After crossing from Australia with the help of the Von-Bingen reality shifter, Delfina and the protagonist, Pierrot, have arrived in Auckland, the Land of the Great Auks. Meanwhile, the narrator has grown impatient. The previous instalment is here.
While I read the introduction,
a bearded gentleman
with a dodo bird on a leash
“Auckland? I thought we were heading
for the South Island.”
“This reality must be a little different.”
We hadn’t eaten since the first episode,
and we wandered the streets of Auckland
until we came across a dilapidated restaurant
with a sign by the door:
GREAT AND LESSER AUK,
TWO FOR ONE
The great auk burger meal
did not impress Delfina.
“This meat is tough.”
The waiters were all dressed as auks,
and one hovering by our table
fluttered its stubby wings.
“It’s because the auks are free-range,
they get a lot of exercise
when we’re chasing them.”
Out of the blue, the waiter continued
with an intimate revelation.
“I only work as a waiter
to make ends meet.
My dream is to become a writer.”
He produced a scrap of paper from his beak.
“When I cannot choose between brooding and moping,
when my speech is echolalia and my fingers type automatisms,
when I’m wrapped in the clawed and leathery wings of fear,
when I’m frozen like an optical mouse,
on a completely uniform
“What do you think so far?”
He eyed Delfina with naive hopefulness.
“You’re quite an attractive auk.
Stick to what you do best.
“Pierrot, how’s your omelet?”
The waiter was affronted,
taken aback, sidelined.
He waddled off in silence.
Alternate-reality great auks, evolved by the visual evo engine with cyclic nonlinear desaturation, from a photo of a drawing by John James Audubon in “The Birds of America” (1827-1838).