:: Article

Fish Stocking

By Tina Xiang.


By English: Jean B. Sabalot [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons



The first weekend of January I walk in the park by my apartment and arrive at the smell of pines. There are old holiday trees piled by the fish-stocked lake. Once I saw them stock it. A truck backed up into the water beeping, a man wrangled out a big rubber tube, the truck beeped some more, and the man connected the tube to another tube coming from the truck. I thought the fish would come peacefully but water came gushing out and so did they. At the end, they flopped. One was confused and almost skidded onto the dirt bank; children shrieked with delight and shook their limbs; it darted back into the water. The man grabbed one in the shallows and threw it toward the center. A fisherman turned to me and recalled how he once saw a plane drop hundreds into a lake. I imagined a cloud of fluttering fish. I asked if any died. He said, “Naturally.”



Tina Xiang lives and writes in St. Louis. Her fiction has appeared in Fourteen Hills.

Radiographs of game fish (trout) taken by Jean B. Sabalot of San Francisco in 1913. The image is in the public domain courtesy of the Freshwater and Marine Image Bank at the University of Washington.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Thursday, November 17th, 2016.