Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Waterpumps

Jerry hated mosquitoes.

He hated their needlely faces.

Each had a spindly body shaped like the letter M, which was Jerry's least favorite letter.

And it was his blood to do with what he liked, dammit.

A huge pump thumped, thudded and rattled next to him. Each tubercular cough sent greasy puffs of diesel exhaust into the air. Jerry nodded as he watched them drift across his lawn and imagined them lowering the average life expectency of any mosquito in its path. He sucked down a gin and tonic with extra quinine as he watched the pond behind his house lower and lower. The hose of the pump snaked from the pond to a tanker truck.

"This should take care of all of those mosquito eggs," he said.

As the level of water in the pond lowered, it revealed a scene at once bizarre and entirely mundane. The first thing that Jerry saw was a bright green dome that turned out to be the head and neck of a fishman. As the pump continued to work, it showed that the fishman sat on an old, water-logged couch, with a wine glass full of algae in front of him on a flat rock.

The fishman stared at Jerry and Jerry stared at the fishman, even as the end of the hose slurped and gurgled as it ran out of anything to pump but the viscous mud below the pond.

"Can I help you?" the fishman said, his heavy fish-brows furrowed.

"Yes, you can start by getting out of my pond," Jerry said.

The fishman's mouth gaped, but Jerry wasn't sure if that signified anything.

"Your pond? Excuse me, you have just busted into my living room and ruined a lovely afternoon."

Jerry flicked the switch on the pump, and it chugged to a stop.

"No, you ruined my afternoon. I go to suck this pond up and I find that I've a trespasser."

"And how long have I been a trespasser?" the fishman asked.

"I don't know, how long have you been living in my pond?" Jerry replied.

"How long have you owned this pond? And that house?" the fishman asked.

"A year," Jerry said.

"I've been here for six years and this is the first time that somebody has had the brass gills necessary to destroy my home. I'll expect you to return my water at once."

"My name is on the deed to this property, bub," Jerry said. "I'm going to go eat dinner and wait for the truck driver to come back. You get gone before I get back, or I'm going to go find my fishing pole and take care of you myself."

Jerry stomped inside and midway through dinner, he heard the pump start up.

"That damn fishman!" he said, hurling his napkin into his tomato soup. He stormed outside.

The pump was silent, wrapped in its hoses like a cocoon. The truck driver had started the truck. Jerry looked around for the fishman, but didn't see him anywhere. He signed the paperwork for the truck driver, who trundled off down the street.

That night, before bed, Jerry pulled out a pair of night vision goggles and surveyed the pond. No sign of the fishman. Satisfied, he drifted off into a pleasant dream where he was on a boat out to sea, floating in an ocean of salt water inhospitable to mosquito larvae. He awoke, swung his legs over the side of the bed and felt twin splashes as they hit water.

As he shook the sleep from his head, he realized that he heard the rumble of the pump. And he smelled the earthy tang of diesel exhaust. As he got up, he tripped over the hose that had been strung through his bedroom window, along the hallway, and into the living room. The hose spat pond water onto his shag carpet.

The fishman sat on Jerry's couch with a smug grin on his fishy face.

Jerry's eyes bulged.

"Mosquito eggs...all over my carpet," he said, his mouth flopping open and closed like that of the fishman.

"No, when I tried to turn on the pump, it was clogged with something. I open it up and suddenly I find the entire contents of my pantry. I ate all of that," the fishman said, patting his belly with a fin.

"You mean, you eat mosquito eggs?" Jerry said.

"Sure," the fishman said.

The Moral: fishmen are the solution to most home & garden problems

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