"Does anyone know how it died?"
"No, it looks healthy enough."
"We rang C.A.LM," Billie told me. "They said they would come out soon and pick it up for an autopsy. They asked us to drag it up, onto the beach. So we did that.
Then, about lunchtime, those Japanese people who are camping up the other end, they took it down and put it back in the water!" Billie smiled at me.
"The woman was very upset. She kept washing the dolphin down. She said to me, 'It's still alive. Look, its fins are moving.' Of course that was the water, the waves making its fins move, you know? I told her, 'It's really dead, dear. And the C.AL.M man wants us to keep it up on the sand.' But I don't know if she understood what I was saying, being foreign and all."
The dolphin had the needle teeth of a pup, just pushing through fleshy gums. It's skin was thin and smooth. It's eyes were shut and one was bloodied.
"C.A.L.M, the first thing they asked on the phone is whether the dolphin has any bullet wounds. But there aren't none. So anyway, after we pulled it up on the sand, he turned up, in his four wheel drive and drove down on the beach and in a circle around the dead dolphin. Salt Sister saw him, didn't you, love?"
"Oh yeah, he drove onto the beach and around the dolphin. Didn't even get out of the car. I asked him if he's gonna take the body back to town for an autopsy and he said, 'Well, this beach is part of the city jurisdiction. It's got nothing to do with parks and nature reserves.' I asked him what would be done and he said, 'Not my job. The town rangers will have to come out and get it. It's Friday arvo now, so they should be out on Monday. Just make sure it's kept up on the sand alright?' And then he drove off."
Everyone snorted a bit, because we were up on the grass, in the camp, and no-one had to look at the dead dolphin pup.
"Someone should bury it," said Salt Sister. "It's really distressing. It's making people upset. We can't leave it here all weekend to get all stinky, that's just so undignified. Bugger the council and bugger C.A.L.M."
So it was agreed that the dolphin pup was to be buried and then the attentions of the camp turned back to the strange sharking boat, moored out in the choppy bay, the one that had been setting shark nets all along the Sandpatch cliffs.