I’d like to be…

Under the Sea – A Story for A&E

One night I had an awful nightmare. I dreamed that there would be a horrible, toxic oil spill, and it would rage on and on for weeks and weeks, poisoning the ocean with its noxious black clouds. Upon waking up, I calmed myself, rocking in my bed and muttering, “It’s only a dream, it’s only a dream,” but I couldn’t shake the feeling of dread, so, together with my trusty swimming doghead, Finn, I decided to go to the bottom of the ocean and have a look-see (a look-sea!) for myself, to make sure everything was ok.
Finn is probably a Labrador-tuna mix; Labs are known as water dogs, and tuna have been called “the chicken of the sea”, but that doesn’t mean much to this story, and Finn is very brave.

We took a big boat the middle of the ocean. I was so excited, I hardly remember the ride…
Finn and I swam and dove, dove and swam, until we reached a band of water that had a different, special quality to it; it was warmer, and it felt like it was swimming around us as much as we were swimming through it. It seemed almost magical…
So we took a left and got out of there. Magic water is scary. Finn thought maybe Poseidon took a pee in the pool.

For awhile we swam peacefully. It was as if time stopped, and the water was so blue it almost seemed as if we were in the sky instead of in the ocean. We floated on currents and laughed when jets of bubbles tickled our feet and underarms. Everything was quiet, except for the sounds of the deep and Finn singing a song called “Horse with No Name.” He loves that song. This is the version that he plays in his head. He likes it better than the original. I like any song that talks about “a fly with no buzz.” That’s just crazy. Unless the fly is dead. Talk about a buzz-kill! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eew6T2Qy6kc&feature=related

Suddenly, there was a whoosh of motion and color, as if we’d been caught up in an orange and gold tornado. Fish were everywhere, shouting and laughing, mixing and mingling, talking on their I-Phones, riding bikes, making toasts…it was insane! “Hey,” I said to a coy looking boy koi, “Can you tell us how to get to the bottom of the sea? It seems like we’ve been swimming around in circles for days!”

“You’ve been swimming for days? Big deal! Cry me a river, why dont’cha?! I’ve been swimming my whole life, and worse still, every hour of every day it’s the same old thing – I’m always in school! I never get recess, I never get vacation and I never graduate! Everywhere I go, I’m always in this school, and I am sick of it,” carped the carp. (A koi is a type of carp. Carp is used to make gefilte fish. “Gefilte” is a Yiddish word, and “to carp” is to kvetch, which is also Yiddish, but people do it in every language. Look it up if you don’t believe me.)
“I guess since you spend so much time in school, you must be pretty smart, huh?” I asked. I find that when dealing with irritated aquatic life, it’s best to be both polite and complimentary.
“Yeah, I am,” said the koi, and not too modestly. “But if you want to know something really important or difficult, you’ll have to ask El Deonte, the smartest kid in school.”
“El who?”
“He’s over there. Oh man! I gotta go! Man-ta-ray, school sucks!”
Koi boy darted into the fish cyclone and was gone. Like so many in an enormous, over-populated and over-burdened school system, the little fish become lost. They’re just tiny flashes and flecks of gold in a big chaotic cloud.
I looked for El Deonte. All I knew about him was that he was the smartest fish in school. How would I recognize him?

As it turns out, it wasn’t all that difficult.

“Are you El Deonte?” I asked
Foshizzle, my guppy!” He laughed. “Hey! You’re not from around here, are you?”
“No,” I said. “I’m from Arizona.”
“Got any papers to prove that?” El Deonte asked suspiciously. “Oh well, never mind – I guess it doesn’t really matter where you’re from, now that you are here. What can I do for you?”
Umm, I wanted to ask you if you could help me find my way to the bottom of the ocean, but now that I see you, can I ask you another question?”
“Of course you can, my Pisces brother! Dive on in!”
“Is that your brain, El Deonte? Are you so smart that your head couldn’t hold all of your thoughts and so your mind popped out of your skull?” I whispered.
El Deonte laughed until his gills hurt. “No, you foolish fleshy fish! That’s my fishfro! My fish ‘do, if you will!”
At this point, Finn started cracking up, because El Deonte said “fish doo.” Finn is like that. He thinks poop is hilarious.
“What are you laughing at? Are you laughing at my style, my flavor, my flow? Do you think my head looks like a butt?”
I had no idea what El Deonte was talking about, but I quickly tried to make things right.
“No, sir! You are one FINE looking fish! I think you are fabulous!” I cried. Finn just kept on laughing. He thinks the word “butt” is pretty funny, too, especially if it’s used around the word “head”.
“Well, I wasn’t fishing for a compliment, but fine, whatever. Bygones. So, you want me to take you to the bottom of the ocean?”
“Yes, please,” Finn and I sang in unison.
And that is exactly what he did.