Call me Gareth. Some days ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or
nothing to do, I decided to accomplish what Captain Ahab never could, to find and slay
the great white whale - Moby Dick. People told me I was crazy, the city of
Manchester not being know for its large whale population, but I pointed out that
there was water (the canal) with fish in it (well, condoms and dead bodies but a
hungry whale will eat anything, except asparagus as for some reason they revere
it as the god of the land) ergo there must be whales.
My endever began, as all great expeditions should, with a quick scout of the
terrain I would be hunting in. I reasoned that as I had never seen a whale they
were either very difficult to spot or lived in an area of Manchester that I had
never been. The latter seemed more likely, as I'd heard that whales could be
quite rambunctious and found it difficult to hide for any great length of time.
Unfortunately this realisation left me with an awful lot of ground to cover and
so I needed some way to cut it down. Thankfully the average Mancunian is a
wealth of useful and unbiased information so I decided to trawl the pubs for
news of the elusive Moby Dick. After a few false starts, some people
tried to claim that whales live in the sea (I think these people may have been
part of an anti-whaling lobby attempting to throw me off track) I struck gold, a
real life whaler. A couple of hours later I was beginning to grow tired of
trying to extract information about whales from his long and rambling stories
about cloth and measurements. In the end I told him he was the most
uninformative whaler I had ever met. He said that was probably true as he
knew nothing about whales (the animal or the country) seeing as how he was a
tailor. I was livid, almost a whole day wasted with nothing to show for it. What
was I to do? Then inspiration struck, if you wanted to find a lost animal you
put up posters. Such was the success of this approach that one kind old lady,
god bless her, even offered to ask around her neighbourhood. Her suggestion that
Moby Dick was an odd name irked me slightly but I set her straight. "There she
blows!- there she blows! A hump like a snow-hill! It is Moby-Dick!"
Unfortunately my shouts were attracting attention so I had to make quick my
The next day I decided that I should use a more scientific approach to catching
my nemesis. Knowing that science could at times be a bit tricky, my first stop
was the local library, in order to do a little research. Two things really
bugged me about the, supposedly, helpful library staff. Firstly they expect you
to know exactly what you're looking for. "Whales," I cried repeatedly, only to
receive blank stares and the occasionally frightened glance. Secondly their
superior attitude. When it turned out that what I thought was a whale was in
fact an eel, damn my sheltered inland upbringing, rather than help me they just
laughed. It is my unfortunate duty to report that the whale catching fund is now
£50 lighter, leaving us with a princely sum of £2.38, due to the need to repair
the damage I caused with a book on flower arranging and a particularly sharp pencil.
After the library incident I wandered the city desperately hoping for a glimpse of
a white hump. Only once did my hopes lift but it turned out to be only a bread van.
I at last, after two long days searching, came to the depressing but irrefutable
conclusion that there are no whales anywhere.