A golden fish (part II)

3. Side-effects of unlimited wish-fulfillment may include moral nausea in some

Husband and wife followed the meal with a night’s uncomfortable sleep. When the pink sun spit up day, both awoke in their hard little bed. The fisherman stretched, got to his feet.

“How sick I still feel,” he said. “I wish my belly would quit its caterwauling,” and he gently rubbed his stomach.

“It’s the same with me,” said wife. “As if I drank a gallon of motor oil.”

After a few seconds, the man cried out. “Hold on! Now it’s gone – just like that! Miraculous.” He shook his head in wonder. “Try wishing, and rub your belly.”

The fisherwoman did thus, and lo – her discomfort also vanished. Immediately she felt rosy-cheeked and mirthful. “What joy!” she exclaimed. “We are into the wishes! It did not lie, that darling pervert of a fish.”

And so they began their long, lavish watercourse of wish-making and wish-getting. No longer ever wanting for delectable meats, vegetables, breads, desserts. Their home morphed into mansion, with servants to match… And all was merry and bright.

Time moseyed along. Fisherman and wife grew plump on foodstuffs and luxurious nonwork. But after several years the woman grew anxious. Her wishing slowed. One day, upon waking, she looked out at the sea and saw it frothing blackly. In bed she turned to husband.

“We are in for it,” she said. “Too much good has come our way – too many fat ducks, too many marble staircases, too much money. God is keeping track. God or the Universe. Mark my words… we’ll soon be punished for our endless greed.”

“Nonsense and poppycock,” the man replied. “You worry too much, woman. Let’s ring the maid for blueberry waffles and whip cream.”

He summoned a domestic and ordered, but fisherwife rolled on rubbery hips to the farthest bed corner, shrinking from further decadent breakfasts.


4. Swimming birds know all about justice

The wife had foreboding nibbling on her bones like microscopic piranha. She sensed some deep falsity in old magic fish’s promise. She thought about selfishness and balance and luck, and licked her drying lips. She sat in a chair by the bedroom window all day, nervously watching waves roll into coils each time more obsidian.

Dear husband was unplagued by supposed God or Universe ticklings. The golden fish had given its word. So his day was golfing, bowling, seafood-wine lunch. When he returned home and saw his spouse still sitting there, he rolled his eyeballs around in their sockets.

“Stop stewing, missus! You’re wasting our great gift.”

She couldn’t stop, though. More time passed. Doubt festered in her, an infected sore. She’d quit wishing weeks before, but followed the fisherman’s fulfilled demands with dread. Soon ulcers quite pained the lady. Colitis, shingles… liver cancer. Within three months, the poor woman was sniffing posies in deadland.

The man missed her, and he mourned. He mourned in black silk pajamas for three days. Rising on the fourth day, he changed into a pair of cream linen pants and a cool linen top smeared with blue begonias and red day-lilies, and rode to town, new-companion-seeking. Using nary a wish, but with his coinage flashing, fisherman found her lickity-split: a festive, smooth-skinned beauty thirty-two years his junior. They were married that very next week, and lived happily ever after.

~ by kingzoko on December 28, 2015.

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