Friday, November 27, 2009


The Ugly Fish

Date: September 30, 2009
Title: Ugly Fish
As I sit here, I wonder about this second short story. What would be the name of it? Let us call it Ugly Fish. That sounds like a good name.
David was a good guy. He was known as the happy guy at work, but times were bad and even though he was very a very nice person, that he got along with all the other employees, that he had been laid off. So he came home that day very dejected. It was early in the morning and his wife had already gone to work. He was thinking about this on the way home and he came home and he came to the house. And no one was there. Well, he thought, “I can hang around the house and worry about what she will do and how she will be angry when she comes home.” Recently he had some arguments with her and some of them were quite verbal. She would always say that he was a lazy guy and that he always wanted to go fishing when there was work to be done around the house. So the home had some problems with the roof, with the plumbing, and with so and so. And each time he didn't fix it, these problems, his wife grew angrier. But now he would have plenty of time to repair the house. But how could he face his wife? She would be so angry. All he could tell her, “Now I have plenty of time to repair the house.” But she would probably scoff at him and tell him, “You? Repair this house? You'd probably repair somebody else's first.” He needed to relax. So how would he relax before she came home and prepare himself for the onslaught? Well, let's try his favorite – fishing. Since there was a path from his house to a little bridge that led over the Des Plains river, and he loved to fish from the other side of the bridge at Riverside. Riverside forbid fishing on the other side. That's why he liked to go. But nobody really enforced the rule. The Des Plains river had come back and now instead of the three types of fishes there were 35 different ones. He thought to himself, “I don't even know 35 different species of fishes. I wonder what they all are.” One of the fishes that he liked to catch was the pike. A pike was long and thin and a predator – number one predator of a lot of fishes. It had a lot of teeth. But when you catch it, it really put up a fight. So he liked to catch that fish but then he would like to throw it back in for he never like to kill a fish. As the day wore on, he was thinking about all his problems and all his life and all about what he was going to say to his wife about loosing his job. He didn't realize that time had gone so fast as it began to grow dark and sunset had occurred – or was setting. So he said, “One more cast.” And he cast out his line. All of a sudden he became so excited. He had a fish! And he reeled it and fought with it and reeled it in until he said, “Boy, this is a big pike.” And when he pulled out the fish, it was not a pike. It was a saligralla – one of those fishes that look so ugly and had terrible spines on it and it had a big mouth with lots of teeth. He didn't want to keep this fish. It is one of those fishes that left over when the river had been polluted. But he wanted to get it off his line. He wanted to save his line. It was tangled up in it. How would he get it off? He fought with the fish to untangle it and to get the hook out of its mouth so he could throw it back. He was inflicted – his hands were hurt His face was scratched by one of the poisonous spines. He was in a terrible fix. Finally he got this fish off the line and threw it back. He felt somewhat injured but at least he had gotten the fish away and threw it back into the river. He said, “This enough is enough!” So he put all his tackle back in the box, his fishing box. He picked it up, crossed over the bridge, the swinging bridge, and walked home. On his way home, again came the thoughts of his wife. She will really give him hell now since he's late to getting home. Even after a day's work, he was always on time coming home and now he had been playing – fishing. And she would not forgive him. As he approached his house, he noticed it was dark. She would not leave all the lights off. So he came in and opened the door and called her name. She was not there. He was really puzzled. He looked all around in every room and she was not there. Now what was he supposed to do? He turned on all the lights so he would not feel alone. And turned on the tv as well. All of a sudden there came a knock on the door! And he thought, “My wife, she wouldn't knock.” So he went to the door. And it was somebody beating on the door. Who could this be? He opened the door. There was a man dressed in a uniform with a badge. And he said, “Yes? What can I do for you?” It was the local sheriff and he looked very curiously at David. And he noticed the wounds on his hands and his face. Then he gave his report that he had to give and he said “Is your wife Silvia?” And he said, “Yes.” “We found this identification on this woman by the bridge.” “Oh, you mean the one where I fish?” “Yes. Near the Des Plains river.She had been strangled. But she must have put up a heck of a fight.” He looked amazed. He couldn't believe it. The sheriff looked at him cautiously and suspiciously and said to him, “Why don't you come down with me to the police station and we will talk about this? “ So, he said, “OK.” He went and got his coat while the sheriff followed into the home with him. And he got dressed and put his heavy coat on for it was getting kind of cold out at night and he left and closed the door and locked it. And they went downtown to the police station.
What did I try to do with this particular story was relate that David was a kind man and David was a nice man but circumstances change you. Circumstances that we don't even realize, or don't want to realize, and this is David's predicament. What he did is justified in the end. And the old adage comes to mind, “A person justifies the means to the ends” instead of admitting that he had lost his temper when his wife spotted him by the bridge fishing and came over and confronted him. And he had strangled her and thrown her into the river. He could not justify that he had murdered his wife for in some way, in the back of his mind, he still loved her.

Right now I'm listening to "Prairie Home Companion" and I think you're probably listening too. Perhaps your new connection with Art will be in print. I listened to your stories often at the café. It's time to use them as a pallet for stories to tell us.
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