A fish finds his mate, shakes his tail at the sea, and takes a trip into outer space.
|I am thinking about a big, multi-colorful fish. A big, fat fish--kind of round looking. And it is yellow like a banana, with tropical colors all over it, too. Lime green, super red, and dark blue. Tropical? Colors? No, and yes. I suppose the fish's name is Earl. As in the television show My name is Earl. And Earl, as in the Dixie Chicks' song "Earl had to Die". And Earl, as in Earl, the little boy in fifth-grade band who played the saxophone--or bari saxophone.
Regardless, my 'tropical' fish's name is Earl, for sure. And Earl swims in the barrier reefs of the ocean. He loves hiding behind the pink coral rocks. I am sure this story takes place in Australia, the great oceanic waters of Australia, the land down under. So, Earl is an Aussie fish. Wonderful! Well, Earl swims and swims and swims some more. And he feeds on plant life. So he eats, and eats, and eats some more. Ah, Earl. He is so small in the great ocean. His simplicity is beautiful.
The multi-colorful fat fish named Earl. I just love him. His eyes are huge, and he smiles as he swims along. His gills are all lovely, thin and translucent, like crepe paper.
My lovely little Earl. Super-colorful Earl. I love how his eyes are on either side of his head. He looks so energetic today--darting back and forth in the water, dodging plankton and coral. Deep in the deep blue sea. He eats lots of plant-like things, and swims up fairly high toward the surface. He leaves behind him bubbles (in his wake). I wonder if Earl will ever find a lady love? Hmm. Perhaps, but I wonder what she would be like. I mean, maybe Earl is such a sweet fish, he would find another sweet lady fish to swim with. It probably wouldn't matter what she looked like, because Earl would just love her so much that he wouldn't care. Earl is not the kind of guy fish who is superficial like that.
Yes, he does appreciate his lady fish for her inner beauty, as well as her outer-gill beauty. No doubt. Earl is a true gentlefish. He would probably swim so slow with his lady fish, just so they could watch each other and he would be in 'swim' with her. After all, he would hate to rush his sweet lady fish. Her name is Martina.
It's Earl and Martina, swimming in the sea, k-i-s-s-i-n-g! Oh cute, I love it. Martina is smaller in size, but not too small. And she is elegant in all black. Black body, black gills, black fins. She is truly a lady. Plain a bit, if you ask me, but you know, Earl appreciates more than the face-value of his mate. He loves her through and through like fishes do.
I think he wears a crown. King Earl, with his queen, Martina. King Earl and Queen Martina, royals of the sea. They swim the ocean with such grace and quiet dignity. They are poised for anything. Tails in good shape, should an enemy shark or hungry whale come along. They just flip-flap away, in a flash. Gone so quickly, it seems they just combusted in the water. The only fear they have is nets. Of the fisher-people, of course. That is why they are so cautious of swimming too close to the surface, too close to the light. Earl is the adventurous one, rather risky, as he visits the light--probably more often than necessary. Martina, black beauty, remains in the deep blue. Most days, Earl and Martina stay close to one another, enjoying each others' companionship. Martina winks at Earl every so often, so when they are busy swimming, Earl knows that she is thinking of him.
They do love to play! Hide and seek in the large perforations of the coral rock. Earl will also bring Martina bits of plant to eat. She appreciates this, and winks. Content is the Aussie deep blue, the oceanic waters of the great reef, when Earl and Martina are together.
Deep in the deep blue sea, Earl and Martina swim. Weaving in and out of coral unending, sharp and pointy in places, dull and round in others, Earl and Martina never leave one another's sides. Not for very long, anyway. Every once in a while, Earl will courageously, boldly, swim up, up, up, towards the surface, light blue that it is, only to find bits of algae and plant for Martina to nibble.
Once acquired, Earl heads immediately back to the deep. To feed Martina, he kindly shares the bits of plant, and she winks at him with love and gratitude. How could she not? Earl, he is such a gentlefish, kind and wonderful. Martina admires his bright colors. He is truly a kind, valorous gentlefish. As they rest under a large piece of Australian coral in the deep blue reef--entirely unexpected--there is a rumble, very low in pitch. Now, Earl and Martina wake, aware only that the rocks are shaking. As the water moves them all akimbo, Earl goes in one direction, Martina the opposite. What on Earth is happening? Disturbed and frightened, Earl and Martina clamor, swishing tails with all their might to stay side by side.
The ocean roars and churns, bubbles and swirls. The happy deep blue turns into a chaotic underworld with no up or down. No real direction is discernible, and tumbling pieces of coral have become weapons of the forces at hand. What is this?
Crash! Coral landing here.
Bam! Coral exploding on impact there.
Other fish, and even predators, flap about with fear in their eyes. Little fish homes are destroyed. Water is cloudy from silt and sand and muck lifted off the sea bed and thrown into the deep. Just as every sea creature is about to give up, close their eyes and just succumb to their destiny of destruction, it stops. The rumble ceases, and so the deep is silent. Earl and Martina open their eyes, warily. Nothing to see in the sea. Just sandy, cloudy vision. But wait--
Martina, lady in black, spies a form of bright yellow, red, green, and blue, darting here and there, not far from her. Earl! She swims, swims, swims to him and he finally recognizes her in the dark, deep blue.
They look at each other and know it is time to go. There is no resting place to be found, no place safe from the sharks and whales, and no food to be nibbled. The lovable place they once called home is no longer. Oh, deep blue oceanic waters of Australian coral reef--how beautiful and placid, we will remember you like this. Earl and Martina look with heavy hearts at the wreckage, and decide resolutely they must go.
They aren't sure where to go, except up. Up, up, and away! So up they go. Tails swishing back and forth so quickly they are propellers. Up! Martina looks at Earl. Up! Earl looks back at Martina. Every once and again they catch themselves in an undercurrent, but they always recover. Stay on course! They think, "Whatever comes, stay on course!"
Earl and Martina pass many sights on their speedy trip up. Past the bubbles, past the scuba divers, past the other fish. And finally, when Earl and Martina, weak from such strenuous work, feel they can go up no further, they find the top of the ocean. "Ah-ha!" they burble.
Earl and Martina, although exhausted, each do backflips for joy. They have surfaced! Their trip has come to an end? Maybe their voyage has just begun? Unsure of what comes next, Earl and Martina hover in the water, close to the top--oh the sun feels so warm on their gills--never have they felt the sun before. Not like this, anyway. Martina, happy to be so warm, and grateful to be alive, wiggles next to Earl. This show of affection makes Earl blush. But, he too feels warm and grateful, and he wiggles next to Martina.
Ah, there they are. Earl and Martina, in love. Not in their usual place, unaccustomed to their surroundings, their love still shines. It is a constant amidst a sea of destruction and unpredictability. And so it goes. And so it is!
Earl and Martina, true love at sea. What happens next?
Floating upwards of the surface. The air is salty. Earl and Martina burble to each other, this time about waves. Short ones, tall ones. Martina feels in her body the sensation of gradual tugging, and pushing. Rhythmic and gentle movement. She likes it, and tells Earl. He faces her, both eyes focusing in. Clear in the light, her dark features are apparent. She is so wonderful, Earls thinks. And you know what? He says to himself, I want to swim with Martina until the end of time. Maybe, he continues, if we ever return to the deep, we will have little fish of our own.
"Yes," he says to Martina, "I like it, too."
She looks at Earl, reads the look in his eyes correctly, and immediately knows how much she means to him. They nuzzle into each other for the evening, and drift to sleep as night falls. The only worry they have is the nets of the fisher people. But even still, the chances are slim they will be caught, and two slumber peacefully on an epic waterbed.
The sun creeps up in the Eastern sky, little by little. Peach and lemon yellow paint. Dawn on the Australian waters is glorious! Light streaks across lapping, benevolent waves. The ocean perks up, as if it is responding to a call from somewhere beyond. Something unseen is at work, and my two lovely little fish can feel it. Earl opens his eyes. Martina, too.
Hmm. What follows may prove difficult to envision. Not for Earl and Martina, as they perceive it and know it themselves, but for you. And us! How, after all, could it possibly be that in the midst of a very truly delighted morning, in the great barrier reef of the land known as Australia, on a small oceanic planet called Earth, that a silver spaceship with an image of Earl and Martina burned into its hatch, lands gracefully, no smoke or loud sound, in a luscious plop next to the two, sleepy-eyed fish?
Sunlight glints off the metallic exterior, as the ship bobs there for a few moments. Yes, this is happening. Earl and Martina, not confident that this is unusual--but sensing that it is--gaze at the unit with wonder. Just as Earl opens his mouth to ask his ladylove what she thinks they should do now, given this newfound spectacle, the hatch (front door) unlatches.
Slowly, it lowers from top to bottom, revealing a short conveyor belt.
Martina gives Earl a small wink and guesses, "I think we are supposed to get on."
Uneasily, Earl stammers, "But, but, what, what'll...what will we do? Where will we go? How are we going to find food?" Gaining composure, and turning gravely serious, he quietly asks her, "Martina, what if we want to go back to the deep blue? What if we want to go home?"
Martina pauses, considering. She surveys her surroundings.
After a moment, she says gently, "Well, Earl, we could decide to not get on. But then we would never know."
"We would never know?" he puzzles.
"Right," she says. "If we ignore this strange thing, we will never find out what it could be. And, it looks like it might be a gift--for us."
Hmm. Earl and Martina, floating in the sea.
Earl's face lights up. "You're right my love. That is true!"
Curiosity gleaming in their eyes, Earl and Martina simultaneously approach the now moving conveyor belt. After ascending the silver space ship, the belt retracts, and the hatch closes up quickly behind them.
A border of red and white lights flashes around the image of Earl and Martina, on the hatch exterior.
Up, up, and away!
Aboard the unit are three things. One, a round window (sizable and impenetrable); two, a dashboard, complete with buttons and levers; three, a table for two set with a lit candelabra, fine china, and crystal goblets.
Earl and Martina find their respective places at the table, which are marked with placards. Underneath their names on each is a paragraph, written in Fish, which essentially reads:
Choosing a new direction is sometimes scary.
To ease your worries, enjoy a delicious meal.
No hunting or gathering is required.
Simply imagine a feast of your dreams,
and be ready to receive it.
Earl and Martina are both stunned. Neither had any previous knowledge or understanding of written language. Yet, both are able now to read and comprehend this strange message. They each read it, once more.
Earl's mind harkens back to the great deep blue. Algae! He closes his eyes, and imagines a delicious bloom of it.
"How did you...?" Martina wonders aloud. His eyes fly open. On the previously empty plate, there lies a delicious mound of bright green algae.
"Martina, try it. Just think of a food you like and picture it," Earl encourages.
She closes her eyes.
"Seaweed!" Earl exclaims.
Martina looks at her plate, now loaded with the delicacy.
Earl and his ladylove waste no time. They dig right in, savoring every mouthful. Aware of their thirst, each imagines refreshing salt water from back home. Their crystalline goblets, delicate and beauteous, are suddenly full of salt water, from which they promptly sip.
As Earl and Martina finish their meal, the ship jets well out of Earth's atmosphere. Earl thoughtfully considers the dashboard with its various buttons and levers. He and his ladylove cautiously approach it. Now, never having seen anything remotely similar in their lives, Earl and Martina turn to one another. Truly, they are confounded.
But the window!
Martina's eyes grow wider and wider, even still, as they pass Earth's moon, and turn to continue past Saturn's rings and moons.
"This is nothing like home," Martina whispers. "It's amazing," she says.
Earl, too, is amazed by the view, and scoots closer to his ladylove.
"Thank you for being brave, my love. If it weren't for your suggestion, we would never have come here," he confides.
"Of course," Martina says seriously. "But, Earl?" she asks quickly.
A quiet pause. Earl intuits, "You want to go back."
"Yes," she admits. "As much as I love these beautiful sights and all of the fun we've had, I feel sad. For the blue. I miss it."
The ship goes into hyperspace. That's what some call it. And, before they know it, Earth is in full view, no longer a pin point off in the distance. So, it's blue, beautiful, and oh-so-lovely looking to the two well-traveled fish.
Maybe the story is not ending? Well, here's what happens next. Then you can decide whether the tale of two fishes is done.
The ship lurches and leans and makes loud sounds. A light just about the hatch (on the inside) flickers and brightens. Earl closes his eyes. How did this all come about, he wonders. His mind goes back to the top of the ocean, where he bobbed, and spent the night. Further back, he recalls the terrible disaster in the blue. Hmm...he is curious what the blue is like now. Today. He hopes it has been re-settled. Like his ladyfish he longs for their great deep blue. Its majesty. And at the same time, his humble abode. There is something great about humility, he notes. Two very opposite things, and they seem, somehow, to fit well together.
Anyway, the space unit. Like a bolt of lightning, it shoots down from the sky and dives straight away into the barrier waters of Australia. A fan propeller in the back pushes them down, down, down. Into the darkness they go. Reaching the ocean floor, Earl looks over. He sees his ladyfish Martina, and begins to tear up.
"I love you," he whispers to her.
The hatch opens, and Earl and Martina make their way off the ship. Back into the blue, they swim.
Night comes quickly. The repaired blue is sleepy silent. Yet, in the profound quiet, a tiny fish voice can be heard.
"I love you, too."