Queequeg’s ancient spacecraft, the Dungboat 2, putted to a stop in the atmosphere of a M-class planetoid. The fuel canister was scraped clean: the Dungboat 2 settled down to wait with a sigh of relief.
Queequeg almost clicked his heels in happiness: he had been locked inside the Dungboat 2 for weeks, and although he enjoyed the robust aroma of putrefying manure, he welcomed a chance to stretch his legs a bit. Hopefully the planet was welcoming. The last planet that the Dungboat’s navigational system had okayed had a noxious acidic atmosphere that had scorched Quee’s feathers (leaving several bald spots) and giant leeches. The Dungboat was in the doghouse after that incident.
The planet was lovely. Quee made a mental note to reconnect the wires that he had passive-agressively disconnected from Dungboat 2 before he left.
The planet was so perfect, that Quee danced an avian jig of pure delight. The planet had everything. It had shiny rocks, simply precious flying duckbilled platipi, and – best of all, in Queequeg’s mind, free wood. It was even better than manure.
Quee explored for a time, marveling at the wonders around him, and quietly blessing the Dungboat 2 (of course, he would never praise the Dungboat 2 to its face, lest it get a inflated ego. Quee was very careful to raise the Dungboat right). Quee also made an incredible discovery that was almost as exciting as his “free wood” revelation: the planet also contained free dirt , and lots of it.
Quee stuffed his bag until it resembled a really nice, comfortable overstuffed chair filled with hunks of wood and dirt, then transported back to the Dungboat 2.
There was work to be done.
Once back on the Dungboat 2, Queequeg emptied his pack onto the floor, ensuring that the dirt mingled delightfully within the manure in order to create a mixture that might support plant life. Quee made trip after trip to the planet, glutting the Dungboat 2 with more brown matter than it had held since its glory days, where it had earned its name well as an interplanetary waste transport. Quee then tilled up the earth is typical Avian fashion: a hoe, fashioned from a stick and a lump of rock that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and thus doomed itself to a life of having its face stuck in the dirt over and over again like an ostrich with a tic. Quee then planted a few seeds that he had discovered on the planet’s surface, inside a bright, red fruit (the seeds where in a fruit, not the planet’s surface). Quee didn’t know it then, but these were the seeds of his destiny he was planting.
While he waited for his well-fertilized plants to ripen their bounty, Quee went for a walk on the planet’s surface. He discovered a hut, which appeared to Quee to be slightly dangerous. It had a man inside. Quee tried to befriend the man, but was forced to barricade him in his house with some of his free dirt after the man attempted to carve Quee’s arms from his torso in a very unfriendly way. Quee warned the man that they could almost certainly never be friends after THAT, but the man didn’t seem concerned with having friends, indeed, with anything but yelling hurtful words about Quee’s heritage and life choices through the mounds of dirt in from of the door. It’s a shame, thought Quee. He did have such nice, decorative saw blades.
Quee found a Very Defensive Stick and tunneled his way through the floor of the house, in an attempt to surprise and delight his potential friend, in hopes that the man would see the error of his ways, discontinue the course and vulgar language, and perhaps agree to share his saw blades with Quee. To Quee’s surprise, as soon as his head popped through the tiles in the floor, the man attempted to separate it from Quee’s shoulders. Quee felt his head swim, and the next second or two was a black blur of action and blood, and when Quee regained his senses, the man was lying on the floor with his arms and legs at strange angles. He must have tripped, thought Quee. He would have helped the man up, but Quee was fairly certain that the man would continue to verbally abuse him, so Quee took his beautiful saw blades and ran away.
Quee ran for a long time, towards a very suspicious looking hill that he had wanted to investigate. Diappointingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, it turned out to be a normal hill. so Queequeg continued on, towards another, even more suspicious hill. It was not a hill at all, but an underground village, filled with Avians.
Quee felt slightly awkward, years of solitude aboard Dungboat 2 had left him a mite wooden-tongued. He browsed through the stands and then headed back to his ship.
His plants had ripened. He was getting very hungry – he ran out of his supply of hair peas days ago – so although he rarely tried new foods, he hesitantly bit into one of the juicy red fruits that were hanging off of the alien plants.
It was a revelation. Quee’s tastebuds figuratively exploded with the influx of sweet, acidic juice. In flavor it was better than hair peas, although the texture was less challenging. Quee ate on, and had greedily gobbled up all of the fruit that was ripe before he remembered an important fact: the avians on the planet’s surface had sold these fruits, and they had called them tomatoes.
Quee decided what he needed most in his life was to find and consume more tomatoes, so he headed back to the small avian village and spent all of his pocket money on the luscious red comestibles.
He had a new mission.