E I G H T

38 4 0

OCTOBER 12TH

Days after Misha's Flight

To the right was a large fish tank.  It pervaded the silence with its mild humming. Mr. Blum was washing his hands in the bathroom across the hall, meticulously, vigorously, as if he were preparing to do surgery. 

Mr. Goode had meanwhile found himself immersed in the electric-blue backlit waters, bursting with flavorful corals and seaweed.  He watched the fish.  They were live, real fish, of all shapes and colors. Mr. Goode was captivated by their nature.  Their beady eyes darted about as their bodies weaved, slowing for a moment to survey, and then darting off in an entirely different course. 

He marveled at these creatures with seemingly no direction, living from moment to moment, eyes and minds fixated solely on the here and now.  Mr. Goode pressed his fingers against the cold glass. 

"What do you think the fish see when they look beyond the glass?" asked Mr. Blum. He had snuck up behind him.  Mr. Goode struggled to find an answer.  "Do they know they're being held in captivity?"

"I don't know," Mr. Goode gave a dismissive chuckle.  "Fish have such small brains."

"I just fed those guys," Mr. Blum started as he sat down in his armchair.  He lit a cigarette, yielding a slight gesture to Mr. Goode to have one.  He accepted.  "Fish are so grateful when they are fed. But once they are fed, not seconds later, they flee from the hand that feeds them. All these damn things think about is surviving, they don't care anything about the world we live in, and how it affects them.  They just...live the way they know how."

"Fish don't seem like very fun pets, then," offered Mr. Goode.

"I suppose not."  He blew a great smoke cloud.  "Misha loved the things.  She was a conservationist, you know.  So every green thing and critter she just had to save.  She wanted them to have their own wild habitats, she didn't believe in captivity. The fish she kept for herself, though."

"Why?"

"Perspective.  She said it was something about looking at those fish.  I never understood it.  Maybe that was the problem with us." 

"Trapped in a glass box," whispered Mr. Goode. "Everyone can see it but you."

Northland ✔️Where stories live. Discover now