You’re a True’s beaked whale.
“Both of us are, I guess.”
I just wanna talk to one of you. Let’s say you’re on the right.
Don’t do that.
“Sure. Now, uh, what are you?”
Me? Human, mostly.
“Wow. Never seen one of you alive before. Sometimes your corpses wash in, so we’ve been able to study you, but seeing you live? Wow.”
I could say the same to you. You’re the first True’s beaked whale we have footage of.
“Dude, this is First Contact.”
“Where do humans live?”
On the land.
“What the hell is land?”
Imagine the opposite of your reality.
Okay, okay, gimme a second. Got it: you know how you’re always wet?
“I am constantly soaked.”
What if you weren’t?
“Ah. Land. This is great. What do you do up there?”
Same as you. Wander around, eat, mate, poop, sing.
“Dude, I am gonna sing you so many of our songs! Wait, I’m not the first whale humans have met, right?”
“The other whales. The guys with the big flat heads and the teeth, and the ones with the giant flippers, and those asshole bowheads.”
What’s wrong with bowheads?
“Never met a good one. You hate to judge.”
“You hate to judge, but I’ve never met a bowhead who didn’t deserve to be eaten by a megalodon.”
Megalodons are real?
“Real as shit. You got anything like that? Big giant monsters that roam around eating humans at random?”
“I calls ’em like I sees ’em. The other whales. Humans have met other whales, right?”
We have met them, yes.
“Awesome. Hope the poor little True’s beaked whale can get a seat at the table.”
I don’t understand.
“Well, I assumed that humans and whales greeted each other as fellow sentiences sharing a planet; separated by anatomy, but bound by geography. There must be some sort of council. Cross-species parliament, maybe.”
“Was I a little bit off or a lot?”
Not even wrong. Your guess didn’t even get close enough to be considered incorrect.
“Please tell me you don’t eat us.”
Most of us, at least.
You eat squid. Cephalopods are smart as hell.
“No, no. Squid have no souls. They’re more like clockwork beings than real animals. Perfectly fine to eat them or experiment on them. Back to the point: humans hunted us for food?”
Yes, some, but not at an industrial scale.
“Oh, that makes it better.”
We saved the industrial scale for when we hunted you for your oil.
Oil! You’re full of it! You’ll light e’ry wick from here t’ Hartford! I’ll get me harpoons in ya, I will, and ride you halfway to the Cape, all for your beautiful oil!
Sorry. In my past life, I was Captain Moby Dick.
“I don’t think you actually read that book. Tell me about the oil.”
“What about it?”
It has a low ignition point and burns for a while. Excellent fuel for a street lamp, plus it was cheap. Only downside was that it made the whole city smell like barbecued dolphin.
“There are other downsides.”
“All the whale murder.”
Right, sure. I suppose you don’t want to hear about whalebone, then.
“Oh, God, I hope that’s a euphemism.”
It is not.
“What the fuck do you demons need with our bones?”
“How do humans live with themselves?”
A lot of us drink.
“I hope I never meet another human being.”