Friday, April 24, 2009
Things to Do in the Belly of a Whale
I like the idea of being swallowed by a whale, without any hope of rescue. I'd be able to abandon all hope, stop fooling around and finally get on with my life.
Maybe, after a while, walking around the whale belly would seem normal. Strolling from stem to stern would be as ordinary as going down to the corner for a pack of Marlboro lights or stopping at Trader Joe’s for cheap organic lemonade or dropping by Kinko’s to make some copies. No cigarettes allowed in the whale belly, but that’s ok since I don’t smoke.
Going to work would be straightforward, 9 to 5. I’d begin my shift by punching the clock. It would be a clever clock made of blubber, not unlike the live-bird quitting-time whistle in The Flintstones credits. Now wouldn’t that be fun to live in a cartoon version of the whale: Everything clean and shiny and in primary colors? You wouldn’t have to worry about stepping into some blobby pink bit like you see inside the rib cage of a chicken ready for roasting.
Maybe I’d have a mate in the belly with me. I’d improvise a grill from some old radiator parts and he’d catch fish. He’d make knives out of bone. I’d use sea salt liberally. We'd eat at a little table made of driftwood, and there’d be a lamp fueled with whale oil. But soon we’d run out of things to talk about and I’d be searching the swirling water every time the whale opened its mouth, hoping (alas) for somebody new to wash in. I’d be hoping for a new man. Maybe a better one than this one. Maybe I won’t be disappointed this time.
From a writing exercise posed by Laurie Wagner, inspired by a poem by Dan Albergotti