A Strange Fish Indeed

Art by Logan Kruidenier

“Ah ha! Here’s one now!” Edmund exclaimed, and began all the great tugging and reeling and winding that you’d expect to see from a fisherman. For that was what Edmund was.

A few moments, a few grunts, and a lot of reeling later, Edmund’s catch splashed onto the shore beside his feet. “Blast!” said Ed, “It’s just a horseshoe.” The horseshoe flailed pathetically against the fishing hook. “Well, get on with you then,” grumbled Ed, then he bent down to free the horseshoe, which promptly hopped back into the water and disappeared.

What was that? You find it strange that a horseshoe can move all by itself, and prefers
the water? Well, Edmund was not fishing at any ordinary stream, and he was not here
to catch ordinary fish. He was here to catch COSMIC fish. This was a COSMIC stream, of CONSCIOUSNESS. Beside him was strewn about all the fruits of his fishing labor: a few ropes of seaweed, a porcelain doll, a hard-boiled egg, a crystal vase, a plus-size brassiere, and a bronze bust of some long-forgotten general.

It was now very late in the night. Stars twinkled overhead and were reflected in the multi-colored waters of consciousness that rushed by. Edmund was feeling quite discouraged, even when his fishing line tugged in the water one last time. If you can imagine a fisherman reeling in a catch lazily, disconsolately, without passion, all very well, because that is exactly how he did it. Imagine his surprise then, when all his gloomy tugging, reeling and winding yielded, not another piece of cosmic debris, but a real, live cosmic fish! Indeed, he was so shocked at the sparkling creature hanging from his pole that he cried “Oh!” and let the pole drop to the ground.

The fish, which was vivid green one moment, pastel pink the next, yet always sparkling, reached up a fin to remove the hook from his mouth, then stood up on his rear fin and fixed Edmund with an intent gaze.

“Edmund Darvish? Of 16 Keaton Road?” asked the cosmic fish.

“Ah… Yes. Yeah, that’s me…”

“Good, good,” said the fish, in a very proper, upright manner. “You’re hereby commanded to attend the cosmic council being held at Alpha Centauri. You will be asked to kindly arrive in pants and a button-up shirt, NO hats allowed…”

“If I may interrupt, O Mr. Fish,” Ed said, a bit shyly, “But that sounds—well… a bit FISHY. Do you have any official documentation, or anything?”

“Um, yes… Yes! Of course. Let me see…” and the fish patted his scales as if looking for the right pocket. Now, the truth was, this fish was not a council emissary at all, he was just a fish trying his very best not to get eaten, so the moment he felt Edmund’s attention begin to wander, he leapt for the stream, and freedom. And that was the last time those two met.

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Howl was born in the wastes north of Hithlum, where only beasts and witches dare roam. He was raised by two old hags, Tabby and Wiles, who had an unhealthy fascination towards the literary arts. Howl now resides in a well-furnished cave off South Rim Trail, complete with an old iBook and Wi-Fi.