From “The Lazy Fisherman’s Guide to Hell” (unpublished)
(C) Lee D. Thompson
We had a conversation once. Well, of course we’ve had many, many conversations. In fact, we’ve had countless conversations, the Fish and I (another title for the book!), but some are more memorable than others. I do try to keep a log of these things, but with so little else happening (note: describe toilet services in Hell) it’s hardly necessary. If you encounter someone who tells you they have perfect recall, whether in Hell, or Heaven, or the World of the Living Bored, just know this: they have no life to speak of. Anyway. The conversation would have made a fine opening to our little Hell Pamphlet.
Just Whose Hell is This?
Let me tell you about fish, Leo, our hopes, our desires, our Hagiocracy. Let me tell you about Fondu, the Flatfish.
Christ, I don’t want to hear about Fondu again, Fish.
Leo, your sufferings are but a figment of Fondu’s imagination, so slight are they.
Yeah yeah, do go on, Fish.
So last we heard, Fondu had had a booblip with Joshf, the Fish God, and Joshf smote Fondu hard…
Yes, and thus the flatness…
Do you not want to hear this, Leo?
No no, do go on.
Are you sure?
Fish, really, what else is there to do?
Why there’s plenty, Leo. There’s so much to see in Hell! And you’ve seen nothing!
Islands, islands and more islands, Fish!
Oh, Leo, one day, one day you will appreciate the Beauty.
Fuck, you’re such a hypocrite!
I am not!
You are too!
You don’t know me, Leo.
Oh never mind, go back to Fondu.
Or tell me about the Beauty.
Then go away, Fish.
Whose Hell is this anyway, huh?
What do you mean?
Whose Hell is this, Fish? Fish Hell or Man Hell? I mean…
Huh, I never thought of that.
I mean, am I in the wrong Hell?
Huh, that is a fascinating question.
Is this all some stupid mistake?
Well, are you happy here?
No! Are you?
The Fish thought about this for some time. The sun was setting and we gazed out there. It seemed limitless, a horizon that fell into the other side of the Universe, where the stars slept. Then the Fish breathed deeply, a sighing sob. No, Leo, he said, no Leo I’m not happy here at all.
Yeah… I know.
So, Fondu was smote hard, and…?
Ah, Fondu, poor, poor Fondu…
Even Bottomfeeders Dream of Skyfallen Fishtreats
Fondu fell hard, fell with a wet whack. It’s a nursery rhyme that all fish learn when we are young, when we are but little squiggling fishlets. Is that the right word, Leo? What, squiggling? No, Leo, fishlets, fishlets, are baby fish called fishlets? Well wouldn’t that be up to you fishes? No, there’s another word, Leo. Freshets? No. Minnows? No. Ling. Something lings. You mean like spiderlings. Yes. Hatchlings? No, not hatchlings. But fish hatch from eggs, don’t they? I don’t know, the word hatch, it’s not watery enough. Birthlings? Finlings? It’s right on the tip of my… what do I have in there, Leo? Hmm, open wider… good God! What? What? Make me gag why don’t you? What? Don’t ask that again, not in this heat. What? Bad breath, MacFinn. Oh. But what’s in there? Couldn’t tell. Couldn’t tell? Yeah, my eyes were watering. Oh, funny. It’s a serious question, Leo. Fish, you don’t have a tongue. If you had a tongue you could speak. You’re an ass, Leo. That’s such manocentric view, the need to have a tongue. That’s not a word either, Fish. Did you understand it, Leo? Huh? Yes you did, so don’t deny it. Nestlings? No. Silverlings? Fishlings? Swimlings? Squigglings? No. It’s just kind of flat, Fish. Flat? Yeah, flat, Fish. Oh. Flat. Yes, flat. In there? Yes. Really? Yes. Flat?
And so for eons to come, Fondu was cursed to slurp along the murky bottom. And instead of the Feast of Golden Fishtreats, he had to eat scum and bottomgrunge. And Fondu was never happy, and his misshapen head with its sad, bulbous eyes was always looking Heavenward. Poor Fondu, shunned Fondu, Fallen Angel of Fishdom.