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Critter Profile: Bartholomew!



Name: Bartholomew, AKA Bart the Beyonder Courtier, Favor'd Song of Alagadda; the Cosmic Mouth; and the Flesh that Oscillates and Sings

Species: Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas)

Primary Caretaker: Jackie Norman (Aquatics Team)

Diet: Conversations and readings.

Housed: Wilson's Wildlife Observatory, Outdoor Aquarium

Creature Features!

Hey y'all, I'm Peter, Bart's feeder!

Bartholomew (or Bart, for short) is one of the brightest, most well-read critters to have descended down to the physical plane! Potty-trained, happy-go-lucky, and low maintenance — Bart is sure to give your kids a whale of a time. Bart is an old boy that used to keep to himself in the state-of-the-art Hoverquarium, 35 feet above the ground, where he loved the feeling of crane-assisted belly-pats! But even with our Suit fellows from the forest up north giving us a hand, this configuration wasn't sustainable for very long.

Bart's what we on the Hands-On Crew call a "selective feeder". That is to say, he doesn't eat like your everyday Beluga does (and it's not just because Bart ain't your everyday Beluga) — Bart feeds solely on the spoken word. Greet him with a joyous "hello friend" and he'll open that big ol' mouth and suck in the words you just said! When this happens, don't be shy — that's how he shows he accepts you near his home.

Why, it goes both ways, too: Robbie, my partner, had a nice long chat with our big-boned buddy just a week after his papers were transferred over and processed. We're still not entirely sure how Bart "speaks" per se. We somehow always know when he's said something, but the waterproof mics lining the outdoor aquarium have yet to pick up a sound. If anything, I'd chalk this up to his innate charm!

Bart can be cranky at times, often leaping into the sky and floating aimlessly — hence the secluded enclosure locale — should he experience stomach aches or night terrors. We suspect Bart's come from a hard life before WWS sheltered him. But he's a favorite amongst children. Why, kids from Wilson's Daycare Center often come by his tank and spend hours talking to their affectionate buddy. We noticed it soothes him ever so! He treats their curious childish words like a special snack if you will.

While Bart prefers dated parlance, like Middle English or even Ancient Adytite accents (Jackie's sister from the Daycare Center — whose name escapes me at the moment — didn't even know what that was when we first told her!), he's partial to all mortal languages. One exceptional reading of Crime and Punishment will trigger Barty's BLOWHOLE OF UNSPEAKABLE PLEASURES, and then he'll emit just the cutest of non-Euclidean smiles this side of the Fourth World. Fair warning: if he's having a fit, just don't get too close — god no! — Robbie lost his arm in last month's accident.



Don't be fooled — the old boy isn't smiling, that's just the way Beluga jaws are formed. However, he IS indeed happy in this picture!

Bit weird at the end, there, Pete. That's okay — guess who's finally back at the Observatory, my fellow Critters? That's right! It's Jackie, and today I'll be telling you the story of how we discovered Barty. Now, his story is a touch more contrived than those of most other aquatic-types here, so I figured you'd trust the story coming from me instead of anyone else. Sorry, little sis — and, come on Peter, you worked with my sister Carol for three months now, how'd you forget her name?

Anywho, we suspect Barty isn't from planet Earth at all. Tim only believed it once he saw the rescue footage. One of Mr. Wilson's long-time friends and out-of-county associates — Bud from northern Portland — had the scare of his life when he spotted a sleek white dot descending slowly through the clouds above the downtown district. He knew something was up when he saw a dark silver cloud form over the course of a few minutes above the local library. He panicked and called in Wilson's favor when the dot hurtled through the skyline.

Before the nearest rescue team could get there, Barty slammed through the Multnomah County Central Library's historic brick-and-mortar facade and wound up embedded in a bookshelf. When the team and I arrived on the scene in the rescue van, we heard sobbing and moaning emitting from our dashboard display and dispatch radio, as well as from citizen's cellphones, and… Heck, anything that used electronics was screaming that day. It was mortifying, even in the compressed footage uploaded to LiveLeak.

Luckily, our Friends in Black popped up just in time (wink, wink) to give us some assistance via an aerial lift. Their guys safely ducked a harness under Barty's underbelly. Our rescue team and I helped clear mangled metal and pipe and glass that barbed the poor thing's back before we gave the OK to the helicopter pilots.

While helping nurse him back to health, I discovered the words "Property of the School of Night" branded into his tail flipper. It scared the heck out of me, so I got my sister to hold my arm while I inspected his tummy, where we found sickening blue lacerations and old green scarring. There was no way the refuse cut him up like that! Oh dear, no — someone hurt our poor old baby. They nicked him up badly and left him to die!

Special Needs and Accommodations!

Now you might be asking, why keep Barty in an outdoor aquarium if he's going to fly off when he has a fright? Simply put, we tried to house him in an indoor one, but he wound up injuring himself by penetrating through four stories of concrete. We're now considering this to be a form of self-harm; as Barty doesn't move far from the impact zone.

However, this hasn't stopped Barty's appetite. Barty takes up to 12 book readings a day nowadays. He enjoys plenty of conversations that fill his stomach. At night, he likes a good bedtime story.

Notes about Bart!

We found the letters "B A T H R L" burned blue beneath his left fin, and thought it sounded a bit like BARTHOLOMEW, or BART, as we affectionately call him!

Jackie again. There's more, now — did you know that Barty's my favorite critter of them all here at the Observatory? While I cared for him until his full recovery, I'd sing to him, and in exchange, he'd sing back in a low warble in my head that made me buzz with warmth. Every Thursday I read to Barty. One late night, whilst reading him Epic of Gilgamesh, he warbled in his familiar soft hum and then tried to speak to me — which he'd never done before.

I felt an idea, that he'd been estranged from his pod one day by some very mean people found between the stars and the sky. In Barty's song, I was likened to the Great Ninsumun, and he was Enki's creation, the one taken in as her son. I realized that the people that took Barty were the same people that tore him open, and I learned then and there that he had something they wanted. The gift of gab — the cutesy title of affection we've given him — isn't just what sets him apart, it's what makes him special, and not just to us, but to the people that decided to do these awful things.

Sent by: Jackie Norman


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