When I woke up I was lying next to a big fish.
There was clearly something wrong with it.
So I called the vet.
The vet brought a questionnaire.
He grilled me for about an hour.
Mainly about my parents.
We went finally upstairs.
And he rolled up his sleeves.
He waved his fingers at me.
I lifted the covers for his inspection.
And he plunged in up to his elbows.
‘If you leave it in the bed,
it’s just going to float there,’
As if that’s not exactly what
it should have been doing!
As if there was some kind of river
running through the bed
that it could have swum away into!
It had a fever.
It was unnaturally hot.
And there was now steam rising from it.
What little water it had
could have easily evaporated.
The vet had turned away.
He was wiping his hands on one of my towels
and looking out the window.
I quickly pulled the covers back over.
Imagine the smell when they cut through
the blubber to the meat on whaling-boats.
There was that smell.
And the steam.
And sounds of distress coming from the bed.
‘I think it’s a whale.’
I asked the vet:
‘What kind of fish do you think it is?’
‘It’s just a big fish,’ he said.
He was already miles away,
onto his next important case.