debeakotheque

Sweet bedtime. Schmutzie is drifting off to sleep in mid-conversation. The Palinode is wide awake.

Lotus: Our kitchen is too small.

Palinode: Our entire apartment is too small.

Lotus: We need a new place. With a bigger kitchen.

Palinode: And a full set of shiny kitchen implements.

Lotus: Like that garlic press your mother has. And one of those can openers where you don't cut yourself on the rim.

Palinode: And a decent coffee grinder...

Lotus: ...yeah...

Palinode: And a new debeaker.

Lotus: ...yeah...what?

Palinode: A debeaker. For debeaking the puffins.

Lotus: What? Oh my god, that's revolting.

Palinode: The new models aren't so bulky.

Lotus: I've never heard of anything so horrible.

Palinode: It's a regrettable but necessary thing.

Lotus: Why? Why would you want to debeak a puffin?

Palinode: You want to eat puffin with the beak on?

Lotus: I don't want to eat puffin at all!

Palinode: Well, debeakers weren't invented for culinary purposes. They were created to deal with the menace.

Lotus: The menace of what?

Palinode: Puffins.

Lotus: What are they a menace to?

Palinode: The local wildlife. And possibly farm animals.

Lotus: Around here?

Palinode: Oh yes.

Lotus: We live on the prairies. Puffins aren't native to the area.

Palinode: Not any more. They were debeaked. But there was a time when the bison was laid low by the savage puffin.

Lotus: Really? And why aren't there puffins terrorizing the plains right now?

Palinode: It's the middle of the night. Puffins are diurnal. And anyway they were all debeaked in the late nineteenth century. All those beaked puffins you see are artists' renditions or flashy CGI.

Lotus: Really. Then why do we need a puffin debeaker for our new kitchen?

Palinode: Sorry, I was referring to toucans.