a journal of my creative efforts, past and present

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Location: Berkeley, California, United States

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Fish Dream

"Please watch them while I'm gone. They're easy to take care of. Just feed them once a day." The old woman handed me an oval shaped glass bowl filled with murky water. As she walked out of the room, I peered inside the bowl. I could only make out a few shapes. They appeared to be a small squid and two catfish. I felt both repulsed and intrigued as they swam near the surface of the water and then dived back under, disappearing within the fog of the grey-green algae.

I walked over to the other side of the room to set the bowl on the fireplace mantel. It seems that I had not calculated the width of the bowl into the space provided because as soon as I set the bowl down, it fell and came crashing down onto the floor. The dirty water splashed all over my legs. For an instant, I felt a soft, fleshy creature brush by my right knee.

I looked down. The contents of the bowl had increased several times over. The entire floor was covered with fish, snails and squid, all splashing frantically in the shallow waters. I called the woman's name with a strained voice. She came running in "Look what you've done! Pick them up immediately! Can't you see they're dying?!" Muttering apologies, I bent down and attempted to pick up a crab. As my hand drew close, it reached up and snapped its claw shut on my extended fingers. I drew back in pain, "I can't believe there's so many..." "What did you expect!?" she snapped back, marching to the corner, grabbing a broom and shaking her head as though completely disgusted with my incompetence. She started to sweep them back with violent swift strokes. The creatures splashed and squealed. I stood there watching them, feeling powerless and immobile.