Thursday, 1 January 2009

The fish wife

When the fish started talking to the man, rather than being staggered, the man simply found the sea creature rather rude.
The fish had interrupted a perfectly lovely conversation between the fellow (a middle-aged man, called Leonard) and a pretty young thing he had met at the docks.
The fish began to bleat quite pathetically: “My name is Susan, and I shall not be ignored!” The man, Leonard, tried his best to ignore this imposition for as long as he could, knowing full well that, were he to engage the fish in conversation, his pretty young conquest would soon turn heel and run.
But, just as a guilty conscience bangs the head like a hammer and nail, so the streamlined fish continued to shout up from the water: “I’m still here Leonard, stop ignoring me at once. I will be spoken to, remember, I need you to purchase some items for me – from the store.”
Leonard ignored the blue-eyed fish for as long as he could. He liked the way the young girl smiled at him and touched his hand occasionally. This was a sign of affection that his wife, Susan, never offered him.
“Who are you talking to up there?” snapped the fish, swimming out and away from the quayside to better sight the young woman.
“Hah! Why she’s nothing other than a common whore. Stop wasting your pathetic lusts on this floozy and run along to the shop to fetch my supplies,” shouted the fish, slapping with its tail to send a spray of water up to soak the couple. “I shall make you very sorry if you do not!” came its companion cry.
With that, Leonard’s calm reserve subsided and he turned upon the fish with a volley of verbal abuse. “You fish wife, you scaly serpent, your gills are blocked shut with venom which you spit forth at your erstwhile husband. Why, I should not hope to meet such a slippery eel as yourself again, and yet I find myself tied to you for eternity in matrimonial bondage!”
The fish chuckled to itself, at this tirade, and the pretty young maid did indeed turn fleet-footed from the scene and the middle-aged man was left to trudge wearily to the grocer’s store and purchase the few items she had sent him for.
Then he walked slowly, back to the quayside, and upended the brown paper bag of groceries into the water, whereby Susan, the blue-eyed fish, hungrily gobbled up this new and tasty flotsam.
She then waited, maintaining her position through small bristling movements of her fins, as her husband clambered down the rusting iron ladder on the wharf and plopped into the cold waters, beside her.
“Come along, dear,” said Susan, and they both swam off, away from the docks and on into deeper waters.


Sucharita Sarkar said...

An interesting beginning to 2009. In India, we have many legends about fish-women, who are called matsya-kanya (fish-daughters/mermaids) and who regularly switch from human to piscean forms and vice-versa.

Paul Bernard said...

Hello SS. I am quite interested in mermaid mythology myself. I seem to remember writing something about a Selkie - a Scottish mermaid myth about seals that take on human form - perhaps in my Daily Tale?
I am winging my way to Google your matsya-kanya now...