A CHRISTINA NEWMAN ORIGINAL
Coconuts are strange creatures; rather blunt and hard headed,
and always very cranky. That is why I was hesitant to speak to
the coconut I saw cracking his head against a solitary palm tree
and moaning. Since seagulls are always taught to help others in
need, however, I decided to cheer this lonely fellow up.
"What on earth are you doing?" I asked, once I had flown closer.
"Shut up!" was the reply given to me.
"How friendly you are!" I tried again. There was no answer this time, so I thought a minute before speaking again.
"Has something happened? You look almost cracked." Here the coconut snorted and looked about to smile, but quickly stopped and changed his expression to a sour one.
"And why would I tell you?" he demanded. I shrugged not knowing what to say. We both stared at each other until finally he spoke.
"Do you really care about me? I don't even know you."
"Don't act so surprised! Someone must have helped you before, haven't they?"
"No, coconuts don't really pay attention to each other; at least not like you seagulls."
"How terrible! So, what's wrong?"
"What makes you so interested in my problems? I bet you just want publicity for being what I suppose you consider 'nice' to me."
"Of course not! I just thought you looked sad. I can go away if you want and let your coconut friends help you.... or rather ignore you."
"Hey, don't fly away!"
"Oh, all right. Would you like to talk to me or not?"
"Look, I was evicted from my tree," he confided. I was dumfounded. Weren't coconuts at all responsible? I had never heard of a seagull losing his house.
"Well, do you have a job?" I asked after a long pause.
"No, I live on welfare," he said glumly. He looked bugged with himself that he had told me about his situation.
"Well, how do you expect to live a progressive life on welfare?"
"Well, um..." He stared at the ground. Suddenly, he looked back up at me. "Why am I telling you this stuff? I don't even know your name or anything!"
"Kizhi," I repeated. "That's my name. Kizhi."
"Oh, right. Call me Sarom."
"Fine, now we know each other."
"Do you want a job?"
"I suppose so, but I'd probably lose it like my last 12 jobs."
"Hmmm... Perhaps if you knew how to be a good worker, you wouldn't lose your jobs," I suggested. The sour look came back on his face.
"Look, Fiji, I don't need your help. I barely know you."
"Sure... But what could you do to help me?"
"Well, for one, I could teach you to fish."
"No way. I'd sink, and I can't fly."
"Oh, of course. "
"It's no use. Coconuts and seagulls don't mix."
"Yeah, but I can still teach you something."
"Like what? Flying? Singing Karaoke? Coconuts can't do the stuff you folks do."
"Lets see. I'm having a career conference on Friday, would you like to come?"
"A career conference?"
"Yeah, all of my friends are coming."
"I suppose it would be all seagulls?"
"Ach no! My friend Boushin is a papaya, and my friends Daishag and Mumuag are both melons. Oh, and Pikahr is a hawk."
"Oh, I don't know, Midgie."
"Kizhi. It would be fun, and you could learn about careers and stuff."
"Oh, all right. But I still lost my tree, where will I stay until then? And after then, too?"
"Hmm. I don't think my wife, Siffaq would mind if you came and stayed with us until then. We live over in Beachville Palms on the tallest tree."
"Are you certain?"
"Positive. I'm sure Siffaq wouldn't mind. I hope you don't mind babies, because she just hatched a nest full."
"Oh of course not. Thank you so much."
"No problem, Sarom. As my mom used to say, 'If you give a gull a fish, you feed him for a day. But if you teach a gull to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.'"