It all started one fateful day after school. I had just gotten home, and as I headed to the kitchen to make myself a snack, I spotted him.
“Mom, why is there a grizzled old fisherman sitting at the kitchen table?” I asked.
My mom turned to face the table. She locked eyes with the fisherman and gave him a slight nod. “What fisherman?” she replied. And so it began; the year of my family pretending not to notice the fisherman living in our house.
At first, it wasn’t so bad. “Hey Brendan,” my friends would say, “why is there a fisherman riding on your bike handlebars?”
“That’s a good question,” I’d reply. “That’s a really good question.” I’d turn to the fisherman. “Hey fisherman,” I’d say. “Why are you on my handlebars?” The fisherman would gaze into the distance, pretending not to hear.
He smelled so bad, like rotting salmon. I couldn’t believe that one man could emit such a rancid stench. It was particularly noticeable at nighttime, because he slept in my bed.
“Dad,” I’d say. “Why is this fisherman sleeping in my bed?”
My dad would glance over at my bed. “What fisherman?” he’d cough. He could barely tolerate the fisherman’s odour. It seemed that his smell was worsening with each day. Presumably because he refused to bathe.
Sometimes, the fisherman had nightmares. He’d wake up screaming, grab his fishing rod, and bolt outside. I usually ignored him, but one night I decided to follow him.
I pursued the fisherman all the way to town. Damn, he was fast. It took me a while to realise that he was rollerblading. Where did he get rollerblades? When did he put them on? Had he worn them to bed?
No time to think. I was losing him.
Finally, the fisherman stopped in the middle of a field. I hid behind a tree, watching intently. Slowly, the fisherman raised his fishing rod to the sky. A beam of light shot forth, piercing the black night and extending to the heavens. The fisherman then began to rise upward. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was levitating, ascending into the sky.
I darted out into the field. “Wait!” I screamed. “What does this all mean?”
The fisherman gazed down, rising higher with each passing second. “Brendan,” his voice boomed.
I held my breath nervously. His voice was immensely powerful. “Yes?” I replied faintly. He held out his arms, as if about to impart the secrets of the universe.
“It’s all about the fish, baby,” he proclaimed. With that, he shot up into the sky, gone forever.