Author: © Stephen Lowe
Publication Date: June 1, 2017
Ordering: Amazon UK, Waterstones
Social Media: Twitter
Chapter 16 — Tea in the Hudson
Hungry now, Torval and Dean sucked krill from the surrounding seawater and sang to each other tender whale lullabies, four beats to a bar…
The whales swam down so deep the world’s leaders could make out the outline of The RMS Titanic and even amongst their turmoil; a few could focus their minds and bowed their heads in respect.
The CTN followed its set course making a slight detour to the Florida Everglades and picked up “Cake” (Christian, Hank and The Whittler). Still following, the enemy jet fighters fired off rockets and blew themselves up as the missiles bounced back. The United States Air Force had never experienced an opponent so elusive. A fleet of USS destroyers and aircraft carriers were sailing south following the whales and their hijacked President – submarines were changing course and scanning the ocean depths. The British nuclear submarine HMS Astute’s sonar located the whales and got Dean into her sights. Thwarted, she could not fire off a Spearfish torpedo for fear of killing the very people the Royal Navy was trying to save.
With Miami to the west and the Bahamas to the east, the whales continued their big dipper ride. The reluctant sightseers, mentally and physically ill in this vomiting comet were taking no notice of the beautiful scenery beneath the ocean.
And it really was shameful. Torval and Dean entered the Windward Passage between Cuba and the Dominion Republic and swam in the Caribbean Sea. Striking colours of amethyst, ultramarine, vermillion and cadmium yellow gave magnificence to the vulnerable coral reefs – home to exotic fish, crustaceans, sharks, dolphins and octopi. This was one of the most beautiful sights upon our planet: merely and sadly wasted on the bilious world’s leaders. The beaver prison officers watched over their captives; there was no risk of escape. Nonchalantly, they played “fish-fruit” with each other. They were all having such fun – enjoying every minute. Besides they were used to the perils of freshwater river life, and as often as girls do – even beaver girls; fancied some real danger, hence they just wanted to get out and swim in the wild salted seas. Christian and Kinaboo had one major worry looming in their minds. How would they get Torval, Dean and their precious load through the Panama Canal? The only alternative was to head out east around South America through the Drake Passage and around Cape Horn.
Even Senorkaen beavers could not be this cruel to humans and it would be very unfair to inflict the circumventing aquatic event on Torval and Dean. In this area, the South Atlantic Anomaly also caused navigational havoc both globally and for spacecraft and satellites because Penitus Spaera was frolicking with his magnetic lines of force. He had fun reversing his crystals’ north-south pole positions, creating a weak magnetic field and thus allowing solar particles to seep through into the Earth’s atmosphere since he wanted to see the extent of the catastrophic effect it would have if he failed at his job. In reality, there was no alternative; the Drake Passage meant a 14000-mile detour so the Panama Canal it would have to be…
The two whales complete with human cargo and Teapot entered at the Gatun Locks, Torval down the north canal and Dean the south. Everything was proceeding fine having performed perfect acrobatic dives over the flooded locks and down into the emptied locks. The spectacle, fully appreciated by the Panama Canal staff and tourists was soon to have the most “Hits” ever seen by the world on YouTube. Even more riveting was when an obstruction occurred in the form of the ocean liner RMS Queen Mary 2 as she waited for transfer to Pacific Ocean level at the Pedro Miguel Locks. Torval leapt out in a diagonal move from the north to the south canal and Dean did the opposite soaring over the liner.
Passengers of the massive black, white and red ship clapped, roared and waved from the decks of QM2 as she headed for New Zealand as part of her World Cruise. The whales, their political delegation and Teapot repeated their gymnastic navigation through the Miraflores Locks and were soon away from the restrictions of the canal and out into the freedom of the Gulf of Panama and the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. Christian decided everyone needed to take a break. Probing his GPS screen, he noticed they were not far from his and every beavers’ favourite holiday hotspot: The Galapagos Islands.
Gliding in slowly to Isabela Island, they landed the CTN on the long white sandy beach of Puerto Villamil and roped their craft down securely. The beavers ambled down the beach and into the pounding waves: splashing and pushing each other in the salty water, revelling in the bliss of getting their fur wet and back to some sense of normality. Chimbo shouted he could see the drifting blue-grey bodies of Torval and Dean on the horizon with their occupied canopies still intact and Teapot resting on Dean’s fluke cup. The mammal allies could take a well-deserved rest, and the CTN’s passengers and crew could finally introduce themselves to their sickened hostages.
The whales glided up the beach in the magnificent surf and used their dorsal fins and tails to manoeuvre themselves alongside the CTN. The politicians were “whale” wrecked and the beavers felt sorry for them. A life of luxury and privilege had not prepared them for a cruise like this. They were thirsty, messy, disoriented, been seasick and green about the gills. The condition of the canopy was revolting and remained as if they had made a “dirty protest” along with their journey. Luckily, everyone was still alive.
After Daintree and Chimbo had finished laughing and joking, celebrating their success, they doused each other in Evian bottled water. They strode out of the sea walking upright as the metamorphosed HRH Prince Wilfred and Daintree in human form. Both climbed a ladder onto Dean’s back and opened the roof hatch to the whale’s cabin.
‘Hello everyone, floundering felonies what a foul stink, what an obscene greenhouse gas – whoever did this to you? What a predicament to be in…never mind me lovelies you’ll soon scrub up. Do you remember us from the trivial Lilypad Islands? How is ya keeping ya all now? Did you enjoy dinner at the Plaza? I like the bar meals best, with views of the Pulitzer Fountain representing Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruitful abundance. Never mind, you might go back there someday if you behave yourself and do as you are told,’ laughed Prince Wilfred.
‘There is only one place you will be eating sonny, and you’ll be lucky to get one meal a day, I hate you and your gang of terrorists! You beasts! It will be Guantanamo Bay, manacles and an orange suit for the rest of your life,’ said Bosnia and Herzegovina Vice President Ottomostaroofa covered from head to toe in his and everyone else’s excrement and vomit. ‘Huh, and who’ll capture us? Don’t tell me your tin soldiers, no chance! Are you trying to scare us? You’re the animal oppressors! We’re taking you to our own penitentiary, Guantanamo Bay will be like the Langham Hotel in London compared,’ said Daintree.
‘Don’t frighten them too much, Dainty,’ said the Prince. ‘I hope we have better manners. As human beings, we should try to set an example on how to behave. Let’s get this lot freshened up and give them a good feed before we move on to the courthouse. We must give the human race an opportunity to try and make a good impression in front of the Beak….it’s fair-minded of us as we strive to be reasonable humans. They would be kind to beavers…wouldn’t they?’
‘I beg to differ, your Highness. Admittedly, they do whiff a bit; it’s getting to the back of my throat…I feel as though I want to throw up. Come on out you mangy scum. We’re at the seaside; the water surrounding these islands is as pure as nature intended, so let us all enjoy it while we can. Bask in the sunshine and bathe in the sea before it’s too late, given the rate and intensity of pollution your industries are contaminating it. Strip off and dive in. I have plenty of aloe vera soap and shampoo. Don’t be shy ladies, you have nothing to be ashamed of and I can assure you those beavers already taking a dip don’t fancy human beings.
‘Okay girls; follow me down to the shoreline on Dean’s port. Please, would all men turn and face the other way. Let the girls have some dignity and no peeping. When I say it’s safe to do so the boys can run down his port side, chuck all your filthy clothes into the linen sacks at the rear of the whale’s tail as you strip off. There are rubber tubes and armbands for those who can’t swim – why not ask one of the beavers to give you some lessons?’
Presidents, Vice Presidents, Prime Ministers, Chancellors, Permanent Secretaries, and military chiefs of staff all jumped into the warm Pacific Ocean under the midday Sun and it was good. They swam, dived and splashed about; soaping and washing their own and each other’s mucky bodies in the cleanest, freshest seas of the Galapagos Islands. The rings of laughter and high spirits attracted curious giant turtles, dolphins, marine iguanas and shoals of vivid fish enticing them to swim amongst the nude bathers’ legs – they gently greeted them by nudging their bums. And colourful birds joined in, fluttering overhead, cooing and singing welcoming ballads. Shocked then reassured, and for a brief moment, the newly awakened eco-tourists forgot their inhibitions and predicament; fervently integrating within their new sun-drenched volcanic environment, giggling with each other as if they were enjoying a family holiday. Hayley and Oxbow climbed down from the Teapot and paddled in the sea with Zoltan, Sinharaja and Hoh. Christian, Kinaboo, Firuzkooh and Shirakam played with Torval and Dean; as a special treat, they gave them king prawns, fresh fruit and vegetables from the CTN’s galley. The beavers stared into the colossal mammals’ sweet-natured eyes and thanked them for their efforts. They also promised them whatever happened they would do their very best to clean up the world’s oceans and stop whaling forever…the whales liked that.
Christian, Hank and The Whittler went down to the water’s edge taking for their hostages’ high factor suntan cream, towels, underwear, caps, sandals and clean green overalls with the words: CoZonE an Elucidation written in large white letters on the back. The political and military principals dried themselves, putting on the hygienic clothes laid out before them. At first hesitating and murmuring amongst themselves, they began to eat the picnic set out on folding tables beneath the shade of the whale flukes and drank magnums of euco-juice.
Licking their lips and closing their eyes, blissfully they sucked watermelon, oranges, kiwi, pineapples, mangoes, and cantaloupes – the delicious liquids running down their chins and fingers. Next, were thinly sliced tomato and cucumber sandwiches laced with French dressing and made with whole-wheat bread. Shirakam served large helpings of fettuccine Alfredo pasta mixed with broccoli, parsley and iceberg lettuce. Zoltan, carrying a tray of Royal Doulton fine bone china cups and saucers offered hot green tea and chocolate biscuits. As the cluster of political figures digested their meal, they became a little more relaxed about the absurd idea of their present dilemma: held captive by a band of talking furry beavers. Reflecting on their transportation to the equator by two enormous blue whales some even managed to raise a grin.
Git Strawberry and Roil Felouques, wearing Panama hats were sitting and chatting in deck chairs whilst posted as sentries with shotguns at their sides. Instead of watching over the prisoners as ordered, they studied and discussed the wildlife and scenery through binoculars. A pale, neat, trim figure dressed in green took advantage of their laid-back attitude. He strolled over the fine sand and spoke to them.
‘Good afternoon. How did you learn to speak English so well… and with a British public school accent, your vowels are more rounded than mine?’ asked Prime Minister Dai Clegmoron who was educated at the historic Eaton College.
‘Steady on old boy, I say, what? I do beg your pardon? If you don’t mind, I believe that’s rather rude of you…you’re interrupting our luncheon,’ said Git. Grabbing and fumbling with his Purdey twelve-bore game gun, raising the pair of twenty-six-inch barrels he aimed them squarely at Dai’s eyes. Dai did not flinch.
‘We are Senorkaen beavers; we study English as a first language and Latin a close second. A Bachelor of Arts degree in human literature is mandatory for a prominent beaver. We study Shakespeare to Jane Austen from Wordsworth to Edmund Spenser. Reciting The Iliad, Beowulf, Don Quixote and Ivanhoe are compulsory as part of our educational development. I would like you to know Brideshead Revisited is my favourite novel. We also have a back catalogue of Oxford University Press recommended works of poetry and prose downloaded onto our Tablets. Of course, we do pick up some bad habits from watching East Enders and Coronation Street. Tell me, we are intrigued, why can’t Londoners’ pronounce their L’s and TH’s, for example, fiouw instead of Phil and fink instead of think?’ Dai’s aide rubbed sunscreen lotion into the premier’s fair skin and said, ‘Our new coalition enunciation department is working on that, we are cutting out all Labour’s crap and getting back to the Three R’s once again. We really try to educate the plebs, and with more than just grammar, it’s all in our classified manifesto. I got to be honest though; the workers are a lost cause syntax is embedded in our lingo after age four: it’s like trying to piss in this wind to remove it. Can you keep a secret? We’re withdrawing their social cars, we must think of the environment you know!’
‘Yes, you bet, just wait until we get up to County Durham and sort out our Cheryl Coalmine. And invade the Welsh Valleys yet again…yeah let’s give them another hiding, just like when we knocked the shit out of them at the pitheads. Wenglish drives me nuts; what’s that they say, “Give us chance butt will youmm? I’ll do it now in a minute, allrwryye, cracking, innit. In all fairness, let’s be honest mun…you knows I’m wryye!” cited his Minister for Culture.
‘I live for the day when my dream is fulfilled and all Brits vote Tory, I must confess it’s long overdue – Maggie’s spirit will be so impressed with me,’ said Dai gleefully as he wrung his hands. He quickly recoiled when he thought of the sinister, snaky UKIP. German Chancellor Frau Violatez Vongreen-Gazz sidled up to the fringe beach party. Pursing her lips while applying Monika’s bright orange lipstick she had borrowed, she interrupted, ‘More to the point furry beavers, where is your homeland? What do you want from us? And where did you procure such amazing technology? Are you creatures from outer space; is Senorkae an undiscovered planet? I’ve never heard animals talk before; apart from the odd parrot, budgie or minor bird and then they only mimic, they cannot think or speak for themselves – would you like me to teach you German…?’
‘Stop – that’s enough! Don’t let them in Git. Chris, come over here quick!’ cried Hank nervously. ‘You’re all becoming too close, too soft! Keep your distance! I’ve attended kidnap courses for these situations. Humans are devious; subtly they’re taking control. Now’s your chance Chris, seize it, you might not get another. Take revenge for the genocide committed on our forebears. I’m telling you, don’t trust them, don’t give them an inch, they’re all the same…brutal killers…mass murderers that’s what they are!
‘Chris, exercise your duty. Chimbo won’t do it, he doesn’t have the strength of character, he’s emotionally derelict, I know his type – he’s all talk. Let’s round them up and shoot the bloody lot – now while they’re having their picnic. If you don’t have the guts, I will. I’ll do it with the M61 Vulcan Gatling machine gun you have fixed in the belly of the CTN.
‘Six thousand rounds a minute of twenty-millimetre shells will stop global warming for you mate! The sharks will get rid of the evidence. Anyway, police never find missing persons – I know. Don’t believe one word coming out of their mouths. The human race is a lot more cunning than you think. Homo sapiens’ brains are still far more powerful than ours are. They will execute you as soon as they get the opportunity. Come on let’s round them up. Sure, I’ll give them a chance: more than they deserve. I’ll let them run into the surf, we can all have a good laugh watching them dance over the rolling waves trying to avoid my hot bullets – it will be far more interesting!’
Christian glowered at Hank in disbelief. ‘We’re not fooling around with Play Station Three Hank. Wake up, this is for real, it’s no Tour of Duty and you’re a cop, remember? I agree they have committed heinous crimes, persecution and ethnic cleansing, but I’ll prove we and the other animals are superior creatures to what they ever are. We are taking them to the Animalist Supreme Court, which is our duty. They will be given a fair trial for their transgressions. And anyway, how could you be so cruel to Torval and Dean…have a heart; it would be a dreadful, gory moment for them to witness.’
Planet Earth’s diplomatic leaders were bereft. Surely, they must be suffering nightmares; maybe poisoned at the breakfast meeting laid on for them at the U.N. and were unconscious lying in a hospital bed. Had someone slipped them a hallucinatory drug, everything was so bizarre, and anyway: where was their help? Did they not have control of the world’s most powerful armies, navies and air forces… if so, where were they?
President Holdback O’Carbon moved over to Prince Wilfred who had distanced himself from the others and stood alone staring out to sea under a sky of ultramarine blue and a white piercing Sun. Wearing a William Hunt Red Shark suit, John Varvatos pristine white cotton-pique` shirt, University College London tie, British Lions rugby ball cufflinks and on his feet Wilfred’s size 12 black Franklin leather brogues, wet through and covered in sand, rested alongside a channel of seawater that was flowing back and forth in rhythm with the incoming tide. It had formed small pools amongst black igneous rock that had erupted from the bowels of the Earth and relatively not too long ago because the Galapagos archipelagos were fresh, “hot from the oven” islands. Entrapped in these pools were tropical fish desperately seeking a way back to the ocean, to return home to their family shoals and escape the snapping pincers of the menacing crabs scurrying sideways to eat them.
‘Prince Wilfred, your highness, you do know you will never get away with this…you do know that, don’t you? But for what it’s worth: I was really moved by your speech,’ said President O’Carbon. ‘I sympathise with you and your countries plight. I promise I will do whatever I can to help. Nevertheless, these things are delicate and cannot be rushed through…the world’s major powers are, thankfully, democracies; congresses and parliaments need votes to implement radical change and the voters who have stakes want money and jobs. Believe me your highness; I want a low carbon economy. Don’t you think I love my children? I’m working on it. I’m new in this job: I just need more time!’
‘Behold these exquisite fish adrift at my feet, Mr President. Their ancestors were feeding off planet Earth long before ours. They did not pollute it with chemicals. They evolved from the naturally occurring elements within the universe. What you perceive is the ever-widening effects of Big Bang.
‘Burning fossil fuels and emitting unnatural gaseous substances into the atmosphere is deadly to us all. It is antagonistic to the law of nature and unprecedented in the cosmos. Your people need to be totally committed to a reduction in greenhouse gasses and soot,’ said Prince Wilfred as he bent down to tickle a guppy.
‘See this millionfish; he or she normally lives in freshwater. Did you know the guppy gives birth to live young and does not lay eggs? Think about it, a physically mating fish with aspirations to become a mammal; now you are witness to Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.
‘Like humans, this little guppy is not content; it is craving the sensations nurtured in your development. In spite of the present situation we both find ourselves in, I acknowledge you are a good man by the glaring evidence displayed by an intensely emotional, even psychological, catharsis release depicted by your demeanour. Hence, I have no sense of resentment or bitterness from you only an examining of yourself, maybe an awakening…I feel very calm in your presence.
‘The melting polar ice cap is flooding salt-water oceans with freshwater. In many directions our planet is changing; this guppy is lost, it should be in the West Indies: is it just another one of us fooled by climate change?’
‘You say, “My People” as if you are detached from the human race,’ said a choked President Holdback O’Carbon. ‘Inhabitants of the Lilypad Islands are fellows of the world’s population…I presume? You are a member of the human race…or maybe you are not?
Contrary to your observations concerning my tranquil manner, I personally have suspicions about you. I’m sorry to say it; but I’m a little apprehensive; maybe a little ill at ease in your company. I cannot recognise it yet, but I notice there is something eerie about your demeanour – it’s as though you are perpetually re-inventing yourself. If you are who you say…you are; how do you know these beavers? How did you get involved with them? I cannot believe they are real beavers. Or are they? If they are masquerades, I must admit they are excellent disguises…modernism, where will it next take us? And another thing, where did they get the plane; and of course, how can they talk to whales? Like you and everything else around me, it’s all so surreal.’
‘Actually, it’s a spaceship,’ said Prince Wilfred sharply. He was angry; he sensed his offer of friendship was rejected by The President and the world’s most influential man could see right through him. ‘I have no more time to answer your tiresome questions, you will know soon enough. Please, gather your colleagues it is time for us to move on. You can travel in the clean canopy on Torval our friendly female whale; you will not go underwater again. I hope you and your delegates are enlightened by our subterranean world, but most of all…realise how vulnerable she is. Enjoy this uncharted cruise; coffee and Viennetta ice cream are served on board. We have films made by naturalist Sir David Attenborough, enjoy them, he once said, “Humans are a plague upon the Earth”…think about it?’
Monika and her zloaded machine gun signalled to the captives, she kicked ass and herded them back up the beach and commanded they climb the stepladder into the luxurious cabin set upon the back of Torval.
‘Zit in zee zeats vee have provided for a more comfortable ride. Fazzen zee zeat beltz, putz on zee life jacketz as inztructed by our Hayley ztood at zee front. Putz on zee headzets in backs of zee zeats. Zurry up, get a move on, you can zit where zou vant too, we don’t hold any zeremony here, zoo only have to defer to uz zere creaturez!’ said Monika; she nudged a few of the bewildered humans with her burnished barrel.
‘Zow zare zoo Monika?’ said Christian to his girlfriend. ‘Zorry, I mean, how are you? I haven’t seen you for a while,’ and Christian kissed her.
‘I think you can put the gun down now, Mon. We have made our point; I don’t think this lot has anywhere to escape to. Give them these sugared almonds and After Eight Mints, have a chat with them about the islands. Tell them they can relax; Hank’s sat in the CTN.’
‘Zo I do luv it down zere in ze Zouth Pazific, Christian. Zit it zo much nizer zan zee Black Zee. Vill you bringz me zere for a romantic holiday – maybe honeymooz…juzt the two of uz next time?’ swooned Monika.
And the whales with their passengers and crew, Teapot and the CTN re-entered the sea and set sail for their final destination in the South Pacific Ocean: The Kokerboom Atolls, another archipelago of outstanding natural beauty. The position: Latitude: 03 degrees 19.53 minutes south. Longitude: 142 degrees 19.55 minutes west.