A Fly on the Sill

On a summer Sunday, warm and relaxed, a man peered over the edge of his splintery row boat into the depths of a lake. The watery world gave him a brief reprieve from the stresses of money and love. The man thought suddenly that he saw something sparkle near the lake bed, and wondered what it was. He imagined it was the ring of power or excalibur. Then he thought, maybe it was a magic lamp and began listing his wish.

“Number one is money, more money than Scrooge McDuck.”

He day dreamed about casually handing a black titanium credit card to his girlfriend without fear or stress.

“Lets see, number two… maybe a super power.”

He imagined turning invisible and flying and while he imagined he saw the sparkle again, this time swimming toward him.

“Oh it’s a goldfish”

The fish swam directly to the man and poked it’s head through the surface of the water.

“What are you doing?” said the fish.

“I’m looking into this lake. Strangely the sun looks warmer down there.”

“Well, it’s not. Go away.”

“How can you speak?”

“I’ll have you know, I was the one who taught the first man to speak. Before that he just kind of smashed things and masturbated a lot.”

“I thought goldfish had a one-minute memory, and you want me to believe that you’ve been alive for thousands of years?”

“I don’t care what you believe. You know how you find house flies dead on your windowsill? They spent they’re entire life trying to fly thru glass, but they didn’t know what it was, and how to get around it. Every year you find house flies making the same mistakes, and you are irritated by their stupidity and suck up their corpses into your vacuum cleaner.”

“Tell me why you’re still alive.”

“I can not, nor can I tell you why i’m not dead. I just exist, and just as you, I can’t imagine anything else.”

The man took a sun-bleached bucket from the floor of the boat and scooped the fish into it and then continued talking to the fish. It occurred to him that the fish could be quite valuable.

“It’s possible the fish wouldn’t talk if I asked it to, and then no one would believe me and I’d just have a goldfish that I’d never have to flush down the toilet,” he thought.

Finally the fish asked to be put back in the lake and so the man put his hands into the water bucket and grasped the fish. Then he drank the water from his hands and swallowed the fish whole. Evening was quickly approaching so the man rowed back to the land and drove home. That night he did not eat nor did he eat the next day. Hunger never came, and neither did thurst. Time passed and as an old man who’d forgotten the flavors of salt and honey, he returned to the lake where he vomited the fish into the water. The fish swam away and as the old man watched it leave he cried like he had the day he was born.