Saturday, August 9, 2008

Adrift! by Jay Chilcote



"You're awake."

"Of course, you oaf. How could I be talking if I was asleep?"

"You could be sleep talking."

"You're not supposed to interrupt sleep walkers. Or sleep talkers."

"I see. Are you hungry?"

"No. Sort of."

"Do you regret our playing stowaways? Now that we've been cast adrift in this featureless ocean, I mean?"

"I was tired of that tramp freighter, anyway. It was no fun with all the sailors being tigers."


"Do you think your Mom is worried?"


"What about your Dad?"

"No. Yes."


"I keep dreaming of a big, sunny field, my tail swishing through the tall grass."

"Stop that."


"Strange, I haven't seen any birds."

"Me neither."

"It's so funny, you being afraid of birds."

"I've told you before, only the big ones scare me."

"For my part, I like to stalk them and leap into the air to knock them to the ground with a paw when they try to fly off and then I like to eat them."

"Good for you."

"Birds are good eating. So are squirrels. So are hedgehogs, although tigers only eat those on certain national religious holidays."

"National religious holidays? Snort. Tigers don't have national religious holidays!"

"I beg to differ. And in fact, there happens to be one we tigers celebrate called Differential Day, in honor of St. Leibniz, when all tigers beg to differ."

"Sounds like opposite day at my school where some of the boys wear their pants backwards until the teachers yell at them."

"Do some of the girls wear their pants backwards?"


"Are you sure?"


"Even on accident?"

"Why would they do that?"

"Why wouldn't they?"

"I don't know, and I don't care."

"Is there one girl in particular you wish would wear her pants on backwards?"

"Of course not!"

"I see. Are you thirsty?"

"Yes. But I'm trying to conserve what's left in the canteen. You practically drank the whole thing the last time I gave it to you."

"I beg to differ."

"It's not St. Leibniz or whatever Day, dufus."

"You mean Differential Day."


"Wait. You can't contradict me if it's not Differential Day."

"I can if Differential Day is actually Differential Week, and it started, oh, five days ago."

"Why don't you just jump out of this boat and see if the sharks think you're so funny."

"Do you think there are sharks out there?"

"Every lifeboat is eventually surrounded by sharks. They call that a framing device. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the sharks hadn't swallowed a tick-tock clock to add tension.Then on top of that it would probably have a personal vendetta against you for harpooning its best friend or something."

"Sailor tigers must have their hobbies."


"Calvin, I mean Kelvin?"

"Very funny."

"Are you hungry?"

"Somewhat peckish. Why?"

"If it comes down to it, do you think I should be able to eat you, since I'm a big, fit, productive member of the maritime trade, or should you eat me in order to continue being a little boy who refuses to clean behind his ears?"

"What kind of question is that?"

"It's just... you know those cartoons we watch?"

"Warner Brothers?"

"Yes. In some of them, when there's a situation similar to the one we find ourselves in, one of the characters gets really hungry and then looks at the other and sees a juicy baked ham, or a brown, steaming turkey, something like that. Are you listening?"

"I'm trying not to. You're making me hungry."

"It seems to me... what was that noise?"

"Kelvin, honey, bath time is over!"

"Aw, Mom! We're just now having fun!"

"You heard me. It's already getting past your bed time."

Jay Chilcote is the author of the novel Ratcheting Down The Melancholic Afterbeat (a very enjoyable love story) and a musician who has been in (or been) the bands Revolutionary Hydra and Slomo Rabbit Kick.

1 comment:

anonymous said...

Very realistic. I liked it.