at one another.

What an insult! It's not even a plate. It's a saucer!


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Meddling With Nature

Thwoop! Gaius pulls the pierced lid from the oystercatcher's beak.

Sorry about that, says the oystercatcher.

Not at all, says Gaius. It will do as a breathing hole.

Isn't it too big? asks the oystercatcher.

I'll keep my thumb on it, says Gaius.

Then it won't be a breathing hole, says Rusty.

They probably won't need a breathing hole for the time it will take us to return to the cellar, says Gaius.

Then why...? begins Rusty.

If they do, says Gaius, I will move my thumb slightly.

Everyone is satisfied with this. 

Even the sea slugs. We must not forget them.

They are still on the pebble, heads up.

They both have translucent white bodies, numerous yellow and orange tubercules, and short oral tentacles. 

Where did you find these? asks Gaius. 

In a crevice, says the oystercatcher.

They are crimora papillata, if I'm not mistaken, says Gaius. A type of nudibranch. They will probably not suit my purpose.

Think, says the oystercatcher. There are sea slugs that know how to regenerate bodies, and those that do not. Why not train them?

It is not for me to meddle with nature, says Gaius. Merely to observe it.

What if a third party should try? says the oystercatcher.

I cannot condone it, says, Gaius.

O, says the oystercatcher. But I was hoping.....

For scientific renown? asks Gaius. 

To join your party, says the oystercatcher. As a parrot, if need be.

Why didn't you say so? says Gaius. Come up the steps with us. Terence will be in the garden, learning Japanese. 

I will, says the oystercatcher. But what about the sea slugs? I feel responsible.

As do I, says Gaius. Rusty, put them in the container.

Through the breathing hole? asks Rusty.

It's the only way, says Gaius. Do it gently. 

Rusty picks up a crimora papillata and forces it through the hole, followed by the other one.

The crimora papillatas right themselves, and try to think positive.