Sally has a job. She is Postmistress #3. She is the second alternate to the main Postmistress and is called on to perform her postal duties about twice to three times a year. The first alternate does about the same but is usually asked first because she wants the work. Sal just likes the break.
On Friday, it was Sal’s turn. Postmistress #1 was a chaperon on a school field-trip and Sal stepped into the breach. She headed up that morning in her small boat in -11 degree weather with the wind on her nose (and Fid’s. He went, too). Just like the shopping day.
As she turned the last headland to the bay where the floating post office was located (it is one of only two floating post offices in BC. It has no electricity, no phone, no bathroom and only enough room for one customer at a time. The post office is heated by wood and is about 10 feet by 12 feet in size. It is located at the foot of the ramp on the government dock), she was brought up short by the sight of a large, dead sea lion floating alongside.
About 2000 pounds of golden-haired, bloated mammal.
She decided to call me but the walkie-talky transmission was blocked by that same headland.
“Why call me?” I asked.
“Well, I thought that maybe you should call somebody.”
“You mean like the Dead Sea Mammals society or the Morbid Mariners? Or were you thinking, perhaps, that the same DFO that can’t afford to put a boat in the water or who has overseen the demise of our fisheries on both coasts might want to know about that? Maybe the Coast Guard needed to ‘flag it’ as a hazard to navigation?”
“Well, all that did cross my mind. But I was thinking they might think me silly. Better you should call it in.”
“Yeah, they would think that. But, if it is any consolation, they would have considered me certifiable for calling it in. There is no way I am going to sit on an automated phone tree to leave a message for a bureaucrat who is unlikely to be aware that we even have sea lions in these waters just to tell them that one had died.
“And, anyway, what would you do? Sit there in the bay for hours while I talked to DFO’s imbeciles-without-boats?”
“Well, I was thinking I might slip a line over a flipper and then tow it ashore. At the very least, we’d have a dead sea lion out of the way. And, anyway, you know how everyone loves to get dead animals out here.”
“Now you are talking! They love that sort of thing out here. They seem to like skulls the best, I gather. I suppose the best thing would have been to simply cut off it’s head while you were there and just throw the bloody thing into the boat for someone to pick up later.”
“Yeah. I thought of that. I only had a small knife with me but I suppose I could have hacked through it. The big challenge was that it was floating head down so I think I would have to tow it to the beach and then decapitate it when the tide went out.”
“Yeah. But I feel a bit guilty because I didn’t do it after all. I sort of felt that I should get on to the post office but I also didn’t want anyone to lose out on a good seal lion head. Tough choice, ya know?”
“Yeah. I know. But you could call one of them and tell them?”
“Are you kidding! I don’t want to get someone mad at me. What about the ones I didn’t call? They’d be ticked. No, it’s better this way. Wherever the sea lion ends up, there goes the bounty. In that way, I am not involved!”
“Yeah. Good thinking. Who would have thought you had to be careful who you told about dead sea lions, eh?”
So, with that thought in mind, I decided to tell you guys.