Friday, March 6, 2009
Once upon a time there lived a flat fish called Evan. He wasn't like the other fish though. He was always a bit of a rebel and tried to do things differently.
Each morning he and his brothers would get up to go to school with all the other fishes.
"Hey", he'd say to his brother Paul, "let's go over to that fissure where the water is hot and bask a bit."
"No, Evan", he'd reply. "That's where the squid hangs out and he loves to eat fish like us. It's too dangerous."
"You're such a cowardy custard", replied Evan. "I want some danger."
He was an inquisitive little fish too, always asking questions of his parents.
"Dad, what's down there where the water gets really deep?"
"Monsters, son. Strange fluorescent monsters with eyes on stalks and more tentacles than a room full of octopuses. Whales too. Great big whales who just open their mouths and swallow you up."
"And what about over there amongst those rock formations?"
"Eels, son. And stingrays who don't care if you hunt crocodiles or not. And Manta Rays who are always hungry and looking for a snack and they love little fish like you."
"And what about where the light shines near the surface?"
At this his father grew serious.
"You can never go up there son. It is a place without water. Instead they have a dry substance they call air. This air will get into your gills and kill you. As well as that there are disgusting bipeds up there who would cut you open, pull your guts out, chop your head off, stick a smelly bulb inside you, cover you with salt then bake you in a place called 'the oven' where the air is as hot and dry as a camel's flange. Promise me you will never go there, son. Promise me!"
"I promise, Dad".
"Good lad, now lend your mother a fin with the dinner. I'm starving. I hope it's seahorse again. Mmmmm, seahorse."
Now, those of you reading who have children of your own will know that the best way to make a child interested in something is to expressly forbid them from having anything to do with it. And so it was with Evan. He became obsessed with the land above and sought out those who knew about it.
He went from one old wise fish to another and each one of them told him the same thing. That if he went there he would surely die and that his life was sub-aqua with his family and friends.
One day though he met a flying fish. They were highly regard by all the others as they could leap out of the water and when they weren't being pulled out of the sky by a castaway and fed to a Bengal tiger they could look around them and see what was going on. It was well known that they had lots of information about what went on above the surface.
"Hey", he said to the flying fish. "Can you tell me what happens up there?"
"Sure kid", said the flying fish, whose name was Arnold. He went on to describe in vivid detail everything he'd seen. Islands, lagoons, rock formations and even the strange bipeds his father had warned him about. The only problem was the fact he couldn't get up there. No matter how close he swam to the shore he was unable to get out of the water and onto the beach.
Once again though Arnold was able to help him. Every day after school Evan would race over to Arnold's crevice and take lessons on how to jump up and out of the water. At first he was given exercises which made him waggle his tail fin and swim fast. He was impatient though, saying to Arnold "When do I learn to jump?"
Arnold replied, "Better learn balance. Balance is key. Balance good, jumping good. Everything good. Balance bad, better pack up, go home. Understand?"
Soon though he learned to focus on the job at hand and before long he was making mighty leaps through the air and back into the sea. He practiced and practiced until he became expert and then he knew it was time.
One morning having just left home he confided in his brother what he was going to do.
"I'm going to jump so far and then I will be where no fish has been before. The excitement, the danger, I'll make history. People will know my name all over the sea. I'll be famous. You can be my manager."
"Please don't do it!", cried Paul. He knew his brother and realised that he hadn't thought about how he was going to get back. He had visions of him flopping backwards and forwards as the poisonous air dried out his gills. "You'll die, I don't want you to die."
"There's nothing you can say to stop me, Paul. It is time for me to face up to my destiny. I will soar through the air and once I hit the land I will feel mighty. Then I will come back and claim my position as the world's greatest ever fish."
Paul knew now his brother had lost his tiny little mind. He tried to stop him again but his pleas fell on deaf ears. He knew he needed help and raced back home to get his father.
He swam as fast as he could and explained the situation as they swam like lightning back to where he'd left his brother but it was too late. As they neared the shore they saw something moving as fast as a bullet, silver glistening as the sun's rays came through the water. Then with a flick of his tail he took off out of the water and landed thirty feet on the beach, never to be seen again.
"We were too late", sobbed Paul, distraught at this loss of his sibling. "Evan is a plaice on earth."