The Puffin (v)

There lay the puffin, a tarred wretched thing, its wings were stuck fast to its cage. This ruined my carefully planned ascension to become the apex predator of the sea. Instead of a huge fish, I had caught another hungry mouth that needed to be fed. I sat for about half an hour, thinking about what to do. Of course, I was tempted to eat the poor thing and it would have had no choice in the matter. By now your mouth is probably watering at the thought of dining on one of these tasty birds, grab your handkerchief and watch you don’t smudge these words under your dripping mouth. If for some reason you are not salivating then I have one question for you. Do you live under a rock? Crawled out from some jungle cave have ye? Jutted your chest out, strut upright on two legs and put on the stolen spectacles hanging down off your hairy neck to read my solemn words? I’ll explain for the literate cannibal — who is a minority, I am sure — the pleasures of the puffin’s flesh. For the one who has found this message in a bottle on some island would only know the taste of coconuts, fish, and his kinsman’s flesh.

Take this puffin caught in front of me for example, if its line had not broken somehow and it was taken into a port it would immediately be chopped into various fish shapes. Puf-fingers, puffin fillet, Puff-ella for the Spaniards, and beer battered puffin and chips for the Brits. From the gutter to the throne, from the peasantry to the clergy, all of society convinced themselves a bird was a fish. Everyone played along in this mass conspiracy and every man, woman and child thought themselves the sole bearer of the truth. All because humankind was sick of Fish Fridays. You would find it impossible to see a wink or hear a giggle shared across the dinner table on a Friday evening, not between a loving family nor even a band of thieves. It would only take one brave and very foolish person to simply whisper: “A puffin is a bird” for the whole charade to come smashing down on the sharp rocks of good reason. This doesn’t include sea folk who find all this ‘fishy business’ very amusing and very profitable.

That said the puffin is still a very tasty fish, though a fraudulent one. I assure you all of these puffin meals I mentioned, dear savage, taste better than human flesh. Nothing worse for body, mind, or spirit than to steal another property, especially the tender cuts of his buttocks and back. Beg forgiveness for what you did to Captain Cook – even as he tempted you with his poorly chosen name. O’brother eat a wing, rather than an arm!

<- Part 5 of 9 ->


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