The Life of Roy

Roy was a fish.

I say was, because Roy is dead.

Roy is a dead fish.

This isn’t gonna be some sad story about some cute little fish, fighting in the big bad ocean and trying to overcome the odds while meeting new friends and learning life lessons along the way. Roy wasn’t Nemo. This isn’t Pixar. And most coral reefs aren’t friendly places.

Fish are murdered all the time out here. Just last week, twenty of my brothers were picked off by dolphins—hell, I ate some perfectly congenial plankton this morning. If you can’t get the friendly neighborhood of that cute clownfish out of your head, picture New York City—except with endemic and merciless cannibalism. Such is life in the ocean.

Don’t get me wrong; it can also be a beautiful life. Sometimes, I find myself awestruck by the beauty within our community—and I’ve lived here my whole life. We have fish of all shapes and sizes. Some of such astounding beauty, they look like angels floating on a breeze. All day long, you can watch schools of silver fish reflect the sun in a dazzling light show as they practice formations. Seahorse graze the kelp fields while resting between races at the track. At night, crustaceans and cephalopods troll the streets below, peddling goods in vibrant (albeit dangerous) bazaars. Professional Crab Boxers come from all over to exchange blows in our arena every weekend. And in the morning, the rays of sunlight that penetrate to the floor are like heavenly spotlights streaking the sky—You know, the more I think of the breath-taking beauty and vitality of my reef, the more I’m reminded of Roy.

Roy was the antithesis of beauty and vitality. He was a pale grey Gobi fish—the kind of fish your fishermen use to catch the bigger, better fish. He wasn’t too bright, he had a shit-job, and he was constantly on edge with worry.

Roy is a dead, ugly, insignificant fish.

So why am I telling you this story? I mean, who wants to hear about one insignificant fish death out of the bazillion that happen each week?

Well, if Roy was insignificant in life, he sure as hell got significant in death. It’s funny; the one thing he always wanted was to be famous, and now that he’s got fame, he can’t even enjoy his celebrity status. You can’t go anywhere without hearing his name. Everyone is talking about him—and almost everyone is spouting absolute nonsense.

I’m telling you this story to set the record straight. I’m the only fish in the entire ocean who is qualified to tell you what happened because I was there. And despite all the fantastical and heroic stories you may have heard, the actual event of Roy’s death was so anticlimactic, I honestly thought he was just fucking with me. Jesus, the guy even told me exactly what was going to happen before he turned belly-up, but I had no idea what, in God’s name, he was talking about.

You feel like you’re what? What the hell is “drowning?” I was thinking right as his eyes went wide and blank. Only a poor sap like Roy would get famous by dying. Roy had never been the first to do anything, and the one time he was, the fucker killed himself.

This is the story of Roy.

Roy is a famously dead fish.

This is the introduction to a short story I’ve been working on for far too long. I’m hoping that putting it up will force me to get the ball rolling on the rest of the narrative. Let me know your thoughts and thanks for reading!


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