“Takes all your time,” Labaguette adds not without pity, his strong beak having in no time taken care of the strings binding it, “I wouldn’t be able to insert three pins in a lock in the right order either”.

“Really, never got the right combination?” the Captain asks Mouton Blanc.

“Night is falling,” Mouton Blanc says.

“Genetics,” Chloroph comments, “born to insert pins in the wrong orders, for eternity.  It’s not just bad luck, it’s genetically predetermined destiny.”

The crew looks around but sees and feels no difference in the colour of the air, nor in its temperature.  Mouton Blanc begins the seemingly meticulous task of removing each pin from the shackles, his skin then slumping around each body part and limb that was held by the restraints, much like a Michelin man, only without air in it.  Then, he holds the pins in his mouth before inserting them inside the lock, one by one, attaching the shackles around the door’s metallic bars, taking the door of its hinges, turning it around and setting it back in.

The King asks: “would you mind if—“

“—Don’t!” the Captain interjects.

“If I tried the pins?” the King continues.

“You can’t,” Mouton Blanc answers, “I’m your gaoler now.  You’re my gaoler.  We’re enemies.  If I catch you attempting to overstep my boundaries, you’re dead meat.  Logic.”

“I thought we were friends,” the Captain tries.

“Who said we weren’t?”

Labaguette has never seen his Master so embarrassed, so confused.  This is the opportunity of a lifetime for some form of advancement, the parrot thinks – the latter having to be worked on later in his own terms.  Labaguette perches on Captain Traumatic’s shoulder and whispers:

To be continued…

(Merry Christmas!)


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