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IDYLLOPUS PRESS : BIG SOFA : Guest Writers : Brien Engel : Interspecies southern gothic girly novella



Interspecies southern gothic girly novella

by Brien Engel

Chapter One

Copyright © 1999 Brien Engel


She's just a catfish, I thought to myself. Catfish. Ugly. Papa always said in this world if I could catch it and eat it it was mine and not to worry about taking a life because from the lord's garden are all manner of fish and fowl and beasts to eat...

Catfish. Papa said catfish were good to eat. I reckon I never fell in love with a catfish before. With a name like Mabel. I said why Mabel and she said that's so I could understand her good enough to learn her real name, the fish one, someday. At the fall farmer market she called from the big washtub they put out and something happened and I had to answer. I couldn't help it. Then she said to grab her and I did. Of course everyone was looking at us weird. But that's usual 'cause whenever I get into talking with the fish and the birds and the flowers everyone says, Gordy (that's Papa) you better do something about him, and things get quiet and everyone looks at me funny. But some things in life you can't rig, just like you're all caught up in the wires and spokes of something turning around and around and you can't stop it 'cause your part of it turning anyway but you don't know why. So it turns and turns and you have to go with it.

So anyway I put Mabel here in this dam she told me how to make up here in the branch. Everone chased us out of the market and she kept saying run, run, and I did. I have a secret way to get to the river but it takes awhile. We had to stop for her to swim a little, and then we ran some more till we got here. She said we have to wade in the branch together and that she would teach me about love. She told me a story about all the oxygen leaving the earth in twenty years and if people like me fall in love with the fish and listen to them like I do they will learn to breath without oxygen. I didn't get it 'cause I learned in school that fish need oxygen too. I said that and you know what she did?

She went, 'wham!' up against my leg on purpose. God, it hurt. She said never to question her like that. But I started to feel all funny inside after she did that, cause after it didn't hurt so bad I was just looking at her and she was just looking at me with these big eyes and something inside said to trust her more than anything else. She was swishing her tail real gently from side to side and I started to cry just then. She said I just have to learn to get along with her kind but that I was special, and only a few of us here are special like me. I started to fall in love with her about then I recall.

to chapter two



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