“You pushed him overboard?”

“What’s wrong with my beak?”

“What did you do to him?”

“Where were you?”

“Where is he?”

The Captain approaches the grey residue glued to the deck and rubs some between his thumb and forefinger.

“Sticky,” he says “Mouton Blanc melted?”

“Daylight came.”

“You said you don’t know where he’s gone.”

“I don’t.”

“If he’d melted, you would have seen it.”

“It all happened so quickly.  You should have seen it.”

“I was asleep.”

“It was horrible.”

“Try me.”

“As I said, it happened very quickly.”

“So quickly you don’t know where he’s gone?”

“If you’d been here, you’d understand.”

“Sleep happens.  It caught up with me at the wrong time.”

“I don’t need any sleep.”

“Sooner or later, it’ll catch up with you.”

“Some scare tactic.”

“How horrible was the melting?”

“Hellish, drop by drop, as if Mouton Blanc was dribbling all over himself.  He was screaming, begging and—

“—what the flaming hell did you do to Mouton Blanc, you, patchy-feathered, headless chicken?”

“I’m no chicken,” Labaguette retorts, turning his back on the Captain.

“You talk and act like one.”

“For a start,” Labaguette continues, “headless chicken can’t—“

“—We’ll never get out of here, now.”

“What is it you know that I don’t know?”

“Go fetch the others.  A new exit must be planned.”

“You said  we’d never—“

“I don’t believe every word you say, I suggest you do the same if we’re ever to speak the same language.”

Soon, three monkeys, two ancient guards and an old princess reappear on deck led by the parrot.

“Chloroph has vanished,” the Captain announces, “unless he’s transformed into the vegetation that surrounds my Darling Princess.”

To be continued


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