Because Jameson and Irelynn were only feet away holding their vibrant Superman and Barbie fishing poles, I only half-answered Jessica’s query about the many dead carp littering the shore.
“They get exhausted from fighting the fishermen so when they are thrown back in the shallows where there isn’t as much air in the water they end up… sleeping.”
Which was true, and in retrospect may have been near as scarring as a Disney movie to the obviously eavesdropping five year olds. But I left out the other reason many of the toothy half-skeletons and smelly fly-magnets dotted the muddy and rock-strewn coast of the lake at 3% its high water mark.
No one eats carp.
A waste of time. Muddy fleshed bottom-feeding vegetarians.
People hate catching carp. People are cruel. They tear out hooks and leave carp to sunbathe.
I guess the muddy shore is the shallowest of waters, but I didn’t want those kids thinking of that as they tried to sleep in the wild dark of their tent on the first night of their first camping trip: hot sun on the slick, shiny fish flopping in a decrescendo to stillness in the air its gills could not breathe.
Zebulon Huset is a writer teacher and blogger living in San Diego. His writing has recently appeared (or is forthcoming) in The Southern Review, The New York Quarterly, The North American Review, Harpur Palate, Sugar House Review, Pinyon Review, The Citron Review and The Roanoke Review among others. He publishes a writing blog called Notebooking Daily where he posts writing articles and new writing exercises almost every day. His flash fiction submission guide was reposted at The Review Review.