Tuesday, September 8, 2009

13: Fish in San Francisco's Chinatown Wants to Catch Cable Car, Swim Back to Beach

California coast in April of 2007


Undated, unpublished satire, by Lurene Helzer, Probably sometime in mid 1990s, regards scene in San Francisco’s Chinatown at a small grocery. The scene involves a fish being loaded into a box. He falls to pavement. I ask where the fish thought he was going in life:

I was walking through The City a few days ago. I came into Chinatown. A couple of Chinese grocers were loading some fish from cardboard boxes into plastic containers. There must have been about 30 fish stacked up there. Fish are Fools! They have no idea they are going to be at any moment mere decoration in a Chinatown storefront, with their blue eyes staring at passing Chinese ladies with plastic shopping bags.

Anyway, two Chinese guys were slapping them from cardboard box to plastic box, cardboard box to plastic box, and so on. One of the guys had a cigarette hanging from his mouth. A fish, who had somehow managed to survive the journey from the ocean to the store, wriggled out of the man’s hand and slapped himself down to the pavement. There he was: gaFlop gaFlop gaFlop.

The merchant picked up the fish and threw him like a slimy washcloth into the plastic bin with the other fish.

The question struck me suddenly: “Where did that fish think he was going? Did he think he was going to catch a cable car back to the beach or something?”

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