Something’s Fishy

This excellent tall tale first appeared on alt.callahans. It is by Sam Voeller.

1 July 2002

For the past few days, a song my maternal grandfather used to sing has been running through my mind. It has to do with a momma fish and her baby fishes swimming around and making their way over an obstacle. There is a line of nonsense (sort of akin to jazz scat, maybe), that my mind has perverted, and now needs to create a shaggy-dog story leading up to it.

Here it goes:

Maggie was a doting mother of five. Just because she was a fish, and her children were fish, didn’t mean a thing. She was strict, home schooled them, and they grew up to be a tight-knit family. Maggie came from the “bad side of the reef” as they say, and her ties were to organized crime. She used her connections for the good of the river, and kept an ear out for things that could be a threat to her family and environment.

Her children grew up learning certain skills that would come in handy. Chet became an expert in explosives. Jerry learned about firearms, Bert studied electronics, Adam mastered the art of disguise, and little Rosie was an ace at breaking and entering, and she could open a safe faster than you could say “Sunkist.” Maggie used her skills at forging documents to support the family until the children were old enough to make some money in their chosen fields.

Over the course of time, they developed little patterns, sort of a celebration routine when a job came to a successful end. All of the fishes enjoyed chewing tobacco, and upon completion of whatever they were working on, they would indulge in a wad of chaw .

Maggie learned of a plan that would spoil their idyllic life: Senator Jones planned to dam the river with a hydroelectric dam. Maggie could just imagine the impact that would have on her little family: it would limit their range, thus, maybe making escapes less available, the noise would be constant and awful, and it would change the nature of her little piece of river, creating a lake where maybe some really big fish would come and take over her and her family’s little business.

She talked to her children about the problem, and they realized the only option was to eliminate Senator Jones before he could get any further with his plans. After several days of brainstorming, they had an idea of how they’d work it.

Adam disguised himself as an engineer, and made an appointment with Senator Jones to come to the river and discuss the project. Chet rigged a bomb that would go off when Jerry shot the detonator. Rosie would use the time the Senator met with Adam to break into his office, leave a falsified environmental impact study (prepared by Maggie, of course) guaranteed to keep the dam from being built. Bert created a communications system so they could keep in touch during all phases of the action.

The plan worked like a charm. Adam had no trouble luring the Senator to the place they had picked out. Jerry’s marksfishship was proven when he placed a perfect shot to the detonator. Chet’s expertise was in no doubt as the ledge the Senator was standing on gave way due to the explosive charge under it. Rosie reported no problems getting into the office and leaving the faked environmental report. Adam jumped into the river and shed his disguise, and when the clothing washed up, the police investigators thought that meant the engineer had also perished in the “freak accident.”

As the family met up for their traditional celebration of another successful job, the event was summed up thusly:

Boom! Boom! Get ’em? Got em! Wad ’em , chew!

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