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09.26.03, friday night

From The Year of the Whale, by Victor B. Scheffer (1969):

"A third female in the Little Calf's group was the victim of a weird accident. On her back, above and behind the right flipper, is a long callused ridge. It will stay there until she dies. If she is killed by a whaling crew, the flensing knife of the butcher will dull itself on a hard thing buried in the ridge. The thing is the bony bill of a swordfish, or broadbill. Four years earlier, on a moonless night, she was cruising off the Bonin Islands when she neared a group of swordfish on a collision course. One of them, a big eight-hundred pounder, took evasive action at the same instant she turned. At a speed of thirty knots, the long sword slipped cleanly and smoothly into her back, buried itself in the blubber, and snapped off at the base. The entry wound closed in a few weeks and the sword was entombed."


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