Poor Gus


There once was a man with a fish on his head. You need read no more, for I can tell you now the fish is dead.

The fish had lived a normal life swimming and gliding and eating stale bread.
For this fish, like others, lived in a pond that lived in a park in an ordinary suburb.
People would come with their leftover crusts to keep from the pigeons but feed to the ducks.

When ducks and moorhens gobbled and pecked,
crumbs would float down to the murky depths.
By then the crumbs would be so soft that this fish would just open up and ingest the whole lot.
This fish though normal had extraordinary luck for out of these depths he once was plucked.
He was rescued from darkness, stale bread and mud to a world of light, air, sound and hugs.

The man plonked the fish on his head and the fish looked round and started to retch

For he saw the mould on the bread that children throw down and once he had eat.

Now he could see flies, midgies and gnats and he started to eat them like a ravenous bat.

The man looked quite casual as he strolled out the park, with his fleshy crown, a shiny wet carp.

People looked strangely and couldn't work out if this fish were a dummy or a genuine trout.
But then the fish with remarkable ease spread out his fins to flap in the breeze.
This caused the people to gape and to gasp and as they got nearer they could hear the fish rasp
For the poor dear was unused to breathing our air, but with a little effort he acquired the flair,
of breathing in and out through his mouth instead of his gills which lay dormant and flat.

People thought the man awfully cruel to take this poor fish and to sit on a stool
He sat by a bus stop not waiting for a bus, but merrily sitting with the fish he called Gus.

Gus didn't know why he was there but he found it quite comfy in the man's thick brown hair.
Now he was out he had lots of time to think of all things while the world passed him by.
He no longer had to fight for the crumbs, a handful of insects filled him right up till lunch.

So why you may ask, did this fish survive, well it's simple really, he liked being alive.
And so he made life his principal pursuit and whatever life gave him he ate up like fruit.
There are however forces beyond even the determination of this fish from the pond.
For after 10 months of the man and his fish, sitting on their stool in perfect bliss.
The protesters came in fear for Gus, they thought it cruel to keep hold of him thus.
They thought the fish must be in dreadful pain for fish need more water than can fall in the rain.
Gus couldn't tell them that he was really quite fine for these protestors shouted most all of the time.
They didn't hear the fish's lament, he wanted to stay here with his hairy friend.
The man bless his socks stood on his stool so they couldn't reach Gus and return him to the pool.
He eluded the mob for several days until they came with a handful of spades.
They dug out the ground underneath the man making the stool sink till he was level with them.
Then they decided enough was enough and if the man didn't release Gus they'd have to get tough.
They grabbed for the fish, who struggled and squirmed for he was fine on his perch, why hadn't they learned.
The protestors saw the fish's brave struggle as a sign of his torture, his waterless hell.
They didn't listen to the man who knew, "He's only struggling to get away from you".
They thought they knew better, they thought they were good, saving the fish in their small neighbourhood.
And so they accelerated Gus's demise with clammy fingers and a gleam in their eyes.
They grabbed the fish when they'd had enough and marched and ran and treated him rough.
They squeezed when he squirmed for they knew they were right, the fish didn't like air and was wriggling with fright.
It's true indeed that Gus was scared but for his demise he was not prepared.
The shock of the water enveloped him so, his fins froze stony and his lungs ceased to go.
He couldn't move with the watery mass crushing his body like a ton of grass.
And so he slowly sank to the floor where he found he couldn't fight anymore.
He no longer had enough will to exist in a world where people dictated like this.
So he died and was covered in crumbs, which fell on him daily from the wasteful swans.
And there for a moment he dreamed of the time, he was out in the open where the sun made him shine.

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©MMXX James Wordsworth