A fish tale


One fine day, a fish named Rick was minding his business doing fish stuff when all of the sudden a worm came floating by. Well, being the opportunistic one, he immediately grabbed the worm only to suddenly feel a sharp pain in his mouth. This was quite a surprise since Rick knows that worms are soft.

Next he knows, he’s being pulled through the water … by his mouth! Rick tries to pull back but it’s no use. All the sudden, pop, he’s out of the water, and smack there he is in the hand of a fisherman named Sleepy Joe.

People called Joe sleepy because he was never the sharpest knife in the drawer and these days not only is the edge dull, it’s pretty rusty, too! Now Joe doesn’t typically eat the fish that he catches, he just likes to prove that he’s smarter than a fish. So Joe pulls the hook from Rick’s mouth and drops him back in the water.

This whole experience left Rick shaken but his belly was full; he had managed to bite off a good part of the worm before his trip into the air.

The next day Rick was back at his normal hangout and sure enough, another worm floats by. Everyone knows that fish have short memories, so Rick grabs the worm and the whole event is repeated. Once again, he’s tossed back in the water but once again his belly is full.

Now the common fish may not be too smart, but Rick was smarter then your average bream, able to put one and one together and he figured out that however uncomfortable this experience is, he does get an easy meal so the ritual becomes a daily event.

Rick is so proud of himself for recognizing how to get an easy daily meal, he tells all of his friends and what ensues is a daily party. Marin comes along and always being a great spreader of news, swims all around the pond gathering up fish. Slim came along, as did Swim and Fins. Pretty soon lots of fish were swimming around Rick and taking turns being yanked from the water and tossed back with bellies full of worms. Even the little fries came along and tried to grab a worm but their mouths were too small; however they did manage to catch worm pieces that trickled down.

Eventually, word made its way to a bass named Big Stacy. Big Stacy was a mean old fish who got big by gobbling up lots of little fish. She would convince the smaller fish that if they followed her she would show them a place where all fish lived together and there was food for all. Of course, once they followed her to her place of equity, she would gobble them down, sometimes two or three at a time.

For some reason, many pond fish never caught on to Big Stacy’s ploy. She never left survivors and, when asked about the missing fish, she would spin fantastic stories about marauding red fish that snatched up most while a few made it to her lair of equity and were living in bliss.

Well, when Big Stacy heard about Rick’s party, she cruised by. What she witnessed flabbergasted her and made her laugh. These stupid little fish voluntarily being snatched from the water just for a piece of worm. Such fish would be an easy mark. Convincing these small minds to stop dealing with the pain of being pulled from the water just for a meal and instead follow her to her lair of equity would be a cinch.

Right then a shiny, buzzing prize came shooting past Big Stacy. Even fish can’t help chasing shiny objects and Big Stacy remembered the last time such an opportunity came by. That time she chased the prize and just missed it. Being a true narcissist who knows that she is smarter than all other fish, Big Stacy convinced herself that she had actually caught that prize and she bragged to all who would listen of her pseudo-success … just before devouring them. This time, the prize would be hers!

Sure enough, chomp … Big Stacy grabbed the prize. What happened next would be a pond legend. As Big Stacy tried to swallow the prize, all of the sudden the prize pulled back and three hooks sunk in! Big Stacy was strong so she swam away from the pull, shaking her head violently trying to expel the fake prize. She jumped out of the water, head shaking all about … splash back into the pond. Rick and friends watched as Big Stacy leapt from the water over and over trying with all her might to spit out what was just moments ago her only desire.

Eventually, all of her strength spent, Big Stacy was dragged through the water right past Rick and the others and out of the water. At this point, Rick told his friends not to worry because Sleepy Joe always throws back the fish and Big Stacy would need their consolation. But Big Stacy did not return to the water and fish being fish, after a few minutes the pond returned to normal.

A worm dropped down as always and Slim grabbed it. Up he went, out of the water. Another worm dropped, and then another. Fins grabbed one, Marin snatched another and up they went. Rick was next. Out of the water he went and when his eyes focused what he saw filled him with terror. On the ground was Big Stacy, Fins, Slim, and Marin all flopping about. Sleepy Joe pulled the hook from Rick and, bam, Rick was on the ground flopping with the rest.

None of this was right! Joe always dropped him back into the water before with a full belly. Now, the worm was forgotten as Rick and friends struggled for oxygen. Then Rick saw the fire and the others with Sleepy Joe. Kamy was there, Barry and Hilly, too. They were drinking from brown bottles and laughing as Joe pulled in another fish friend.

What Rick saw next did not compute in his fish brain. Barry was holding a long, shiny object. He grabbed poor, proud Stacy by her mouth (!) and the shiny object disappeared into Big Stacy’s belly. All of the sudden the stuff that is supposed to be inside now spilled onto the ground right next to Rick. He could even see parts of other pond fish in the mess and the truth about Big Stacy came to Rick … too late. Barry grabbed Rick … sharp pain … then black.

Joe, Barry, Hilly, and Kamy drank and laughed as they feasted on Big Stacy, Rick, and his friends. One more pond where the gullible and the proud were harvested for their nutrition. You see, these four had been using this same strategy for years, crossing the county, tricking local fish, never paying to eat.

“Joe,” Barry said, “I wasn’t sure that you still had the fisherman’s touch. But, to be honest the fish seem to be getting more gullible than ever ..and fatter! You still needed me to pull in the big one.”

“Come on man”, Sleepy Joe replied, “that wasn’t no big freaking deal. Have you seen my hat?”

“It’s on your head, Joe.”, Barry replied, laughing.

Kamy erupted with one of her cringe worthy cackles. A piece of Rick flew out of her mouth, hitting Hilly on the cheek. But Hilly didn’t even notice. She was on her second bottle of wine and muttering something about let’s go Brandon(?) … nobody really paid attention to her anymore.

The moral of this story is don’t be a schnook or you might end up a meal for crooks!

Alan Felts

Peachtree City, Ga.