Story: Seagull and Stone
— Just a little something to lighten things up (as I said I might do periodically)… hope you enjoy it —
Originally started for my kids… but between divorce & growing up, they didn’t get to hear it.
Once upon a time… not so far off and not so nearby… there was a seagull. He was just a regular type of guy, doing what seagulls usually do – flying around, eating, having fun, and enjoying life. He was also pretty much an ordinary looking seagull – except for leaning to his right as if he were just about to fall over. This leaning condition was made more prominent by his right wing which stuck out a little when he wasn’t flying. So he always looked as if he was just about to stumble while extending his wing to keep himself from falling over. Kind of hard to tell what was going on actually, but all in all he managed quite well – except for appearing slightly comical.
On this particular day, the seag… (wait, he should have a name shouldn’t he? So let’s call him Seagull… )
On this particular day, Seagull, with a nice big juicy clam in his mouth and thinking “mmm, yum yum”, landed on the beach with a little double hop. Hop… Hop… (Yes! Just like that.)
Seagull perched himself upon a rather large, smooth, blue-grey stone and just stood there for a bit – admiring the curious blue and gold flecks of color that seemed to emanate from the stone’s center. After a moment or two, Seagull roused himself from his reverie, remembered that he was hungry and, since eating was more important than admiring an ordinary, if colorful, stone – he proceeded to break open his big, soon to be yummy, clam upon the stone.
Peck. Peck… Peck. Peck.
“Hey, cut that out.”
Thinking he had heard someone speak, Seagull looked around but since he could find no one within earshot, he shrugged the thought off and continued about the business of breaking open his breakfast.
Peck… Peck. Peck.
“Hey, cut that out will ya?”
Again, Seagull looked around but could see no one nearby. He couldn’t see anyone far off. Heck, he didn’t see anybody at all. But this time he was not so quick to ignore the voice.
“Who said that?” he ventured.
“I know you did, but who are you and where are you?”
“Right under your feet.”
Seagull looked down and saw only the stone and lots of white beach sand. “What are you talking about? There’s no one down there.”
“Oh yes there is. I’m down there.”
“OK. And just who are you?” asked Seagull thinking that he would just play along for a minute. After all, if he was hallucinating, might as well make the best of it.
“I’m the stone you’ve been trying to open your clam on.”
“WHAT? Are you kidding me? That’s ridiculous!”
“Now why, I ask you, would that be so ridiculous?”
“Because stones don’t talk. At least they haven’t to me recently.”
“Well, guess what Mister Seagull with the oh-so-sensitive hearing, today is your lucky day because I am a stone and I am talking to you. Now will you please stop pecking on me?”
Seagull was a bit taken aback, “Why certainly sir. You are a sir aren’t you?”
“Well I’m not an it am I? But since you ask, yes I am.”
“I do apologize. If I had known you would be offended, I would never have pecked upon you.”
“Thank you. Apology accepted,” said Stone. “Now will you please get off me? I wish you seagulls would just try being a stone for a day or too. Then you’d see what its like lying around in the hot sun without being able to move, the tide trying to drown you on a regular basis, and on top of that a bunch of seagulls flying down to peck their clams open on you. And I won’t even mention the dogs and what they do… Geez, what a life.”
“Well, believe me, if I had any idea, I would not have landed here,” said Seagull hopping off. “And if I could, I’d make amends for it right now.”
“Funny you should say that Seagull, because you can.”
“Can make amends.”
“Oh, oh” thought Seagull. “Somehow I’ve really gotten myself in the soup this time. What’s next, a rock concert?”
“Make amends how?” he asked timidly, in almost a whisper.
“By getting a girl, any girl, to pick me up and kiss me, that’s how,” said Stone.
“What! Ha! Excuse me for laughing,” he was relieved too, “but, first of all you’re a stone that talks when stones don’t talk. Second, you want me, a seagull, to find a girl and get her to listen to me. Ha! Never mind getting her to pick you up and kiss you. Are you nuts! Or am I going crazy?”
“Oh, oh. Maybe I really am hallucinating,” he thought.
“Listen Seagull, you’re the one who landed on me and started pecking away without any thought whatsoever about my minding. Then, you offered to make amends. So, are you going to make amends or are you going to stand there laughing?”
“Well, I did say I would and I ought to keep my word. OK, I’ll give it a try. But, don’t get your hopes up. I still think it’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. A seagull getting a girl to pick up a stone and kiss it. Ha! Might as well make it a princess.”
Seagull wobbled a bit on takeoff as he was laughing so hard but finally, after two more tries, he managed to fly off – still laughing so hard that he couldn’t quite gain altitude and almost flew into an incoming wave. As he spread his wings and caught the updraft coming in over the ocean, he thought about his new task of making amends.
“How in the world am I going to do this? For one thing, seagulls don’t talk to girls and girls talk to seagulls about as often as stones do. Hey! I know what I’ll do, I’ll go talk to Owl. He’s a smart old bird and if anyone can help me, he can. Yep, that’s just what I’ll do.” So off he flew in search of Owl.
“Oh hi Seagull. How’s everything? I trust all is well,” replied Owl.
“Yes, yes, I’m fine thank you. But I need your help Owl. I’ve got this odd thing that needs doing, and only you can help,” said Seagull.
“Well now, thank you ever so much for the compliment Seagull, but what is it you need?” asked Owl.
“Well, you see Owl. Its kind of a long story. I landed on this stone to peck my clam open, and the stone got a bit upset with me.”
“Wait a minute… excuse me for interrupting, Seagull. But you did say the stone got upset with you?”
“Yes. That’s what I said.”
“Seagull, are you OK? Stones don’t usually get upset with things, you know. After all, they’re just stones now aren’t they?”
“Well, yes, but this one did OK? Now may I continue with my story?”
“Oh, so sorry. Of course. Of course. Please, continue.”
“As I was saying, the stone got upset with me for pecking on him. One thing led to another and now I have to make amends. He wants me to get a girl to pick him up and kiss him.”
“What? Ha! Now I know this is some kind of joke. Who put you up to this Seagull? That old joker Sea Otter? Or maybe you were supposed to say a princess?”
“No Owl. Sea Otter did not put me up to anything. I told you, I need your help. I’m serious. Now are you going to be a friend and help me or not?”
Owl was still laughing, “Heh, heh. Oh, sorry Seagull. Heh. I just can’t seem to, really, heh, believe you. Ha!”
“Look Owl!” Seagull was getting frustrated, “I am not fooling around! This is a serious matter of a promise and making amends. Will you help me or shall I go ask someone else.”
“Hey, you really are serious, heh, heh, aren’t you?”
“Yes, now stop laughing and help me please.”
“Heh, OK, just give me a minute, heh, to get myself, ha, ha, together and let me think.” Owl finally stopped laughing and started thinking.
Seagull hopped impatiently from one foot to the other – his wing sticking out. One foot. The other.
Still, Owl just sat there with his eyes closed, thinking.
Finally Seagull dared ask, “Owl… Are you thinking or sleeping?”
After another minute, Owl opened his eyes. “Eh? Me? Sleeping? I should say not dear friend. I’ve been thinking. And I think I’ve got an answer. Well, not really an answer but an answer anyway.”
“Will you please make some sense Owl. Do you or do you not have a suggestion?”
“Better than that dear boy, better than that,” said Owl. “I’ve no help for you, but I’ve got an idea. I shall go see my old friend Merlin. He will most assuredly be able to help us, if he doesn’t die laughing that is. Just you wait here for a while. I shall return promptly.”
And so Owl set off in search of his old friend, Merlin.
Soon he was zooming in on the hut where Merlin lived. Landing on the window sill, Owl peered in. Things were just about the same as when he was young and had lived here. The dishes were busy washing themselves in the sink and making a mess as they splashed around and played. The salt shaker was arguing with the pepper shaker, and the spoons were dancing with the forks, around and around on the table top. There was Merlin, standing over his workbench mixing a thick, colorful liquid in a glass beaker. Upon his shoulder sat a baby owl just as Owl used to do. And as babies will, the little owl was making a little mess on Merlin’s robe.
“Hello. Hello Merlin. May I come in?” shouted Owl. It really was difficult being heard over all the noise that the dishes and shakers were making.
“What? What? Who’s that?” muttered Merlin, looking around. “Owl! Why its my old friend Owl. How are you? Come in. Come in.”
“Hi Merlin. I just came by to say hello.”
“Really? Come now Owl, you do remember that I see things you cannot,” said Merlin, smiling, “I happen to know that you are here to ask for help concerning your friend Seagull. Is that not so?”
“Well, yes Merlin. You’ve guessed it. Do you know the problem?”
“Know the problem? Ha! Owl, old friend, Seagull has got himself into a real pickle. Who would ever believe that stuff about a stone talking to him? Ha! Makes me laugh just to think of it. Him standing there, almost falling over when Stone spoke to him. Oh but I digress, my friend. You ask if I can help. Can I help? What do you think? Would you have come if I could not help? Of course I can help. Just you sit down a minute and let me think. Sit. Sit right there on the sill. Let me think now. Hmm.”
So Owl sat down and waited. He watched the dishes splashing around. He watched the shakers argue. He watched the little owl make a mess on Merlin’s shoulder. “Oh, to think that I used to do that too. Terrible. Absolutely terrible. And rude, to say the least.”
Merlin appeared to be in a daze. He just stood there gazing into the beaker and swirling it gently, mixing the colors around – yellow eddies of blue, red spirals of yellow, green and blue. But the colors never really mixed. They just swirled around and around. Owl was becoming entranced.
“Got it!” yelled Merlin.
Owl almost fell off his perch. He hadn’t realized how mesmerized he had been by the swirling colors and tried to look as if nothing had happened, “Got what?”
“The answer Owl. The answer, that’s what. We’ll write a note.”
“Write a note. Merlin I can’t read!”
“Its not for you Owl. Its for Seagull.”
“But Merlin, if I may remind you, Seagull cannot read either.”
“What? He can’t? Oh of course not. It’s not for him, it’s for him to carry,” said Merlin as he looked around the hut, “Now where are they? Pencil! Paper! Where are you? Come here, will you please?”
Owl watched as Pencil and Paper hopped up onto the table. One of the dancing spoons bumped into Pencil and they both fell over.
“Hey, watch it will you!” cried Pencil, “You spoons are always getting too rowdy, now will you get out of the way please. I’m on a mission here!”
“Quiet now,” said Merlin, “Pencil, I’d like you to write something please. Paper, hold still will you? Stop fluttering about. Now write.”
And so Pencil wrote on Paper what Merlin said.
All the while Owl snoozed.
“Wake up Owl. It’s finished. Take this note to Seagull and tell him he to deliver it to the girl.”
“What girl?” asked Owl.
“Why the one he must find, don’t you remember?”
“Oh yes. The girl,” replied Owl, frantically searching his memory, “I think I remember now.” But he didn’t. You see, although Owl was quite smart, he could not remember everything. Especially since his head was so full of such important things as where his next lunch was hiding.
Anyway, Owl flew off with the note. As he was flying along he spied a nice mouse down below, and since he hadn’t had his breakfast or even lunch yet, he swooped in and exchanged the note he was holding for the mouse. Well, after eating the mouse, Owl took a little nap and – you guessed it – forgot all about the note.
And, since you guessed that much, there’s really no point in going on with the story is there? Besides it’s obvious you’ve also guessed the ending and so would most likely be disappointed by just another predictable, “I knew that was coming” ending. But, we should still tie off a couple of loose ends don’t you think?…
Owl got back OK, but without the note. He and Seagull had a bit of a tiff (the usual dependability & promises kept stuff), but since Owl had lost the note, there was nothing to do but forget the whole thing and get back to enjoying life.
Stone was disappointed at first but, having been a stone for many many years, he had come to the realization that being unattached had its advantages and after all was said and done he was actually quite content just being what or who he was.