Mr. Okamoto: “Mr. Patel, we don’t believe your story.”
You want a story that won’t surprise you. That will confirm what you already know. That won’t make you see higher or further or differently. You want a flat story. An immobile story. You want dry, yeastless factuality.
But we couldn’t ignore him entirely. He was a brute, but a practical brute. He was good with his hands and he knew the sea. He was full of good ideas. He was the one who thought of building the raft to help with the fishing. If we survived at all, it was thanks to him. I helped him as best as I could.
So the Taiwanese sailor is the zebra, his mother is the orang-utan, the cook is . . . the hyena—which means he’s the tiger!
As an aside, story of sole survivor, Mr. Piscine Molitor Patel, Indian citizen, is an astounding story of courage and endurance in the face of extraordinarily difficult and tragic circumstances. In the experience of this investigator, his story is unparalleled in the history of shipwrecks. Very few castaways can claim to have survived so long as Mr. Patel, and none in the company of an adult Bengal tiger.