Don’t give me that look, Martha. Of course I know you’ve noticed by now. Why don’t you stop beating around the kelp and lay it all on the table? Frankly, I’m a little appalled at what a lack of acceptance you have. I didn’t say word one when you had your fins lengthened or when you had that giant squid scar removed. Even though both of those procedures came out of my pocketbook

Dear, I understand … What? Wait. Stop. Listen to me. Listen. I understand that your mother doesn’t approve of my other piercings, always saying that I look like a vagabond. But this one will show her that I’m cultured. I’m a living canvas. Yes, I’m well aware that I said that the last harpoon I got would be the last, but this—this. This isn’t just another piercing. This is art, Martha. Body art. I have a full-grown, grizzly, one-legged man attached to me under my hump. Do you know where that other leg is, Martha? It’s in my stomach. This is what I had to go through to get this piercing. Do you know what that leg tasted like, Martha? Driftwood. It tasted like sun-bleached, salt-soaked driftwood that’s now bobbing around in my bowels.

Good Neptune, do you have any idea about the symbolism of this piece? I haunted this man. I lured that dinghy he calls the Pequod out to sea for years. And let’s not forget about the leg ingestion! Damn it if it didn’t feel good when I finally got this piercing. It’s such a … such a rush, you know? It’s like an extension of myself that’s … What? Why should I have run this by you first? That’s ridiculous. I’m a full-grown whale, Martha! Stop, here comes Bobby. I refuse to argue in front of our son. Just hold on a sec—

Bobby, my boy! How ya doing? How was school? Huh? No, Mommy and I aren’t fighting, just talking parent talk. Hey, I was talking to Frank after work and he said his son was heading down to the coral fields today for a game of baseball. What’s that boy’s name again? Ah, Ralph, yeah. You like Ralph, don’t you? Then get that new fin mitt we got for you and get down there! Remember, keep your eye on the ball. That’s right, swim through first base. Atta boy.

All right. Excuse me? I think I’m setting a fine example for the boy! He needs to learn art and free expression. I’d like to see him learn those values from your huge fins and botoxed blowhole. Now don’t cry. I told you they were beautiful, didn’t I? Didn’t I? Come on now—I was only trying to make a point.

Before you keep judging, you just have to see this thing in action. The arm flaps. Back and forth across his chest. It flaps, Martha! I’d like to see any of the boys down at the plant get something like this. No, this isn’t just to impress the guys at work. You just have to understand, Martha, that this is me. This is who I am. So you’ll just have to quit your blubbering … Yes, I know this is no time for jokes. No, I’m not calling you fat. Quit twisting my words around.

Of course it looks bad when you put it like that. Why can’t you just admit … I don’t think … You know what? Fine! If it will make you happy and get you off my hump, I’ll take a half a day from work tomorrow and go see Dr. Doolittle about having him removed. Don’t think for a second that I’m happy about this. Anyway, I don’t think we’ll have money in the budget for the procedure. Are you kidding me? Money doesn’t just grow on seaweed, Martha. Well, then I hope you’re content with just eating sardines for a month. This conversation is over. I’ll go to the doctor tomorrow and we’re leaving it at that. Such frustration with you sometimes! I’ll be at the Sand Bar.