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Phocoena Phocoena

by Jonathan Pinnock

Derek’s first wife ran off with a porpoise. Well, maybe ‘ran’ isn’t quite the right word, because obviously there was more swimming involved than running. But either way, the net result was pretty much the same.

It wasn’t the fact that it was a female porpoise that upset him; after all, he considered himself a tolerant, forward-thinking person. It was just that she wasn’t a particularly special porpoise: she was no better than average at performing tricks and had a very limited vocabulary. The clear implication was that Imelda had simply gone off with the first porpoise she’d come across. In his cups, Derek was wont to remark that this was entirely typical of her.

Derek remarried, and for a few years everything seemed to be working out. Barbara was loving and faithful, and they were blessed with two bright young children. But after a while, something changed and he began to seem distant to her. And on cold winter nights, when the sky was spattered with stars, Barbara would often find him sitting on the cliff top, staring at the sea, whistling tunelessly and making soft, barely-audible clicking noises.

Jonathan Pinnock is the author of MRS DARCY VERSUS THE ALIENS (Proxima, 2011), DOT DASH (Salt, 2012) and TAKE IT COOL (Two Ravens Press, 2014).  He blogs at and tweets as @jonpinnock.


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