Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Darwin: My Muse, My Ruse, My Obtuse


Every time I put pen to paper (or finger to key, blobby pen to touchscreen, Lumino-wand to cyber-cockatoo internexus) I make an appeal to my inner Charles Darwin.

“Chuck,” I say, “get yourself out of that hammock and make with the whole Beagle’s About deal.  I need the literary equivalent of a bizarre new species of terrapin, and I need it now.”

This morning I met with bearded boffin reluctance.  Darwin raised an eyelid and gazed through the porthole at the pink waves of Whirly brain flesh beating against the ship’s hull.  “Maybe I will, maybe I won’t, maybe you’ll make me some toast.”  His eyelid closed.  “Easily heavy on the marmalade, if you don’t mind.”

I pondered the Beagle’s modest two tier kitchen, wondering why I’d fed all the marmalade to the ship’s (now sadly poisoned) cat.  When my hand found a banana and a blender, I concocted a plan based loosely around the hypothesis that a missing link of some kind must exist between a tangerine and a passion fruit, throwing in a splash of Tabasco to grace the theory with palatability.

“Here,” I said, offering Darwin a rum barrel brimming with pulped banana, “you’ll have to make do with marmalade soup on account of the bread turning to dust last September.”

Darwin took a swig.  “Curse these long expeditions!  They’re more of an irritant than those tiny red beetles, the ones with flecks of copper on their undersides I classified as a sub-sub-species of those bigger red beetles we found.  Bah!  They get under your skin and in your pants and everything.”

I checked the space on my wrist where, in the future, a Mickey Mouse watch would go nicely.  “Any thoughts on the bizarre terrapin thang?”

“Left at the next island,” said Darwin, craning his banana-drizzled head towards the porthole.  “I sense cutesy variations on the standard blue-nosed terrapin whose squat legs may serve as fodder for your literary fantasies.”

It’s a time-consuming method as far as acts of creation go, but sometimes it kind of works.

So far this week I’m four syllables into a haiku — and I’ve arranged an evening dinner date with the owner of my local pet shop.




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