Once again, Albert's beak dropped in horror.
"No, no!" he squawked, "I can't eat you! Not after what I've just done to you! I couldn't possibly!"
"But you must," demanded Pembroke, "because of what you've just done. Muriel was all I ever cared about. I can't live without her. I must join her in the great ocean in the sky."
"But I like you," said Albert, "I know we haven't known each other very long and this is an unusual relationship between an albatross and a herring, but I've come to regard you as a friend. Please don't make me eat you."
"If you truly feel that you're my friend," said Pembroke, "then you must eat me. It's the only way we can be together. Our bodies shall become one in your stomach and our souls will unite in the love that never manifested itself in the physical world, but which latently awaited the spark that was to ignite it, a spark from the heavens, a twinkle from the stars."
The fish looked beseechingly at the guilt ridden gull.
The gull could do no more to ease his burden than to reflect upon the sheer ridiculousness of the situation. Here he was, confronted by a fine looking herring which was begging to be eaten and he didn't want to do it! Whatever was to come out of this, he could not allow a word of it to reach the other seabirds. Unpalatable as it felt, eating Pembroke seemed to be the best way out of this predicament.
"Eat me," implored Pembroke, "That I may consummate my love for Muriel before our flesh becomes dissolved in your enzymes and we merge in the juices of our own coition."
"Just a minute," said Albert, "Are you trying to say that you want to have sex in my stomach?"
"Well, yes," said Pembroke, "Is that a problem?"
"Of course it's a problem! I'm not having two fish writhing around in a sexual frenzy in my stomach!"
"Well, because it's not proper."
"Yes, it is. You've never minded before."
"That's because I've never had fish copulating in my stomach before."
"Of course you have. Surely you must have felt it?"
"What? All that wriggling and writhing?"
"You mean that's . . . ?"
"What did you think it was?"
"Well, I just assumed that the fish were trying to escape."
"Trying to escape?" Pembroke exclaimed, "How the bloody hell do you expect a herring to escape from a gull's stomach? Good heavens, no. What happens is, when you swallow a fish the previous fish you had is usually still alive, yes?"
Albert nodded in agreement.
"Well," Pembroke continued, "The new fish thinks Hmmm, here I am trapped in a gull's stomach with not much longer to live and here's a tasty bit of fish supper - may as well go out with a bang. The first fish eventually dies and another fish is caught which then gets off with the last fish."
Albert blinked his eyes in disbelief.
"But what if they're of the same, um, genital group?" he inquired.
"Oh, we don't care," said Pembroke brightly, "When you're in a gull's stomach it's all the same anyway. Some fish draw the line at molluscs 'though, but that's usually hake and they're a bit square anyway. Not like mackerel. Boy, could I tell you some things about mackerel."
"I had no idea," said Albert, totally agog.
"Well, you wouldn't," said Pembroke, "being a boring seabird with your monogamous homo-species oriented sex life. Pairing for life? Not for the fish, matey!"