Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Cod Delusion: A brief but stirring tale of Life, Loss, False Hopes and a whole mess of terrible fish jokes.

"So I says to Freddie," ranted Salmonella McScales in his excruciating wetlandish drawl, "I says: Ya gots fashion and ya gots batshitzania, and by my reckonin', keeping that hook stickin' out've yer head with yer goddamn brain matter danglin' off of it and all, just because Shellvin Brine says it's some kinda new-tide fashion statement steers pretty far to the latter."

Calfin Cuttle floated idly, trying to seem empathetic to Salmonella while desperately scanning the riverbed for lifelike objects and/or actual aquatic life whom he could convince Sally to share his opinion on sea ranching with, giving Calfin the chance to make a swift retreat.

Salmonella was known as Sally to his friends, or at least any marine life that were subjected to his personal brand of psychological torture (that rivaled Ricki Lake in its IQ decimating capabilities) on a regular basis. Said "friends" generally complied unquestioningly to his demands that he be addressed by this girly moniker, mostly out of fear of hearing the five-hour epic on why "Sally's a right respectable name for a feller cos what with gender equality, I kin' have an equal name to a girl and not get shot when I enter a sports bar, see?". Sally's stories were so legendarily boring that were Gordan Brown to die and be reincarnated as a sea cucumber, any observed activity on his part would be to Sally's anecdotes what a good sized nuclear explosion would be to that "Make your own volcano" experiment your parents got you when you were nine, and which did little more than gurgle menacingly at you and subsequently fill you with the horrifying knowledge that this would be the ultimate height of your scientific achievements.

"Listen, Sally," cut in Calfin as Salmonella was spreading his fins to their limit so as to describe a human he claimed to have caught once, "You know that our incredibly regular talks bring meaning to my otherwise pointless fishy existence and all, but I've got a plankton parmesan sam'mich in the oven and..."

"GRRRREETINGS, my fishy followers, my submarine subordinates and my liquid lackeys! I come bearing news of my latest and once again (what are the odds) GRRRREATEST discovery!"
Freddie Freshwatersworth drifted pompously into sight with all the pseudo-grandeur of a hobo who had just been told by a slightly less well mentally adjusted hobo that he was the second coming of Jesus Christ. Freddie, upon arrival in the pond through the W.P.P.D wetness protection program, had taken to his new identity very quickly, though not quite as quickly as he had begun with the same batshit insane shenanigens that got him transferred in the first place.

"Urgh, hi Freddie," groaned Calfin upon seeing his second least favorite friend. Even Sally looked a bit exasperated through his regular mindless staring visage, if only because he subconsciously knew that he would no longer be the least enjoyable company around, and he resented this for inadequately explored reasons.

"Freddie ? I know not of this Freddie of whom you speak, mayhaps (Freddie loved inventing pseudo-thespian words to sound cultured rather than dangerously mentally retarded) this identity was once associated with the sad lump of flesh that was this body before my divine enlightenment, but this vessel is most certainly a Freddie no longer! Nautical nether-fishies such as yourselves may address me as The Great Sashimi! Gaze upon my uncanny ability to swim upside-down, ye scaly, and despair!
With this, Freddie indeed exhibited his admittedly-uncanny ability to swim upside-down for a few seconds, giving himself a small heart attack in the process, but when displaying his believed superiority over lesser littoral life-forms, no price was too high as long as no actual cash was involved.

Sally watched this spectacle with dumbstruck admiration, as suicidal feats of daring-do appealed to his Highly cultured sensibilities. Calfin simply rolled his eyes and groaned at the supreme stupidity of the world and peers around him (He'd have made a believable female). He had just remembered that Freddie had recently adopted this latest personality a few days prior and had pioneered no less than five revolutionary programs to "improve" the lives of the pond's inhabitants in new (read: stupid) ways.

"I have come to this humble corner of the halogen-light district to tell you, my chosen disciples, of the plan to rid ourselves of the metaphorical shackles that this cruel concoction of crap that would call itself water has placed upon us!"

"Gleh?" inquired the two-fish audience.

"You see, toadies, all our lives we have been imprisoned in these liquid walls, forced to desperately and endlessly squirm through its thick, restricting density with every movement! I bring news of a world above: Infinitely larger and with no surface tension to restrict how high we can climb! In this world above that our oppressor, the very water around us, has kept us from, we need never swim just to keep water flowing over our gills. we need never want for kelp, for endless fields of shorter, altogether more manageable kelp shall stretch endlessly around us upon our liberation. This liberation is within reach, flunkeys, thanks entirely to my brilliance and generosity in sharing it! I have, through the wonders of modern holistic science, constructed a device that shall send us forth into the great unknown and the liberty it brings us! Now, minions, shall you aid me, your savior, in my holy exodus, or shall I have to beam you a hypnotically hurt expression and guilt you into it?"

"Gleh?" Sally reiterated, though Calfin's having a relatively infinitely more complex mind than the wetlandish wonder (an achievement he shared with several mineral groups) allowed some semblance of understanding of Freddie's speech, resulting in a response more akin to "Huh?"

"Ah, I see you are confused and dazzled by my brilliance, guppies. Swim in my majestic wake for a while and maychance shalt your ignorance be purged!"


"FOLLOW ME YOU DUMB SHITS! er, I mean, blessed are the me, and the meek too, maybe, and stuff...FOLLOW!"

With this, Freddie did a U-turn about as pretentiously as it is fishily possible to do and swum off, put slightly off balance by his recurring heart attack, but in a way one might describe as elegant if one's perception of elegance was built around secret Queen Mother shower-cam videos.

"He said sumthin' 'bout dumb shits, think he's a talkin' ta you," whispered Sally to the slight water disturbance where Calfin had previously floated.

Upon realizing that the condensed insanity that Freddie was spouting was a vastly superior spectator sport to Sally's drivel, Calfin had followed post-haste, knowing that when things got unbearable as they usually did, Freddie's spastic emotional state left lots of windows for slipping away unnoticed. Besides, Freddie was carrying no deadly weapons to speak of this time, so the window into Batshitzania that now called himself The Great Sashimi wouldn't be able to cause any lasting harm to anyone but himself with this latest endeavor, so it might be entertaining in a train-having-a-head-butting-contest-with-a-puppy sort of way.

Somewhat disheartened by the disappearance of his favorite bullshit receptacle, Sally decided to head home and engage in his second favorite hobby, filling out internet surveys. This, he felt, was the best way to share his brilliant opinions on a large variety of subjects and have a significant and positive impact on society. It is rumored that the "Idols" series of television shows have survived based solely on his repeatedly submitted opinions on good entertainment. It is also rumored that as a result of this, the massive arms build-up in the Middle-East exists due to anticipation of finding Sally's home address and that all the hoo-hah over the Gaza strip is just target practice.


The swim to what Freddie called the "Exodus-O-Matic" was, as Calfin saw it, unnecessarily tedious. This was mostly because said device was on the far side of the pond. Since the pond's size and volume had nearly doubled in the weeks since the pond-side outhouse broke down (which did not do the local aquatic real estate market any favors, let me tell you), the swim from one end to another was both long and about as pleasant as having four good-sized platypuses infected with rabies and left to roam free in your pants. Twice.

The device itself somewhat resembled an archaic catapault or trebuchet, but made mostly out of rocks, seaweed and the remains of an unfortunate human hobo that had dropped in for a paddle three weeks prior and had, through the wonders of modern alcoholic beverages, clean forgot how to float.
Picture this, then remove any semblance of intelligent design, add three parts decomposing hobo-bits and you've got the Exodus-O-Matic in a nutshell.

"I lack the higher brain functions required to process smell, but I still somehow know that this...thing , and to a larger extent, whatever your plan that involves it is, stinks," said Calfin upon witnessing the device that Freddie was now proudly gesturing towards similarly to the way a parent would gesture towards a child that has used its alphabet soup to formulate a comprehensive plan to end world hunger and eliminate the French in one fell swoop.

"You wound me, my dear inferior," whined Freddie, a single tear glistening in his eye before collapsing and evaporating under the pressure of its own insincerity, "can you not see the brilliance of this device? Using the wonders of Freddionics(TM), I have converted the brilliance swirling around my divine noggin into physical form! This device shall be Fish-Kind's chariot to the heavens above! I just need a little help in its operation on account of my heroic injuries is all."

Calfin could argue many points of that statement, but the bit about Freddie's injury was somewhat sincere. In his last revolutionary scheme, Freddie had put forth a program to end human persecution of the pond's inhabitants through dolphin impersonation ("If they are to love us as they do porpoises, then we must BE porpoises, toadies!"), and had subsequently badly sprained his fins in an effort to clap them together while simultaneously whistling the national anthem and doing a double back-flip. Clearly actions do not speak loader than brain-cell count.

"you see, my bottom-crawling compatriot, sources from the great above have informed me that once we escape the unholy pull of our oppressive watery surroundings, we shall be freely relocated to a terrestrial integration center, where we'll be given our start in our new land-living lives. Said sources would offer the service to us right now, but what with all of this oppressor around and all, it's a bit difficult for them to effectively make contact. My device will brilliantly launch us out of our aquatic confines so that we can be easily airlifted (the most luxurious way to travel, trust me) to the centers by our avian brethren."

"Avian, you said? As in Birds? As in storks and fish eagles and shit?"

"Ah, I see your vocabulary is relatively impressive, lackey, my influence must be rubbing off as planned! Yes I do mean birds, glorious isn't it?"

"Depends. Are you the first one to be, err, liberated?" asked Calfin, the wonderful truth of the whole affair dawning upon him.

"Why of course, my dreary disciple, as your messiah it's only fair that I get first dibs on liberty," replied Freddie as he blissfully ignored said truth with a sense of denialism that would make Thabo Mbeki blush.

"Very glorious then. What do I do?"

"Oh, it's brilliantly simple, really, any lesser mind would have been completely unable to make such ingenious use of hobo-physics, but as luck would have it, only my mind could be arsed to do so. Just pull that femur once I've positioned myself in the Launcher-me-thingy. I'd do it myself if not for my valiantly buggered fins."

"Gladly, Freddie, ol' pal" chuckled Calfin Evilly as he positioned himself to yank the hobone and permanently free his home of its greatest hazard since hippie skinny-dipping.

"Gladly: The Great Sashimi, if you please, subservient," retorted Freddie indignantly, "You may pull when ready."

"Messiah says what?" Asked Calfin innocently.


Freddie rocketed upwards faster than Sonic the Hedgehog and Roadrunner's ill-conceived love child would if it were on ecstacy. After a second or so of upwards velocity, a faint plop signaled Freddie's ascent into the world above, followed by a frenzy of squawks and highly pretentious screams as numerous large dark shapes flocked around the distinctly Freddie-like shape that could be made out from the pond bed. Perhaps it is wise, when making inter-species deals, to stick with business partners that are lower than yourself on the food chain.

"Exactly," grinned Calfin, smugly, before going off to see what Sally was doing.

Well let's see you come up with something more exciting to do at the bottom of a friggin' pond!


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