"You have the choice," said Mash, "of either handing over that twinkle or being eaten by this gull."
"Oh well," sighed the fish and he gave the twinkle to Mash.
"Albert," said Mash, "Take this back to Jamie and get him twinkling again."
"What's it worth?" said Albert.
"You'll never guess," said Mash.
"Another fish?" said Albert.
"It's uncanny, but you're right again."
"I'll be back in a jiffy."
"My twinkle!" squealed Jamie in sheer delight at seeing what the albatross had brought him, "Why, thank you, thank you, thank you!"
"My pleasure," smiled Albert, "You just keep on twinkling there."
"Oh, I will, I will, I will!"
"See you later my stellar friend," bid the gull, "Got a couple of tasty herring waiting for me below." And with a gull-to-star wink Albert hurled himself into a beak dive and headed straight back to the Cheese Grater.
"Now then, which one shall I have first," said Albert hopping over the day's catch, "They all look so nice. Let's see, eeny meeny miney mo . . . oh, it's got to be that one!"
Albert's beak plunged into the pile of fish with the eagerness of a terrier in a rat hole. Grasping his chosen prize, he heaved out a magnificent succulent herring with the most glistening of scales, the silkiest of fins and the sleekest of bodies which you just knew would wiggle seductively were it not trapped in the beak of a hungry gull. This fish, however, was not wiggling seductively. This fish was thrashing its tortured body about in a most undignified fashion as its captor endeavoured to manipulate it into more swallowable position.
"Muriel!" shrieked Pembroke watching in horror as Albert raised his head in order to gain a little assistance from the force of gravity.
Aghast, Albert opened his beak in shocked realisation of the fish he had chosen. With the release of the gull's grip Muriel slid inexorably down into Albert's throat and descended into the dark, gloomy gullet. Suddenly, what had seemed to be a most appetising meal had left a rather sickening taste on the pallet.
"Oh no," cried Pembroke, "My poor, poor, dear Muriel!"
Albert's head hung remorsefully from his shamefully swollen crop.
"Pembroke, I'm so, so sorry," he said, "I would have chosen any other fish, if only I'd thought."
"She was my only love," wept the heartbroken herring.
"I know," said Albert, "and in my foolish eagerness I have denied you any future happiness you may have had together." The gull choked back a tear. "For that, I must pay. I realise nothing can truly compensate you for such a loss, but I would do anything in recompense for my stupidity. I throw myself at your mercy. Name my punishment."
Pembroke sniffed mournfully.
"There's only one thing you can do for me now," he said.
"Name it," said Albert.
"For your second fish," said Pembroke.
"Yes, yes, I'll be more careful," said Albert, "You choose which fish I must eat."
"The fish you must eat," began Pembroke.
"Yes?" urged Albert.
"Is me!" said Pembroke.