Monday, February 25, 2013

A F.I.S.H. Tale From On High, by Don A. McKay

On a recent Friday afternoon, the Lord and some of his Joint Chief Angels were sitting around during their weekly T.G.I.F. meeting where they hashed over the week’s events down on Earth.  The Lord likes to have these semi-informal rap sessions, where He can get both a debriefing and a consensus discussion on how to proceed on the seemingly endless holes the earthlings seem to dig for themselves.

They took turns around the table, reporting on the events of the week, which included some heated discussion on Iraq and even some talk about the hurricanes.  Then Florian, a junior staff member, whose area of responsibility as a beginner was to watch over social foibles, spoke up as his turn came around.

“My Lord, and honorable staff members,” he said, “I must report on a strange event that is unfolding down in the State of Alaska.”

“What, again?” said the Lord, remembering the many crises in that most beautiful of states.  “What are they up to this time?”

 “A most preposterous confrontation, indeed, my Lord,” said Florian, thumbing through his notes.  “They are fighting over fish.”

The Lord cocked an eyebrow.  “Ah, I remember.  Which country is it now that is invading the offshore stocks?”

“It is not as before, Your Holiness,” said Florian.  “They are fighting among themselves, like hyenas over carrion, like shoppers at a January 2nd discount sale.”  Florian was warming to his subject.  The group looked at him expectantly, so he continued. “It seems the worm is turning, if you will pardon an earthly expression. Those who seek the fish for recreation have traditionally been allowed only two percent of the total and are now seeking five percent.  And those who harvest the fish for profit have been allowed 98% until this confrontation.”

The Lord, who has considerable experience in these matters, wanted to get to the bottom of the controversy and not spend all afternoon on one subject, for there were many other weighty issues to be dealt with.  He asked Florian who it was that legally owned the fish and how many fisherpeople were seeking them.

Florian punched in numbers on his laptop.  “Well, Your Holiness, that is what is preposterous.  It seems that there are about 200,000 resident earthlings seeking the fish for recreation, not counting those who come from afar as visitors, which is another 100,000.  And on the other side, the ones who are getting 98%, there are about 1500 earthlings who are seeking the fish for profit.”

“Verily,” said the Lord.  “A most indefensible position.  But, again, I ask, to whom did I give dominion over these fish?”

 “The fish are owned by the people of the state of Alaska,” said Florian, looking up from the computer screen.

“Then, what is the problem?” said the Lord, cutting to the chase.  “The situation is patently obvious.  The percentages should be reversed entirely to be just and fair.  Who are these folks and how has this inequity developed?”

“Through custom,” Florian answered.  “Custom and politics.  And as I said, My Lord, it seems the winds of change are freshening.”

There was a murmuring among the staff members and after a few moments, Aloysious, the senior spokesman, stood and addressed the group.

“With your permission, Your Eminence, I must confess to a certain frustration with some of our subjects below.  Do they not know of the Doctrine of Fairness?  Are they blind to the potential backlash of their greed?  And can they not see that to fight on such a small battlefield, they may well lose the war?  I fear we must intercede.”  He paused for reaction.

“But who can do it?”  said Florian.  “He must be strong and effective in order to clear such foggy minds, to reprogram the many years of bloat and arrogance.”

The Lord interjected as Chair of the meeting. “I thought briefly about contracting with the Fallen One for such a challenge, for even with his evil ways, he still has been an effective influence upon mankind.  But upon reflection, I sadly fear that he has already been there doing his work.  We shall put out a call for volunteers throughout the Kingdom for one of us to return to Earth to give advice and counsel to the wayward ones with profit motives.  We must seek a counselor angel who can effectively penetrate those with extraordinary cranial thickness and put them on the path of righteousness.  For, even if the Devil made them do it, there is hope for their salvation.”

He smiled at his group and it was good.

 Don McKay lives with his wife in their home on the Kenai River in Soldotna.  He says he wrote this satire after a particularly acrimonious series of meetings during the bi-annual  Alaska Fish Board hearings regarding Cook Inlet several years ago, a time when both the commercial fishing segment and the sport fishing constituents each proposed regulation changes allowing more harvest allocation for Cook Inlet salmon. 

When not chasing his twin muses of sport fishing or creative writing, he spends the remainder of his free time earning a living as an owner/broker of his real estate company, McKay Investment Co.  He has written two books to date, a memoir “Life in the Crass Lane” and a 500 page epistle outlining their experiences and observations during their 14 years of living in Alaska, called “Footloose in Alaska.”

Looking for a publishing venue? Submit your original prose or poetry (800 words or less) to Alaska Shorts.  

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