Swift

Humphrey the Manatee

Humphrey the Manatee
I was lounging in the sun on my terrace, thinking about dinner. By my calculations, it was still many hours until the humans would dole out my measly portion of marginally acceptable food. The sun was too high in the sky. I have to wait until the sun is low and red before my requests for dinner are answered.

Now, we are in Key Largo. I have heard that there are chickens in Key West. I am not sure why we are in Key Largo, when there are chickens in Key West. I like chicken. I like to eat chicken. Chicken, chicken, chicken, give me lots of chicken! Take me to Key West! Chicken, chicken, chicken!

Sloopsh! What was that? A swimming chicken? Have all my dreams been answered? Silence. I sit and stare at the direction of the sploosh. Minutes pass and I'm about to close my eyes and dream of Key West chickens.

Sploosh! A strange, large creature is in the water. His snout is sticking up out of the water. Does he need help? I, for one, do not prefer to swim in the water. It is too wet and too much work, and when you are completely immersed, it is just too clean. I prefer wading through mud. This keeps the dirt level high and the clean level low. It's fun to hear the splash, splash, splash and know you're getting dirty, dirty, dirty!

"Woof!" I say. "Do you need help?"

The large, gamely creature looks around. He is even larger than my shuttle pod, but smaller than Independence. His skin is gray. Even though he is swimming underwater, he has no fish fins. Instead, he has arms like a T-Rex. He has no legs, but a big paddle, like a rudder, but on its side instead of up and down. I have never seen anything like it!

"He-e-e-l-l-p?" he says. He speaks very slowly.

"Yo-ou are the-e o-one tha-at is st-u-ck on a flo-oat-ting pi-ece of-of la-and, sure-ly it is-s yo-u tha-at ne-eds he-lp?".

"I'm glad you've noticed. I do need help. I am looking for Key West chickens".

Unfortunately, Humphrey the Manatee had very slowly moved his head under the water. This seemed very rude to abandon me on my quest for chickens, but one thing I have learned is that other creatures are very strange, all in their own way. For instance, a crocodile once told me he would eat ME for dinner instead of chicken if he wasn't already full of python. Talk about rude!

I was about to go back to dreaming about chickens, when, Sploosh!

"Humphrey! Tell me about chickens!"

"Le-e-t-uce. I ea-at gre-een lea-fy goo-ooo-oood-ne-es."

I was glad when Humphrey stuck his head under the water again. Green, leafy, goodness? What sort of nonsense is this? Does he mean vile weeds?

My brain begins to hurt. Horrid, beastly memories rush forward. The sun is low and red. My humans are eating. They are smiling. They are licking their lips. They are saying "yum, yum, yum".

"I am here!" I say.

"I am hungry!" I plead.

"Give me chicken! I demand.

They give me vile weeds.

It's a desperate fight to get these nasty sticky weeds off my tongue and onto the floor where they belong.

Now, are they actually eating these weeds or is it some sort of trick? Are they performing pyschological experiments on me? It makes my brain hurt.

Humphrey the Manatee has told me he also enjoys vile weeds. Is this a conspiracy? Have the humans sent Humphrey to me as part of their experiment? Have they promised him chicken in exchange for his help? What kind of planet is this? I really don't want to contemplate this beastly turn of events.

Humphrey will have to seek vile weeds, alone.

I, I will seek Key West Chicken, alone.

But first, a nap.

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7 comments

  1. Oh, Hastings. I fear you have missed a great opportunity. Humphrey, with his gamesmanship and talk of vile weeds has distracted you from answering this pressing question: are manetees "the chicken of the sea"? Not only might he have tasted like chicken, but with all that blubber he might taste like chicken wrapped in bacon, possibly even chicken wrapped in bacon stuffed with cheese. Game on, Humphrey. You may not always be the "chicken of the sea" that roames free!

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    1. OMG! You are so right! Stupid Florida and their protective clauses.

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Oh, Hastings. You really are too cute. And ever so smart -- chicken tastes much better than vile weeds!

      Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

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    2. Some people, and animals...are deranged!

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  3. Funny boy! Maybe the vile weeds are chickens disguised in salad? What would you pick, Hastings: chicken or cheese? You are only allowed to choose one of the two! Are there chickens in the Bahamas? :-)

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    1. That's really rough, but I think chicken wins out!

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