A Fishy Suprise

I’ve decided to publish my old fiction on my blog. Here is one of them.

I saw a man walking towards a pond the other day, swinging a headscarf, balancing on a tent pole. He was broad, lean, and full of beans. As he walked to and fro, pacing the water, he would call out to the fishes.

“Here fish! I’ve got a surprise for you!”

The fish were skeptical. All the surprises in the past had been fish hooks, or spears, or nets. Once or twice, it had been bits of bread, but the stilt man didn’t seem to have any.

The fish narrowed their eyes, and kept sucking plankton.

“Here fishes!” cried the man again, winking at the water, which was lost, since all the fish could see of the man through the aqua distortion was a wavy stained-glass image. “Here fishes! Come get your surprise!”

“Don’t bite, Phil,” A red fish said to an orange one, “It’s a trap, I can feel it.”

“Maybe this time it’s different. He seems nice enough.”

“Don’t do it. Just swim here and suck your plankton.”

“Aww, come on, aren’t you curious about what the surprise is?”

“I know what the surprise is, Phil. It’s not going to be good.”

“Yeah. Usually, yeah, but I think this time is different.”

“Phil, you’re talking crazy talk. He doesn’t have any bread, Phil. What’s he going to do if he doesn’t have bread? Eat you, that’s what.”

“But he’s on stilts, Murray! How could he catch me on stilts? Besides, it’s a surprise, part of the fun is not knowing.”

“This isn’t a game, Phil. This is life and death. Down here? Where it’s wet and there’s food? That’s life. And standing up there? Wobbling around? That’s death.”

“Oh, lighten up, Murray. I’m going!”

Phil, the orange fish, swamp up towards the surface, breaching the water in a mighty leap, tail still swimming through the sky.

He held his breath.

“There you are!” Screamed the man, teetering dangerously, then, in one swift motion, swept his hand towards the mid-air fish. Fingers brushed Phil’s face, then pulled away.

“Got your nose!” The man yelled, as Phil dropped back into the water.

“Phil, are you alright?” Said Murray, spitting plankton.

“He got my nose, Murray! You were right!”

“Phil, what are you talking about? We don’t have noses.”

But Phil was too busy mourning over his loss.