The Long Flight Home—CHAPTER SIXTEEN

BOOBIES AND THE GADFLY PETRIL

gadflyGadfly Petrel: Seabirds indigenous to the southern Hemisphere, with some of the largest varieties in the South Pacific. They feed on food items picked from the ocean surface and have twisted intestines for digesting marine animals. Their wing and face markings are complex. __________________________________

Dooley and Talli burst out of the water with tremendous velocity. They shot skyward at least sixty feet. They struggled to get their wings working before they crashed back to the water and were just able to achieve flight before they hit the crest of a wave.

“Man, that felt like sixty years right there,” Dooley said as he spit out seawater.

“Really?” countered Talli. “It felt like the life was getting sucked right out of me.”

“C’mon, it wasn’t that bad,” Dooley proclaimed.

“Not that bad?” Talli said, amazed. “I’m pretty sure I pulled a hammy.”

Dooley was just about to explain to his brother that boobies don’t have hamstring muscles, when he spotted a small wooden launch under sail in the distance with several humans aboard.

“Quick, back to the maelstrom,” Dooley shouted in near panic as he wheeled in mid-air and started flying hard back in the direction of the maelstrom.

Confused, Talli looked around for a moment before turning and following.

Talli caught up to his brother circling over the spot in the ocean where they had been spit out only minutes earlier. “What’re we doing?” he asked, trying to catch his breath from the sprint through the air.

“We went back, not forward,” Dooley explained as he scanned the water’s surface. “I’m sure it was around here. Let’s go!”

Dooley and Talli went into a steep dive, hit the water at speed, and continued down fifty feet below the surface.

They swam frantically underwater, searching desperately for the maelstrom.

When they finally surfaced for air, Dooley appeared defeated. “It was right here,” he insisted.

“It’s a big ocean, Dooley. It all looks the same out here.”

“We should’ve gone sixty years forward,” Dooley insisted. “Now what?”

“Now we go find some humans,” Talli answered matter-of-factually.

Dooley and Talli awkwardly took-off from the water. After a short flight, Dooley gestured toward the lone wooden boat below. ”Those are the only humans around that I see.”

“Man, that is an old boat,” Talli observed. “I mean really old. And it looks overloaded.”

“Never thought I’d miss fiberglass hulls and noisy outboard motors,” added Dooley as he and Talli flew cautiously toward the boat.

The brothers spotted a female gadfly petrel, circling the launch at altitude. Dooley and Talli flew alongside her.

“Ahoy!” Dooley called to her.

She looked over Dooley and Talli before responding. “G’day, mates,” she answered with a thick Australian accent. “Long way from shore for you two.”

Talli frowned. “We’re seabirds. It’s our job to be out here at, y’know, the sea.”

“Hmm. Never seen the likes of you two before,” the petril commented. “Nice blue feet, though. They come in my size?”

“Funny,” Talli responded. “We were born with blue feet. We’re boobies.”

“Odd thing to brag about,” Mare observed.

“And you’re a gadfly,” Dooley joined the conversation.

“Right-o. Name’s Mare.”

“I’m Talli. He’s Dooley. We’re brothers.”

“Nice for you,” Mare observed.

bounty
Production still from 1935 MGM film, Mutiny on the Bounty, starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable

Looking down at the boat below, Dooley gestured, “So what’s happening down there?”

Mare glanced at the launch. The men on the boat seemed near starvation. At sea for days, they had neither food nor water.

“I’ve followed them from Tahiti, nice island, that. Anyway, they were tossed off a bigger sailing ship and set adrift,” Mare recounted.

Dooley groaned.

Talli looked over to his brother, concerned.

“This wouldn’t be the year 1789, would it?” Dooley asked with a fair amount of dread in his voice..

“What? Seventeen?” repeated Talli. “Did you say seventeen?” He looked pleadingly at Dooley for a correction and got only a shrug in response. “Oh, man,” he moaned. “We really did go the wrong direction . . . again!”

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Come back on Wednesday and see how the boobie brothers get out this historic dilemma.

© 2013, 2018 Sawyer Creative. LLC

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