I’d just hit rock lobster in the coddled coves of Prawnvidence. The sunlight splashed
across my room, though I practically live in a cave-iar. The Dharma Chums was splayed
on the deck and I could hear Phish playing in the cabin next door. Someone had been
cruising Crabslist on the MackerelBook. It was hard to breathe. A deep, worried eeling
“Halibut a cigarette?” I thought to myself. I had quit the other day but I didn’t marine it.
They were leeching the life out of me.
I hadn’t tried to flop out of the sheets yet. My eyes and skin felt dry and scaly. The cell
foam beeped. “Water u doing fishmael?” It was Emily Seagull, catching up about last
Last night. Went overboard. Left me reeling. Everything is fin and games until someone
gets abduckted, and the net result is a clamity. I never set out to make anemones. But I
mast; everyone famous has to step on a few groupers. It’s hard to work in rocktopus.
It was time for some deep reeflections.
Flashback Sent from my iFoam
Things were getting reel. The big tuna was going to be there that night. I could hardly eat
We hadn’t whaled like for this years, not since we moved from Portland to Rowed Island.
My hands were clammy and my friends were gathered at our favorite barnacle, Bravo. Pi-
rihanna was on the radio. I popped a clamopin to evaporate my nerves. But the whole
crew was nervous. We’re always nervous now that ol’ Turtleici is off herrin-oin . Gil Brassil was trying to form a conger line.
Tonight, though, I was nervous for a different reason. I wasn’t worried about the gig. I
had a doubloonstep remix of my album to anchor the mood. I was worried about Ariel. I
had given her crabs. I knew she’d be in the crowd to hear my oar-ation and feel my flow.
I never manatee hurt her. What did she think now?
In truth, I always knew she was reel nauti. A few months ago I saw her covered in
seamen at a party. But she’d been koi and I wanted to get blowfished. “Carpe diem,” I’d
said– that’s my mantra ray, and tonight I felt buoysterous. So I went for it. I didn’t mind
that she was a bit of a whale– she had a face like a dollphin and was bayoutiful in her
own way. It was fishtory from there.
“Holy Mackerel!” I thought when I spotted the jailbait in the crowd. She looked kelpless.
Worse, her father was standing in the corner in his swimsuit and codpiece. I wish that he
had better style.
Ariel had a heart of gold and a plankton of money. And she loved the waves my music
was making. But the ranchor in her eyes said she hadn’t forgiven me re: the crabs. And
now her father was here. He was a stern and shellfish man, a total deckhead. I knew
he’d swab the poopdeck with me.
I pondered what to fight for. It’s hard to angle for things when you aren’t sure how to fillet
your days. I felt like a small fry adrift in a big pond. Can you bathe in currentcy? Can you
raise a family in such squallor? It seemed hopeless, shrimpossible.
Moor than anything, I wanted to be famous. I wanted to be more famous than that last
time I was famous. I wanted to play a tuna to change the world, fundamentally different
at its albacore. I wanted to part the seas. But existorrential angst paralyzed me.
Look at these prawns! I thought. Watch them flounder. They have no porpoise. They are
born alone, live together, and then Cod, the great orca-strator, krills them.
Things are the same on the otter side of the universe. Things are the same in every
universe, at every bar-nacle. No one undersands us. We grow old and oarnery.
The chords were floating by, rippling through my bod. My hands strummed my bass, but
the music felt diluted. I was out of my league: this was Bravo. Moby played here, but I’m
only Fishmael. Whatever, I said to meself, it’ll all get pirated anyway. That’s why I need
Ariel. For her fishcal support. Music, theory–it’ll grab the hooks, reel you in, string you up
She was moving to the music and I must admit I was distracted. Suddenly nothing was
shipshape and I couldn’t fathom my next move. She was doing something funny with her
hands, and some bones, some seaweed and her dad’s narwallet. She was chewing
fruity Trident. I could smell it from the stage. I’d taken the costume as some Beach
House bullshark, but this was different.
She was knot sushi said she was.
As she locked her tentacle eyes with mine and began to reel me in, my breaths grew
short and punctuated. I felt the urchin to touch her, but– I was gasping for air– it felt full
of smoke. . . these clams must be baked, I thought. Whaleward souls.
Her stare assailed me like a thousand swordfish. Lust will atrophy your mussels, make
them slippery. Make them flop all over. I’d been practicing my scales all day, and now I
felt literally scaly. . . It was dead winter. . . I needed to moisturize. . . She was doing
something to me. It felt like magic.
It was all so murky. Ariel pointed the narwallet and me and muttered something. This I
saw sharkly. It was unmistakably some magikrill shit. “Fishmael,” I said, “your legs are
The phrase floated off my lips but all I saw were bubbles. The crowd was getting angrier
and I could see some punks looking to mutiny me.
That’s all I can remember. But something wild must have happened. I tried to respond to
Emily, but I felt somehow different. Something was fishy.
“Hey girl. On further exsalmonation, my dexterrity is lcking. yfouyfuyguoiuhoiu fck”
I couldn’t text. My fingers looked like fins. I wasn’t rolling in my bed– I was swimming in
my sheets. I had been properly harpooned. Call me Fishmael.