Critter Profile: Bartholomew!
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Critter Profile: Bartholomew!

Overview!

meet-bart.jpg

Name: Bartholomew AKA Bart the Beyonder, Favor'd Song of the Library; the Cosmic Mouth; and the Merchant of Morphemes and Phonemes.

Species: Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas)

Primary Caretaker: Jackie Norman (Aquatics Team)

Diet: Conversations and readings.

Housed: Outdoor Aquarium B, Wilson's Wildlife Observatory

Creature Features!

Hey y'all, I'm Peter, Bart's feeder!

Bartholomew (or Bart, for short) is one of the brightest, most well-read critters to have landed on our green pastures. Bart is potty-trained, low maintenance, and happy-go-lucky — he's sure to give your kids a whale of a time!

We at the Hands-On Crew believe Bart is a "selective feeder"; that is to say, he doesn't eat the same way your everyday Beluga would — and it's not just because Bart ain't your everyday Beluga. Bart's one-of-a-kind because he feeds only on the spoken word. If you greet him with a joyous "hello, friendo," he'll open that big ole mouth of his and suck your words right in! When this happens, don't be shy — that's how he signals to you that he accepts you near his home.

Why, it goes both ways, too: Robbie(?) — who I can't for the life of me recall at the moment! — often takes part in nice long talks with our big-boned buddy. We're still not sure how Bart "speaks", per se. We somehow always know when he's said something, but the waterproof mics lining our outdoor aquarium have yet to pick up a sound. Now that's what I call charming! In any case, ever since we trucked Bart into the arms of our loving family here at the Observatory, he's been telling us how much he loves his new home!

History!

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Don't be fooled — the old boy isn't smiling, that's just the way Beluga jaws are formed. But he IS indeed happy in this picture!

Howdy, folks! This is Jackie, filling in for Pete, who out of the blue forgot what the word "truck" meant (I'd call this a rather lame way of saying he'll be late, but that's okay).

We suspect Bart isn't from planet Earth at all; Mr. Wilson wouldn't believe it until he saw the rescue footage, but eventually, even he came around. I'll set the scene: One of Mr. Wilson's long-time friends and out-of-county associates — Bud from northern Portland — had the scare of his life last year. At the time, Bud spotted a smooth, white dot descending slowly from the sky above the downtown district. He knew something was up when he saw a dark cloud form above the local library over the course of a couple of minutes. He panicked and called in Wilson's favor when the dot sped up and hurtled through the skyline just minutes later.

We later discovered that this would be our first encounter with the elusive Bart.

Before the nearest rescue team could get there, Bart slammed through the Multnomah County Central Library's historic brick facade and wound up stuck in a bookshelf. When the team and I arrived on the scene in the rescue van, we heard sobbing and moaning emitting from our dashboard display, dispatch radio, and even people's cellphones… Heck, anything that used electronics started howling at us right then. It was petrifying, even in the LiveLeak clips that found their way on the Internet.

Luckily, our Supervisor popped up just in time (wink, wink) to give us some help with an air crane. Their guys safely ducked a harness under Bart's underbelly. The rescue team and I helped to clear mangled metal, pipe, and pieces of glass from the poor thing's back before we gave the OK to the helicopter pilots.

I'll be honest now, I can't remember a lick of what happened after that. I must've been stressing from here to the moon and back. Luckily, Rob pointed me to the WWS registrar (where I had apparently already filed a complete report on Bart?), which let us get him settled into a proper habitat by the next day.

Special Needs and Accommodations!

Hey everyone, it's Peter again. Bart can get cranky at times, often leaping into the sky and floating every which way — hence the secluded enclosure. The big guy experiences weekly stomach aches and night terrors despite our best efforts to keep him comfortable. It wasn't long until we discovered he likes children, so we decided to start bringing in kids from Wilson's Daycare Center and lettin' them chat with their choice cetacean! It soothes him ever so. He treats their curious childish words like a special snack if you will.

While Bart favors old poetic talk like Middle English and the song-language "Balooga" (Jackie's sister from the Daycare Center — whose name escapes me at the moment — didn't even know what that was when we first told her!), he's partial to all mortal languages. Read, say, Crime and Punishment aloud and you'll trigger Bart's BLOWHOLE OF UNSPEAKABLE PLEASURES, which he'll use to blow the cutest non-Euclidean kisses this side of the Fourth World.

Oh, and lastly: Bart loves a short story before bedtime.

Notes about Bart!

Jackie here. As we suggested before, we believe Bart might've had a hard life.

While I was nursing him back to health, I discovered the words "Property of Oneiroi, Inc." branded into his tail flipper. It scared the heck out of me, so I got my sister to hold my arm while I inspected his tummy, where we found sickening blue cuts and old green scarring. There was no way the refuse cut him up like that! Oh dear, no — someone hurt our poor old baby. They nicked him up badly and left him to die!


UPDATE — NOVEMBER 6, 2012: I don't remember advocating for the open rooftop — much to the chagrin of our Supervisors. But Pete believed it would help Bart. We used to find him slamming through tons of concrete in the indoor habitats during the bi-monthly aquarium maintenance. Ever since we've made this new change, though, he's been playing like his old self again.


UPDATE — NOVEMBER 9, 2012: I sang to him last night. In the past, I've sung to him for hours on end, and in exchange, he'd warble back: A familiar warm buzz in my head.


UPDATE — NOVEMBER 18, 2012: Robbie, Pete, the kids from the Daycare, and even Tim — they were all surrounding the tank, waving at Bart. They didn't even know how they got there. I felt the low warble in my head again; this time, I couldn't get it out, but I'm not sure I wanted to. And neither did anyone else.


UPDATE — NOVEMBER 25, 2012: Robbie and I fashioned together a large net of synthetic ropes attached to a soft harness. The Daycare kids gathered books from the Central Library: Pop-up books and children's fantasy, especially. We let the kids gather as many books as they wanted and put them all in the net before wrapping it up. Bart knew he would need our stories for the long journey ahead.


UPDATE — NOVEMBER 26, 2012: Bart weighed the fate of his world. All those years out in the astral planes, he fought, so that one day he could find a place to call home. Wilson's Wildlife Solutions; everyone here, we are his home. But he knows his old owners will eventually find him again. The skies above twist and flow as the stars blink, searching for Bart on the pale blue dot.


UPDATE — NOVEMBER 27, 2012: His owners are almost here. Bart, hurry!


UPDATE — DECEMBER 7, 2012: Hey, it's, Jackie again. I'm currently writing this down after having found all the old entries. I don't think I recall much of what happened these past few weeks. I don't even remember us having… A flying whale? But I do remember a kiss goodbye. I remember there were tears. There was a message that read: "Wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever," written all over our copy paper. I remember feeling too numb to speak. We were all quiet.

Most of all, I remember a familiar feeling of love that I know will never return.



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