Wednesday, August 07, 2002

"Fish" - A parable on man’s inhumanity to his fellow man

WARNING: “The following paragraphs contain scenes of fish filleting which some readers may find disturbing.”

Fishing. What the bloody hell is that all about? Sit for hours on end next to some poxy lake on the half chance that some fish will be stupid enough to bite the hook you’ve left lyng around for them. My brother loved fishing. Matt next door loved fishing. Whole swarms of kids would descend on the gravel pits of a weekend, grasping rods and icky green boxes of maggots. My dad was yet another fishing nut, and virtually threw me out of the door with a rod in my hand so he could enjoy a quiet kid-free weekend. I wasted hours waiting for something to happen. What a waste of life. I want it back.

You stupid bugger

I soon found out that I wasn’t the only kid forced down the lakes against their will. After approximately ten minutes of tedium, you’d give up altogether and go for a walk, where you’d find kindred spirits wishing they were doing something, anything more interesting. Matt, it turned out, despite his faux enthusiasm for the hobby, was one of them and would do anything to slack off. We also found John and Squagg, victims of their parents’ desire for a quiet Saturday in. Geoff, on the other hand, loved fishing. He had all the gear, several rods, keep net, landing net, stool, and a little tent thing. He represented everything we hated about fishing.He had to die.

He also had one gadget that immediately caught our eye. A ground bait catapault. It was a genuine catapault that you used to fire off handfuls of maggots into the middle of the lake to attract the fish. It didn’t take us long to see that this had possibilities...

“Dad? Can I have some money for a ground bait catapault?”

CH-CHING! Sorted.

Next weekend we went to the lakes suitably armed. Catapault. Marbles. Large stockpile of French bangers purchased on a recent trip to Calais, huge double dose of maggots straight out of the vending machine at the garage. Yes - a VENDING MACHINE! How gross is that? How many customers mistook it for a coke machine and got a wriggling mass of bluebottle larvae? The mind boggles. And who, in the name of our lady of donkey poop, had the job of keeping the thing topped up?

And so it came to pass that after a token ten minutes of fishing (total catch, as usual = NIL) we’d had enough and went in search of Geoff. And sure enough, he was in is usual place just below the weir, all his gear laid out nicely and all set for a day of rollercoaster excitement that is coarse fishing. We left him alone. For a bit. No point COMPLETELY ruining his day. So we took turns at pissing in the mill pond near him before we set to work.

Pang! The first handful of maggots was shot out of the catapault and caught Geoff square in the back. The wrigglers bounded off his parka coat, and in a rather pleasing result, several ended up in his lunch box. By firing into the air from under cover of bushes, we found we could simulate a rather pleasing heavenly shower of maggots coming in from all directions. How we laughed. Geoff takes a bite of sandwich. He eats a maggot. Laughter turns to screams of horror and retching. We legged it, trying to hold onto our breakfasts.

Clicky for the explosive end to this tale of mirth and woe.

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