The Last Whale

the last whale2

art by Ralph Steadman

When the last whale passed by there was so much excitement you almost forgot it was supposed to be a sad thing that was happening. Everyone was out on the boardwalk and even with the protesters and soldiers it was kind of fun, all of us rushing out onto the pier. It was cold outside but no one went in even though it was sort of useless to be standing there when anyone could see it better watching citdrone footage on the V.

The blue whale is the largest animal in the entire history of the earth, bigger than any dinosaur. First came the warships and some made a big show of cussing and mooning them, then checking their social apps to see how viral their butt cheeks were going. The whale came an hour after, with the flock of drones tracking above. You could hear the drones before you saw them, from a distance it looks like a swarm of buzzing metal wasps. The govdrones are easy to spot, they are bigger and darker and flying lower.

Blue whales grow to 111 feet, as long as a 747. I have never seen a 747 but I have seen pictures same as everyone else. Mom flew in a plane once and I guess my brother Gil did too since at the time mom was pregnant with him… but when you try to ask her about it even just to know from where to where did she fly she always starts crying.

The whale swims close to the surface more and more because of the ocean having less oxygen the scientists say. It is ugly now, so many purply green barnacle things crusted to its skin and chewed up looking on its sides from where the govdrones keep peppering it with plastic pellets to stop it from getting too close to shore and beaching itself. Gil says there will be war if the whale doesn’t die in international waters.

My teacher says no one knows what the person was thinking when they chopped down the last tree on Easter Island because that was before the Internet and the outernet and even books so it is lost to history. Gil says that tree chopper was probably thinking about lunch and I figured that was just Gil being Gil but now that we are down to the last whale and the only thing on the V is shows with whale recipes I think he was telling me something real which is why I decided I better write it all down.

The Japanese want to make a soup out of its tongue. The tongue of a blue whale can weigh as much as an elephant. I have never seen an elephant. Gil says they still exist in parts of India way way out in the mansion of bones which is what he calls the desert. I have never seen the desert for real just govdrone footage which never shows mansions or bones and not even sand, just cracked dry earth and dead bushes that go on and on. Gil says the govdrones aren’t even real footage just a loop but there’s no way to know unless you go yourself, the citdrones either die from the heat or are shot down. I guess I will never know unless Gil goes and comes back to tell me because no one drones the desert anymore as they are all following the last whale.

The skin of a whale  is up to 27 inches thick.  I thought it was called She because the whale is a girl whale but Gil says no it is “Xi” which is the name of the Chinese girl who was shot by a firing squad for writing poetry even though she was only one year younger than me. Gil saw the video on the outernet.  A baby blue whale drinks a bathtub full of milk every day and gains eight pounds an hour. The Chinese want to tranquilize the whale and drill a hole into her to get her milk out to save all the starving Chinese babies.  Gil says don’t worry even if they get the milk the Chinese babies will not get big like whales but just be like normal people. I hope that Xi can dive further than the submarines so they can’t drill into her. The deepest known whale dive was one point eight miles.

I tried to run one point eight miles with my breath held but did not even get to the bodega and I thought my heart would pound right out of my chest. Mom was mad said it was a sure way to get myself kidnapped or killed and give her a heart attack. The heart of a whale is the size of a car weighing up to one thousand pounds with an aorta big enough for a human child to crawl through. I wonder where the kidnappers would take me and if they were like everyone else watching the last whale die a little more every day on the V.

They tried to get Xi to come closer so they could milk her by tricking her with recordings of whale songs from a long time ago. Only male humpback whales have been recorded singing. Submarines and warships and drones played the whale songs, even people standing on the shore and the piers with guns slung on their backs and knives and hatches in their belts held up boom boxes playing whale songs. Researchers believe whale songs can travel more than 10,000 miles.  Xi wasn’t fooled though, or maybe she was too sad about the death of her baby to care. They looked and looked for it but Gil says humans can’t find whalefalls because they are too deep.

I told mom that I am writing about the last whale but she just looks out the window even though everything is just gray like Xi now – the sky and the air and the ground and the ocean, the clouds and even the dirt.

5 responses to “The Last Whale

  1. I immediately laughed about this description, “…some made a big show of cussing and mooning them, then checking their social apps to see how viral their butt cheeks were going.” That seemed to say so much to me about our culture with so little, given my perspective.

    Clever way of working in factual information about whales throughout and a little mystery, too. Who is Gil?

    A rather dark future awaits us here. I’m reminded of the Star Trek 4 movie in which the crew travels back in time to bring forward a couple of Humpback Whales to answer an alien probe returning to Earth to communicate with Humpbacks, but they were hunted to extinction in a past century. If the probe receives no response from the Humpbacks, it will dry up our oceans looking for them; thus, the importance acquiring some.

    I was also reminded of a song by one of my favorite bands, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, titled Karn Evil 9;

    Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends
    We’re so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside
    There behind a glass stands a real blade of grass
    Be careful as you pass. Move along, move along.

    There is just such a disregard for what we are losing through our own pompous sense of superiority and ignorance of the interconnectedness of things. This spoke to the cynic which is me.

  2. Thanks for reading and commenting Rick. Gil is her brother, who has some experience of the world beyond the state-sposored “V” everyone watches. (that’s why he has traveled on an airplane…the mom was pregnant with him). I didn’t intend for the story to be so dystopian but since I started with the title/subject matter, it was sort of hard to imagine a future with the last remaining whale that *wasn’t* dystopian. So there you go 🙂

  3. Pingback: Bluegrass and the Random Wonderful | reliablyuncomfortable·

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