Friday, December 4, 2009

Gus the whale

Las Vegas, Nevada. December 2, 2009.

I was waiting for my dinner, at The Pub. Having a nice Murphy’s red and listening to the bar singer decently pulling off a Garth Brooks tune that made me call my sister. I wondered about the pub’s logo: a big whale spouting fire. I wondered. Could it be Moby Dick? Is Melville even Irish, anyway? The bartender was a nice guy, probably in his mid 40’s or early 50’s . Hard to tell. He started talking to me, not in a rude –hitting on me – kind of mode, but in a friendly – I love my job - way. So I asked: why the whale? Is it Moby Dick? And then he said: oh no, it’s BIGGER than Moby. It’s Gus. Do you know about Gus?, he said. And then the story came, while sipping my Irish beer and listening to the pub’s singer version of Friends in low places.

Legend has it that back in the 1500 or 1600’s, European pirates where sailing the Caribbean, when they spotted the biggest sea creature ever seen: it was a whale, bigger and longer than their boats. They went greedy and opened fire with all they’ve got. But the creature got mad after all this teasing with tiny little bullets, so it came after the big pirate boat, opened it’s big wide mouth and swallowed the whole boat, pirates and armor included. It didn’t take much for Gus, the Whale, to ingest the entire pirate crew, boat and all.

Dead silence. Full whale… but then, an intense fire came out from its spout… and so the whale continued sailing the wide sea.

From that time on, every time you see a whale spouting fire, is either that it ate the powder barrels from a pirate ship or that the sturdy pirates are still in it, smoking their cigars and firing their pistols from the creatures underbelly, trying to get out of it.

I liked the story, it was better than expected. It is always a good feeling when you find somebody enjoying their work, giving you their best in an environment so easily corrupted by the sad look of the occasional depressive drinker or the bitter foreigners hiding from the loud singer that is too much for their phlegmatic taste.

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