Columns Saugatuck/Douglas Commercial Record

Blue Star

By Scott Sullivan
Seal of Disapproval
This time I knew it was all over. Ron and Maggie Conklin had paused en route to the South Pole to take pictures of seal pups, which on Page A6 she notes can grow to more than 20 feet long, weigh 4.5 tons and devour anything that moves in water. This included Zodiac rafts in which they were floating.
My parallel trip by imagination had devolved into still-worse Antarctic anarchy. My Fortress of Solitude on Cape Horn had become so crowded we’d run out of room. Beasts eager to eat us were more fearsome yet: the Tierra del Fuego Tiger and Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.
Before even Martha Stewart, such Seals were issued based on independent research paid for by the Hearst Corp. So far none had caught me. But as I continued to clean house — tossing out Robert Johnson, Albert Einstein, Phillip Glass and Rand Paul — an unknown cleanliness now threatened.
“As a pup you seemed so adorable,” I told the Seal. “Big brown eyes, soft whiskers … Now? Hearst grew giant, devouring newspapers, magazines, movie studios, TV networks … till William Randolph’s ‘Rosebud’ crashed, along with it his childhood innocence.”
“You’re getting ‘Citizen Kane’ and the truth mixed up,” said the Seal.
“See that sled out there?” I gestured. “All the snow?”
“It’s midsummer on Cape Horn,” said the Seal. “All I see is tundra.”
“Could it be real?” asked Einstein.
“Who let you back in?” I asked.
“Who kicked me out?”
“Good point.”
“That’s not a point,” groused the Seal.
“Nothing’s real. It is all imagined,” said John Lennon.
“You snuck back on the Yellow Submarine! What a scamp!” I said.
“On whose account this untidiness?” asked the Seal. “Look at these men’s hair.” Her chorus, Amy Vanderbilt and Emily Post, concurred.
“Raucous, no? Impolite? Improper? What kind of woman are these?” I asked.
“My kind!” the Seal said. “We’re taking off the kids’ gloves.”
Given one of her pups weighed as much as Saugatuck’s entire human population, there’d be disparity in those kids’ gloves’ sizes. Once they dropped we could hide under theirs. Immense flapping fins would whoosh by, leopard teeth gnash at air while we stole hidden under the glove to attack her tail fin.
“Yow!” the Seal bellowed. Emily and Amy scattered. We latest amigos — Einstein, Lennon and me — slapped hands, especially now Delta Blues King Johnson had reappeared with his string box, when …


It was the never-before-seen Tierra del Fuego Tigress.
“This can’t be an official sighting,” I told her. “See, my camera …”
“Relax,” said the Tigress, regurgitating my ex-rig complete with lenses and optic upgrades.
“Don’t shoot,” said the Tigress. “I’m unscene.”
“You put the weapon in my hands.”
Johnson stretched his fingers around his guitar’s neck and felt out chords, then started wailing. Amy and Emily ogled him. Rand Paul rode in on Rosebud.
“How can you?” I asked. “There’s no snow.”
There’s wheels on my sled,” he said.
Saugatuck’s Jim Peterik reprised “Eye of the Tiger” while the Cheshire Cat tapped her paws. “Can you see my eyes?”
“Pick it up,” the etiquette sirens whaled. The camera reached for my hands.
“Thar she blows!” yodeled Paul. Was it a humpback, killer, sperm whale? Thought we’d sunk the Seal. Settings, aim, shoot.”
“You’ll need to take off the lens cap,” the Tigress purred.
“Now I see only your eyes.”
“How can that be?” asked Einstein.
“Glaucoma?” Glass asled. “I can’t see it.”
“Made off with another,” the Tiger rrrr-ed, bearing me away. Who knew she was Queen of the Fire Lands? I marveled, caressed in her saber claws flashing like Southern Lights.
“Why are the seal pups howling?” I asked.
“Something’s up,” she said.
“It’s a blue whale 10 feet starboard! Where’s my wide-angle? Why is this lens cap so adhesive?”
“Remember, undocumented,” the Tigress said. “It’s all made up, nothing real.”
“Damn, digested again,” I complained to Jonah, standing next to us. Maggie, we need better recipes. Where’s the Tiger?”
Denny McClain appeared on the organ. “No!” Glass cried.
“What’ll it be?” asked the ex-ace, resplendent in his lounge lizard suit. “Hurdy Gurdy Man?”
“Argh!” Lennon yowled. “That really was on his ’69 album. Plus other songs.”
“They’re g-r-r-reat!” said the Tigress. Sugar Frosted Flakes fell from snow clouds.
The camera had two shutters: one for horizontal, the other for vertical grips.”
“Caress mine,” the Tigress said.

Ice Bergs Next

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