“I call it post-traumatic stress,” Chloroph suggests, “the Captain needs his mind sorted.”

“Don’t you ‘post-traumatic’ me or psychobabble me into anything,” the Captain retorts, “everything may appear fine but this doesn’t mean I should accept what I see for what it is.”

“What more do you want?” Labaguette asks, “we’ve been through thick and thin you and I.  Look at me now, see my wonderful family?  It’s all I ever wanted.”

“Your family appeared out of nowhere, you went through that Hook and look at you now…”

“What do you mean look at me now?  I love them, they’re part of me, they—“

“They’re not real.”

There’s a silent parrot.  He sits on a King’s shoulder, counting every member of his family.  There’s a parrot who would huff and puff if he could, though he knows better.  His Master has lost the plot, there’s no point in engaging in unnecessary battles.  Labaguette attends to each of his brood, smoothing their feathers, pecking on the head of his better half to remove unwanted dust particles.  It’s an act of love.  Labaguette averts his eyes from the Captain’s stare.  There will be better times he thinks, there will be.

“You need a reality check,” Chloroph tells the Captain, “if you believe in your dreams, they materialise.”

“Indeed,” the King says, “watch me.”  The King stands, walks back up to the Hook and steps inside it, disappearing behind its mirroring curtain.

“Huh!” the Captain exclaims, “now what?”

And just as he’d disappeared a second ago, the King reappears, dressed in a white robe, a shiny, sparkly halo floating above his head, a spiritual leader of some sort.  Still standing on his shoulders are Labaguette and his family, in white feathers and assorted halos above each of them.

To be continued…


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