Beautiful Things Below the Sea

Though for him there was no escape from the heavy brand of geekery, Brian “Brain” Jackson considered himself, despite his alphabetically organized music and societally abnormal fascination in fish, to be nearer to the “cool” side of the spectrum than not. For one, he wore his sweater-vests ironically. For two, more than once had an undergrad’s fragile freshman eyes gone wide and round and wet as she or he tried to pull him from the path of propriety, to win his love, his lust, his body, and perhaps a good grade in the lectures he TA’ed. Yet it’s pretty common knowledge that a GPA romance only will carry flirtation so far. There’s got to be a chemical component as well — a bodily attraction that outdistances the scholastic for most college-age youth to try and make bodies hit bed, and to sulk when all goes wrong. What this means is that it was not just for the grades semi-subtle seduction was attempted. Brain, despite it all, was a good looking guy.

This is the truth of it. Maybe you’ve heard some folks say that humans begin to resemble what they work with, just like people begin to look like their spouses, their dogs, or their favorite pair of pants. Yet Brain had loved fish since his first county-fair guppy and he looked no more like a fish than the average proctologist resembles an anus. Sure, he had a swimmer’s build, but a human swimmer’s build, with broad shoulders and thin waist. His complexion was just a few shades past creamy coffee, just a bit darker than his great-grandma Jolissa, who had passed for white, become a Harvey girl and moved the family out West. She had been beautiful, and honestly, so was he, though sometimes that’s not considered a compliment for a modern male. Still, while his looks cemented his popularity in the undergraduate sphere, he’d yet to give his heart to anyone.

The problem with people, he often saw, was that they lacked the proper lateral lines, gills, scales and swim bladders that put fascination in fish. The minds of men may be mystifying; the heads of women, closed books; yet fish are the final frontier of mystery. Fish are a glimpse of a different reality.

What secrets might scientists reveal with a closer inspection of fish lives? It was possible Utopia existed, but that humanity was just moving through the wrong element to discover it. Yet here was Man, the great upright ape, wrecking both land and sea — crushing the opportunity to discover truths humankind’s greatest dreamers could not even begin to form. Yet it was not the destiny of mankind to play Azrael to the planet. The fish would not remain passive to the bitter, bitter end. Someday soon, in a last-ditch effort to spread their perfect politics to the land-swimmers, the fish were going to come to shore.