Monday, 23 May 2011
Peter Otto and the End of the World
He was too well read. He believed the fundamentalist guppies who told him that 21 May 2011 would be the end of the world. Peter Otto's reincarnation was joyful but short lived.
I have been visiting the pond in the back yard to gaze at the risen Peter each day since I discovered him. Late last week I was rewarded in my vigil. I approached the bottom of the yard quietly so as not to disturb him. Until then he had still been a golden glow deep in the water. This time, there he was in his element, in a sublime meditative state, swimming near the surface. Feeding. His golden colours made me feel like I was looking at the sun. So orange. So bright. I was enthralled. That was early Saturday 21 May.
Yesterday (Sunday 22 May) I returned from a day at my "Year of the Memoir" writing workshop and headed for the pond as my first port of call. I called to my son to come have a look at this wonder.
There he was at the surface again. Only this time he was meditating on his side. Floatng rather than swimming.
He's dead. said Nick.
No he's not. I said. He's resting.
Dead. Gone to heaven, Nick repeated.
I gave the bullrushes a shake and I'm sure he flicked his fin and moved forward.
No. said Nick. You just pushed him.
The original PeterOtto used to do this I reminded him. It was the cause of his demise. My sister in law, who was minding the house for a week while we were away, mistook his resting for rigor mortis and, with what she thought was compassion, relocated him to the freezer so we would be able to bury him on our return.
So I poked him. I was not going to be suckered by a fish a second time. He moved but only to float again to the surface, inert.
Shit. I thought. After surviving for two years undetected he now returns for only 7 days and on the seventh day he's cardiac arrested. Perhaps the Fundamental Christians were right after all except their predictions were not intended for humans but for fish. Have there been other reports of mass endings of goldfish on 21 May. Conspiracy theorists would posit that even if this mass death scenario were true the code of silence amongst goldfish would prevent us from knowing.
Or perhaps this was a message from a higher being to remind me of the folly of worshipping golden idols.
Whatever the meaning I resolved to return to the pond to capture this event on film and to transfer "Peter Otto the Second" to the freezer to join his predessor in a cyrogenic state.
Unfortunately I got distracted and an hour later I make the return trip to the bottom of the garden. It was dark by this time, so I took my camera and shot a series of photos with my flash. Back in the house I reviewed the photos and was amazed and perplexed to find no sign of Peter's golden glow. I returned this morning to confirm my worst fears and there was no sign of him. No amount of rustling or peering into the murky depths revealed any sign of him. He had been assumed into fish heaven. Another miracle.
I will be writing to the Pope to beseech him to put Peter Otto on his list of possibles for sainthood. The Catholics need a new focus. They have created dozens of new saints lately in a wide range of non mainstrweam communities but none in the marine world. There are millions of potential converts waiting for "The Word".
And the word is 'blubb'