The humpback whale who appears to be light taupe, except when due to conditions and events he more accurately represents dark ecru on the eternal color wheel, was happy to be on his way home. After a bubbly few days shvitzing in the hot baths near the surface at 32.335, 176.716, he was ready to hang with his best buds back in Monterey Bay, and chew fat on a ton or two of ripe anchovies at 36.804,-121.787, where the depth reached a vibrant 10,220 feet, unparalleled for experiencing exponentials of dimensional intensity. Sure, it had been fun chasing albino whale tail at -18.287, 147.699, along with kicking some two-dimensional shark asses off of the Australian coast, the dolts, which is always highly rewarding, but not even a relaxing hot spot, though cool, or culling a dull herd, though beneficial, can fill a bigger picture like the indivisible one world ocean for very long, not when deep is where it’s at, like duh, and there’s no place like home when it’s Monterey Bay.
He was swimming at a relaxing pace, decisively not deep, only a few hundred miles from the lure of a filling great ball of krill near chill Moss Landing, when he sensed shallow distress. He was not unprepared. Terns migrating from Alaska to New Zealand had been telling sickening stories about the shallow goings on at 37.1082, -122.3366, near Ano Nuevo Island. Coastal birds were all aflutter. Bird shit was loosening. Human shit was solidifying. Rocks were becoming more slippery with spew. Even brave bald eagles maintained a safe distance. Rumors were flying higher about the deviant role in a newer caustic stew concocted by international robots.
The humpback whale who appeared to be light taupe visibly darkened in hue upon absorption of the deep distress. He plunged a mile to reflect on insoluble variables in disattached solutions, where bubbles were scarce, and he bobbed, weightless, no weaving. All he could do was what could be done. What it is what it is, and whatever. Not even a soaring bald eagle or a weightless whale streams free beyond gravity. He tootled a plaintive note like Miles Davis and shredded his tenor like Maceo Parker. No highly advanced creature capable of astral travel would be inclined to conclude otherwise. He soon changed course for shallow Ano Nuevo Island. No need to dissect deep reasons in eight or more overlapping dimensions. Shallow also possessed a higher value in a deeper bigger picture under riper conditions. He knew the trajectory to take by following the thumping of his huge heart. You better believe it was fucking loud.
Maybe, in retrospect, that’s what I was inexplicably hearing before I knew what was what as it came dripping from my afflicted ear that was not technically ochre pus. Which could be understandably why the indivisible one world call of distress went unacknowledged like a canary buried in the ashes of a coal mine. At the time, I could only think, what the fuck. I had been here and there and done that before, like duh, often with similar results, except for that brown viscosity oozing on the rocks from my wounded hull that I stubbornly insist only looked like sewage. In my mind, it was never a question.
Often, I have found it helps to go back to a deceptive beginning in the attempt to understand keystone moments in convalescence after vertigo blooms full into blown disequilibrium, and warning signals remain poignant and fresh. When I initially became aware of the great risen mass of the humpback whale who up close and awesome appeared to be neither light taupe nor dark ecru, but more of a bituminous charcoal, he was breaching on the starboard side of my listing boat. He aimed a pungent wave at my head like a bean ball that was spinning in retrograde. I was busy trying to stay cool, shivering. His eyes looked as deep and dishy as a tart berry pie. He blew a deep bass with intonations of chocolate. I felt wet and swooned. Then he dived deeper. The sun came up tomorrow.
It was the next wave after the next wave that whipped up the heavy cream for the pie. Frothy, too. The berries turned out to be cherries. Then the crust started to crumble.
I remarked to the Unpaid Internet Content Provider, who remained unnaturally quiet while numb, “I think we might be sinking.”
It’s a crying shame when what used to qualify as a passable objective reality goes off missing like some AWOL slacker. And takes a mundane context with it, too, like a hip breed of bacon from a cutting edge, trendy hog. Maybe that’w why I’m still stumped. Because I am certain that I did take at least one considerable fall causing persistent pain.
“I’ll think twice before I listen to you again.”
What had turned a small problem that began in my mind when a small hole in my small boat that had become artfully camouflaged amid the rocks surrounding Ano Nuevo Island into an abyss that required plugging by an improvisational patch of sticky goo containing great gobs of honey and granola? I was fairly certain the job was bang up, top notch, as smooth as creamy. I tried my fucking darnedest, therefore, by all of the standard skewed logic I knew to blame the vagaries of evolution, plus the wily rocks. But next the grilled pork banh mi with the perfect crusty baguette went overboard. It sank like a heart without a trace. The daikon radishes, the briny sliced carrots, the aji chiles, even the limp shredded lettuce succumbed to the swell. Only my chains of social bondage held me back from plunging right behind. Where would future generations go to get it when the getting becomes no longer good? The drive-in, the whirligig, Mars? Nowhere, that’s where, the ultra-slick rad theme park made by smooth shaven bros at Monsanto.
But it was what I saw emerging from those rocks, and of those rocks, that ultimately threw me for a loop that resembled a noose. International robots were leading orcas on chains into squadrons leased long term from Sea World. They came marching in columns from the same factory as the robots who were chasing me. They carried extra lube in Mason jars. Fuck their hoity-toity science, technology, engineering, and math, though. They never found me. I found them. I knew how to act boldly as bait. I did not get up until a light was intruding into my eyes. I turned out to be the right tool for the job. I wasn’t going to stay quiet about it, either. I was more than a decoy. I heard a hollow sound squeezing through a vacant tunnel. Dinosaurs were attempting reproduction with new genes. White men in black hats were pumping iron with pistols. The robots were priming the orcas with lube. I called them out harshly.
I heard, “Wrong, wrong, wrong. Again.”
Then I heard, “He’s trying to sit up.”
“That’s not a good idea.”
It wasn’t. The spooky light lurked. My eyes hurt inside of my head that hurt. The robots carried stinking badges. They were reading reams of fine print. Killers came paired with balls. Nouns slaughtered neutered verbs. Cogs reamed wheels. Fake stood in for real. Illusions were big on skirts and short in crotches. The sun that came up went down.
“Look, he’s upchucking muck.”
“Is that what that is?”
“What else would it be?”
“I’ve heard about it but never actually saw it up close before.”
“You’re a rookie. You’ll be seeing a lot of that from now on.”
I, for one of many, could hardly wait.