Being Drafted: A Fish’s Tale

If you’re up for a swim and a fanciful tale, imagine if you will a large fish that leaves the safety of a small placid pond to pursue a dream of finding her place in the wonders of a magnificent ocean vast and unknown to her. With a confident flip of her tail the fish swims off to find her destiny, excitedly zipping through the plankton and skipping over the shrimp, until after a lengthy journey, she reaches the deep and splendidly blue waters of the Sea of BCB.

“I’ve finally arrived!” she says to herself, while happily blowing bubbles and fanning her fins. “This is going to be fantastic!” Suddenly, in a startling flash of red, brown, and green, an impressive stingray whips past the fish, flipping her one, two, three times head over fin. “Wow, I never saw THAT coming!” she thinks upon righting herself. Then turning, she spies many other magnificent and colorful creatures speeding toward her. Gaping in awe, and bobbing a bit nervously, the fish notices feeling much smaller than she did in the pond.

Not that the fish fancied herself a Chicken of the Sea, but while swimming in the smaller waters of the pond, she had grown swift and strong with a fin up over many of herring and mackerel.

But upon entering BCB waters, the tides change. The fish now marvels at the sea of stealthy predators: an electric eel that darts in and out of the most precarious spaces; a giant squid with long reaching tentacles that snatches up any new and unsuspecting fish and flings it far into the ocean’s depths. And of course, there are sharks. Instead of swimming wherever she pleases, the fish finds herself prey to the hard-hitting hammerheads that try to pummel her into fish sticks. And often, just as she breaks free from the snapping jaws at her backside, the other sharks circle to the front and swallow her back into the school where they knock her around some more.

Fortunately, this is a hearty fish and the kind that refuses to be fileted without a fight and so she survives and even starts to flourish as the months progress. And then, after a summer of swimming on the high seas, a very special evening arrives. It’s the night in the Sea of BCB where those fresh to the waters have the chance of being chosen to officially enter into one of four rival and coveted schools. If she were a puffer fish, she would surely blow up and burst from the anticipation, but instead the fish waits with “baited” breath, wishing with every scale on her body to be reeled in with the other fresh catch. Finally, with a giant clap of a wave and a shimmery spray of sea, a strong and formidable mermaid with blonde flowing locks calls out to the fish. “Congratulations! You’ve been netted!” Flooded with joy and elated to the gills, the fish swims over to her new school, who welcome her with a giant white seashell containing the finest red and blue pearls.

The fish rides the crest of the wave, excited for each roar of the ocean. She loves being part of her school and eagerly gobbles up every tasty minnow of advice on ways to trap the pink fish, and the red fish, and the black fish into dizzying whirlpools or how to send them flopping onto the BCB shores. And she carefully studies the ways of the eels, sharks, and stingrays, looking to emulate their sleek and deadly moves.

The tides move in and out, and at times she flounders like a goldfish among the piranhas. But the fish sets her hooks on making big waves and commits to working her boney tail off until she grows into a barracuda and becomes the best catch of 2015.

-Pariah Carey

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