THE AMAZING GLOWFISH AND OTHER
Copyright © 2001 All Rights
was fishing. I was not physically endowed to handle football or basketball.
Fishing didn't care what size you were or your prowess. I gave the sport up for
several years, but decided to try it again after starting work at a large Texas
newspaper. Several of my colleagues were into it and spoke of their conquests.
fantastic, Jim," said Billy Bob Metilda. "If you like gargantuan carp
you've got to fish Lake Livingston."
a while I became so excited about fishing that I thought of nothing else. I
began reading every fishing magazine and watching fishing shows on TV. The
adrenaline was really surging.
invested an entire paycheck in fishing gear. When I do things I pull out the
stops. Sometimes I go overboard. I was now at the point of annoying my friends.
wish you would shut up about fishing and just do it!"
pestered the guys about fishing as a group. Fishing is a sport that requires
moral support. It's fun being with a bunch of guys, fumbling around with tackle
and camping gear, drinking great quantities of beer and scratching a lot. No
matter how old a fella gets, male bonding remains important. Fishing is just one
of those male bonding activities.
was conscious of the fact that behind the paper was a prominent lake. Town Lake
it was called. But other than rowing clubs and family boaters, no one dared
venture into its water. It was a vile, polluted cesspool of crud in which
three-eyed monsters and other freaks lived. Frequently, full-sized alligators
were pulled out coughing and wheezing.
you want to fish so badly, why don't you just give Town Lake a try?"
looked at the senior technician with amusement. "Yeah, right. Whatever
thing I catch sure as heck isn't going to be edible."
tried being serious. "Really, Jim. You've got a fishing license and all
that expensive gear and there are fish out there. Why not?"
became desperate and frustrated as it became apparent that there would be no
male bonding. The guys were always busy whenever I proposed a date.
the untrained eye Town Lake looked harmless. It ran for eight miles through the
city ending at the dam. I seriously considered giving the lake a try. I mean,
what if some mutated thing or other rose to the surface and winked at me? Also,
maybe the guys were just all talk and the water was perfectly all right.
night I walked down to the bridge which joined the north and south sides of the
city and stared into the water. I was crazy. I wanted to fish so much that I
could taste it.
was unaware of the presence of a bridge lunatic. There were people known to
reside under the bridge with an affinity towards trollism. To my left I could
make out the form of a bedraggled, smelly man. He was short and appeared
harmless. Still I was on my guard. You never know what a person is capable of.
I help you?" I tried sounding tough. Some people in fear sound like wimps.
Your voice goes into your nose and you sound like Melvin the nerd.
little man said, "I knew you were coming. You like fishing, huh? It was
prophesied that a mighty fishing warrior would come along to tame the great Town
Lake. I'm here to assist you on your quest."
he got closer I nearly passed out from the smell. I have nothing against anyone,
but a rank troll in training is a bit overwhelming.
that's most interesting," I said trying to not irritate my new friend.
"Do you know much about fishing?"
the help of moonlight I had a better vision of the man's face. Though yucky,
there was magic about him. Wisdom shined in his eyes.
And I can tell you how to catch the big ones. You see that dark thing up there
in the sky?"
looked across the lake towards downtown. Hovering above the tallest building was
a dark band that ran north to south. It was a most sinister and predatory thing.
friend explained, "Only we who rule the night and hear voices and see
things know the truth. That's the space thingy that dictates the infrastructure
of Town Lake. You see, by day lawyers work in that building. But at night they
take off their disguises and become their real selves. They are aliens guarding
the lake, ready with subpoenas in case their friends the fish are threatened.
Together they plan world domination. Only you, the fishing savior, can save Town
Lake and the world from legal/alien domination."
Time to go. Nothing against trolls but I rather like sanity. However the part
about lawyers being aliens seemed believable.
I've got to go. I'll keep you in mind if I do fish Town Lake. Bye."
I walked back towards the paper I looked up at the ominous dark formation. Nah.
There had to be a logical explanation.
Lake had originally been a very nice, pure, untainted lake. It was human
intervention that caused the pollution. There are some, however, who believe
it's really the angry spirits of frustrated anglers that caused Town Lake to be
thought of my troll friend. What a nut. A raid by the police a few nights later
removed the small band of trolls. I heard that most, including my friend in all
likelihood, had been sent to a reformation colony where they were cleaned up and
sentenced to training as telemarketers.
guys at work became concerned when I spoke of the troll man and the dark thingy
in the sky.
you thought of taking up tennis, Jim?"
I started playing tennis and momentarily dropped the fishing bit. I was eating
right and getting plenty of exercise. I decided to shave my ear hair and felt
that mysterious bump in the back of my head disappear. Most beneficially, I
could close my eyes. Wow! Were they ever red and hurt. All the physical problems
were solved by simple nonfish activity.
night I was outside the paper when I heard and saw something most strange. This
great big, white thing comes around the corner, stops and stares at me. A giant
rat with a massive tail. Most critters run for the woods upon encountering a
human being. This thing stood its ground.
shook my head. It was quite late, and I was tired.
the rat said, "Hey, dummy. Psst!"
walked over to it. It was about three feet long and a foot high. Its voice was a
got news for you, Jim. The fish are hot and heavy tonight. You better get busy
or you'll miss out. This is your destiny."
was not amused. Enough was enough. I was weary of silly things, so I said to the
albino rat, "You just go away. I'm not listening to any more foolishness.
I'm not into fishing, so you just go chase cheese."
the rat persisted. "I know you encountered troll man, but I'm being square
with you. You must fish Town Lake. The world is at risk, and your fishing will
save it. I mean, let's be honest. If there weren't something bizarre, most
unworldly going on, why would I be speaking, huh?"
was in the trunk of my car. My super deluxe, triple-layer tackle box, my Magneto
2000 spinning rod and reel as advertised on the Dick Shick Shyster fishing show.
Of my lures, I couldn't lose with the Froggy Bouncy crankbait, guaranteed to
stir to a frenzy anything with fins.
shook my head once more just to make sure that I wasn't hallucinating. Rat
smiled, teeth revealing remnants of its last meal.
right, Jim. It's up to you. You only have six hours to catch whatever's out
there and save the world from domination. No pressure, dude."
my heart beating so fast that I felt dizzy, I hauled the fishing gear out and in
pitch darkness stumbled down the path to the edge of the lake, stationing myself
between two big trees. I didn't have a flashlight, so I had to rely on faint
moonlight. Somehow I managed to get the string strung and the lure on without
peered into the darkness. Where were they? What were they? These certainly
couldn't be normal fish. I just didn't know what I was dealing with. I then
thought of the words of my fishing guru Achten Ben Johnson, "Use your
instincts. Feel the fish, fish the fish. Just cast, stupid!"
there was a miracle. Out of the corner of my eye appeared glowing objects
gliding majestically through the water. They were frigging glowfish, and they
were everywhere. Was Town Lake polluted or what?
felt overwhelmed. Something inside said this was it. My ship had come in. Do or
die. This was a totally different kettle of fish.
first cast came up short. Still, I could see the lead fish steer in its
direction. It was truly beautiful seeing these lights in the shapes of fish
maneuver through heavily polluted water. My second cast using the Froggy Bouncy
crankbait was a little better. This time the lead fish slammed into the bait,
nearly tearing the rod out of my hands. It fought like a monster, but I mastered
it. As I hauled it out, it growled and barked at me.
no way to treat a dogfish, you human wannabe fisherman."
silenced it by praising its enemy the catfish. It got me good when it became
very bright, threatening to blind me, and became too hot to hold. I tossed it
into a tall tree where it hung as the first of a set of lights. I then continued
after another angry glowfish/dogfish were caught and tossed into the tree. It
was pretty noisy as the tree became crowded. There was plenty of whimpering,
growling and name-calling. As I moved downstream to try another spot, I looked
back. The tree was lit up like a Christmas tree and there was singing.
had no trouble finding glowfish. They seemed to gravitate more to me than to my
lure. Each victory became more vicious as they even made fun of my mother.
three in the morning the truly unbelievable occurred. I was now on the north
side of the lake. My arms and legs ached. Suddenly the dark formation in the sky
tilted down into the lake and little glowing chariots and riders descended into
the water. They were here to help their comrades the glowfish in battling me. I
could see the chariot riders making suggestions. They spoke a foreign language
further made indecipherable by being under water.
glug....harumph pumph, sneeze, ta tah hah. Hum."
got more difficult for me as they tried pulling me in. The little chariot men
sent some sort of nonelectrical current up the line causing me to sporadically
jump three feet in the air and only alleviated by singing the first verse of
"I love you." Yeah, if the children's favorite dinosaur Barney had to
battle these things he'd probably be singing "I hate fish, so do you. Let's
fry 'em up and serve 'em in a stew."
me describe the scene for you. I had fought the unholy fish for four hours. I'd
made it two-thirds the way around the lake. Trees lining the lake are so bright
with hanging glowfish that I have no trouble seeing. Presently glowfish assisted
by chariot riders are attempting to conquer me.
thought occurred to me. This had to be a plot by unnamed forces. I say unnamed
because the glowfish and chariot riders are merely the fighters. What I gather
as I converse with them is that they have heavy political beliefs. Maybe they
transform into human form and take political office. That would explain
considerable. I've often wondered what planet some politicians are from.
the water started bubbling and rolling. Something new and weird was happening.
The light from all the fish was blinding me. Instead of many glowfish it was now
one massive glowfish. They had merged to become a mess of a glowfish with
multiple eyes and fins. This big boy now sprouted legs and emerged from the
lake. At this point I gave up fishing.
chariot riders rode the monster fish's back. One had the reins and was steering
up, human," I heard one of them say. "See the evil in your human
values. Dogfish rule!"
giant glowfish had incredible speed as it raced me up to the bridge. I was
frantically looking for a policeman. It seemed to me that as bright as Town Lake
had become someone would have noticed and called the police.
mutated fish probably measured ten feet long and five feet high. At first it
gasped for air, which being a fish out of water, it most naturally would. But
the longer it was out the easier it became to breathe.
it chased me around the lake, the glowfish I'd thrown into the trees jumped off
and merged with the big one to make it even bigger and powerful. I started to
from the 1989 Fishing Guide For Fools: "If all methods and lures fail and
you are confronted by a freakish, unearthly mother of a fish, you are no longer
the fisherman but the one being fished. Refer to the 1989 Hunting Guide For
Fools, page 108, for using bazooka on abnormal species rather than on
deer." Right. Like I had time to refer to any of that. I mean, where's a
bazooka when you need one?
me to update you on the scene. I have abandoned fishing, perhaps for the rest of
my life, am being hotly pursued by the largest glowfish (though apparently it
likes going by dogfish) ever to crawl out of water. This sucker is so bright
that night has become day. With each glowfish I'd caught and tossed into a tree
now joining the big one, the monster glowfish grew. And the thing is that I seem
to be the only human being aware of the situation. Thank you police. It has to
fish was now singing a silly little tune. The chariot riders joined in. It
sounded to me like that silly gimmicky sixties song "They're coming to take
me away, aha." What a silly song to be singing. Still none of this made
kept shouting at it, "Shut up with the singing!" Still it persisted.
the fifth time around the lake I realized that as it grew it became slower.
Simply too much weight. A couple of the chariot riders got off thinking this
might help, accept by my reasoning, a chariot rider is too small, maybe weighing
at best five pounds.
I thought over my predicament it occurred to me that if the fish got large
enough it might not be able to get under the bridge, which was roughly ten feet
high. Maybe it would chase me under it and get stuck. It was my only hope. It
sure would scare the troll people, the few who had returned having become
disillusioned with telemarketing.
stumbled over some rocks and fell flat on my face. Looking back I saw the silly
I'm gonna get you, sucker. Doo wah diddy diddy dum diddy doo," it sang.
that moment when the jig seemed to be up, a voice said to me, "Get to your
frigging feet. How embarrassing being eaten by a dopey, political, alien
glowfish. The shame."
got to my feet and raced towards the bridge. Sure enough, in the shadows were
some troll people. The looks on their faces were precious. There was absolute,
confounding shock at seeing this little dude being chased by a massive glowfish
with tiny chariot riders mounted on its back singing silly, obnoxious, gimmicky
out of here!" I yelled at them as I raced past them. I was now directly
under the bridge. The shock made several freeze in their tracks. However, as the
fish closed within feet, I found most shooting past me.
as I hoped, the fish had grown too large to make it under the bridge. Still it
strained and pushed with all its fishy might. The chariot riders got off. Some
pulled on the reins as the others pushed from behind. Finally they succeeded in
getting it stuck.
you fools. Let's see you get out of this one!"
was jumping up and down in insane excitement. The chariot riders swore at me.
They didn't have any more happy songs to sing.
the fish began flapping its fins and barking in desperation. I was touched by
its sad eyes yet repulsed by its odor. It was working on my sympathy.
human. You think you have us," said one of the chariot riders. It was hard
taking him seriously when he sounded like a Smurf. "We have connections
within your government. We all come from water. You think cleansing this lake
will stop us?" His laugh sent a chill through me. He continued, "You
must be an avid and committed fisherman for we exist everywhere. You think some
Froggy Bouncy crankbait is enough?"
then the bridge started to buckle from the stress of the fish. Instead of going
forward they decided to back out. As the fish successfully but not gracefully
wiggled free, the chariot riders let out a cheer, and I knew then there was no
parked my car on the farthest end of the paper's parking lot. Though exhausted,
I started the car and burned rubber. Looking in my rearview mirror, I could see
the growing glowfish lay waste to my former place of employment.
radio came on and a very pronounced alien voice said, "We may be slow,
earth dude, but there is no stopping us. You better run."
was I alone? Why weren't others aware of this gigantic glowfish threatening our
thought of the many dangers of fishing. There's the danger of getting a hook in
the ear and losing your fishing pole and tackle, which makes the hook in the ear
attractive. How about fishing without a license? There you are on the lake, you
haven't caught a bite, you've lost that expensive spinning rod and reel in
twenty feet of water, and to top it off you have a third degree sunburn.
Suddenly some funny little man in a boat putt putts up to you and asks to see
your fishing license. You may very well have one but it's for another state.
I thought, officer, that a fishing license was like a driver's license. Good in
any state." Wrong.
these dangers pale to that of encountering a freak fish. Mine was the glowfish
that couldn't accept no. This was the fish you wished would get away. I would
much rather take the hook in the ear and the loss of a valuable rod and reel and
never was normal after fishing Town Lake. The glowfish and riders chased me
around the world. It stopped growing after it hit the size of a mountain. I was
always just one step ahead. I tried warning people. It was useless. Towns and
countries were devastated. Other glowfish rose out of every ocean, lake and
stream. I hoped that if I could reach my fellow fishermen we might be able to
fight the glowfish.
are one crazy dude," General Raphael Herrerra of the Costa Rican Air Force
complimented me. "You want me to use my air force to help you destroy
travels had earned me contacts with men high in command. I learned that the
General was not above approaching or reproach.
seen the charts and statistics, General. Most of Europe and Asia are awash in
light. Now the upper part of North America is being threatened. Fishing has all
but been banned. Massive airstrikes are our only hope."
glowfish from around the world had converged to join forces in order to take
over the world. I found it personal in that wherever I went they followed. They
struck so quickly that no one took action. No one believed what he or she saw.
Giant glowfish? Right. You be the first to admit that you see one.
the help of a box of quality cigars and a lifetime subscription to TV Guide, the
General agreed to my plan.
late Tuesday night bombing runs were made over Canada. The excitement in the
pilots' voices told the story.
all over the place," announced one pilot. "There was no possibility of
surprise. The fish had the sky lit up for a good five miles."
was a momentary ray of hope as the bombs appeared to take out a great many
glowfish and their riders. However, this just broke the big one into its many
individual fish and many of these made it back to water where they merged, or
reconstituted themselves into another giant glowfish.
was a man on the run, and I was quickly running out of places to run to. I
understood that the fish and riders were fighting for an unknown power. Whoever
or whatever alien force I had yet to discover. What I did know was that this
power was setting up a political system that had to do with a love for chess,
tofu and talking in inconsistencies.
I run and run. Lately the bad guys have attempted to make friends with me. They
have promised all kinds of incentives, one being limited fishing of, yes,
catfish. I can't give up. I am the ordained fishing savior, and as long as there
are devout fishermen I will fight. I pick up allies along the way. We gather as
much data about the alien power as we can.
I am stationed somewhere in Australia. I'm working on a possible solution with a
nutty scientist named Professor Uck Uck. Our theory is this: The evil alien
power loves silly gimmicky sixties tunes. Using pirated airwaves we have played
various styles of music. Our spies say most don't effect the bad guys. However,
heavy metal and some polka music have brought us positive results. We've heard
the growling, barking and whining which proves their dislike for these forms of
music. We're hoping to make it so painful that they'll vacate this planet and go
to one that doesn't mind their type of music. We're very hopeful. It will take
time and that's what we're worried about. Fortunately there's plenty of bad
music to choose from. It shouldn't take that long to find the one it really
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Delo White (Delowhite@hotmail.com
)works in the computer field and writes humor on the side. As of this date six
stories have been published in magazines and e-zines, including: The Cafe
Irreal, SSMagg, Aspiring Writer, Barbaric Yawp and Aphelion.