“Mouton Blanc, my name is Mouton Blanc.”

“Who’s they?” the Captain insists.

“Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!” Labaguette exclaims, laughing his head off. “Fuck it!  White Sheep?”

“My mother was French.”

“Yeah right,” Labaguette retorts, burying his head inside his wings, as if to sob, except this isn’t quite sobbing and the Captain knows it.

“Labaguette!” the Captain orders the parrot, “Get back to your post and shut the fuck up!”

“All right, all right, all right.  I was only trying to—“

“—I’m creature.  I’m immortal, isn’t it obvious?”

“You’re a prisoner because you’ve been wearing those shackles for an awful long time,” the Captain suggests philosophically, “if you got rid of them, you’d be able to get out, wouldn’t you?”

“Get out where?” Mouton Blanc asks.

“To be freed.”

“From what?”

“Those pins look painful,” the King adds, wondering if this creature, if this Mouton Blanc has got what it takes to make any sense, any sense at all, and if perhaps they’d better be off making their way off to God knows where and avoid this Mouton Blanc of a kind.

“They hold me shackles secure,” Mouton Blanc answers, “they’re useful at night when I can remove them to take the gate off its hinges and let fresh air in, but during daytime it gets too hot.  The pins hold the shackles to hold me body together.”

“The pins hold—”

“—I’d melt without them.”

“You could walk out when you get the door off its hinges?” the King asks, “all you have to do is step over the threshold.”

To be continued…


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