The Jackdaw landed on the roof terrace table waggling a beer mat in his beak. He dropped it on the page I was reading and said, ‘Do you know what this is?’
I looked at the round paper disk and read aloud its printed slogan, ‘Drink sensibly – use a straw.’
‘It’s a beer mat,’ I said.
‘Turn it over.’
I picked it up carefully, irritated that it was making my book damp. I shook it and grains of sand fell in my coffee.
‘Look at the other side,’ said the Jackdaw.
Those four flags, that handwriting – it could only be a message from the Padre.
‘It could only be a message from the Padre,’ I said.
‘I know that,’ the Jackdaw said. ‘He asked me to bring it to you. What do the flags mean?’
‘They spell out Alpha Delta Two Eight.’
‘Aha!’ said the Jackdaw. ‘Splice the mainbrace. Issue the rum ration. The Padre will be visiting you again. He said he wants to spruce up your knowledge if any of poetic forms.’
I picked up my book and my cup and the beer mat and went inside to review the definitions and examples of forms that I had prepared and stored under the Forms tab at this site.