Little Cow

The storm looms over the grassy fields outside my house. I sit in the kitchen, watching with baited breath as elasmobranchs of all shapes and sizes are sent hurling throughout the sky. Sharks collide with trees, windmills, even with some unfortunate tourists caught outside at the storm’s onset. Whales plop onto the ground in explosions of blubber. Seahorses don’t do much of anything because they are so small. There has to be some way to protect myself from the coming onslaught and I run, sideways so as to keep watching the marine life tempest, towards my computer.

Fortunately for me, the computer has a news update saying that due to how narrow the peninsula my house is located on is, the storm should pass by within minutes and return to the ocean. I look instead to a map of the Local Cluster, our galaxy and its neighbors’ place in the universe and wonder. Are there other planets being ravaged by sea creatures falling from the skies even now? Perhaps on another world it is not marine animals, but land creatures that have been caught up in this storm. Suddenly a vaquita impacts my house, crashing through the wall and landing upon the kitchen table. They are adorable creatures, the smallest cetaceans on Earth. In Spanish, vaquita means “little cow.” While they do not resemble cows, they are little and thus I am satisfied.

It flails about wildly, trying to return to its home waters of the Gulf of California. Poor thing, it must have traveled many thousands of miles in that gale. I do not have time to consider this further, as the hole created by the vaquita has let nurse sharks in. They suckle on the tile floor, hoping to dig up morsels of food that are not and never will be there. Thankfully no other shark species have entered the gap. I would faire far worse with a great white or scalloped hammerhead.

The vaquita cries its heart-wrenching whale song, it too having sensed the nearby sharks. I run my hand over the smooth rubber of its hide, trying to no avail to calm the vaquita’s woes. A wobbegong crashes through a window in my adjoining living room, much to my and the vaquita’s surprise. Its blowhole quivers in fear, but I at least know the intruding shark is a carpet shark and harmless in its current position on the floor. For now, we are safe.