born to swim
I've had a hard life. Born different and everyone knew it. It's hard to hide having webbed hands when you're in school. And it was even harder to hide my webbed feet once we began swimming lessons and everyone could see them in the open. Then they got mad when I swam laps around them.
They'd call me frog boy and throw frogspawn at me in the spring. Kid's can be so cruel but teenagers are even worse. Frog spawn evolved into live toads being hurled at me and when I was 15 they even started poking fun at my name.
You see I wasn't only cursed with different hands and feet but also my name was open to mockery. My name is Peter Pearson and the kids would call me PePe and say shit like "Hey look its the rapper lil PP hoppin through!" before launching a toad or a frog at me. Many pepe memes were made about me and stuck to my locker. Life was hell.
I dread to think how many toads died just because I existed. All the above torment and the onset of puberty turned me into a bitter teenager. I would go to the ocean which was nearby and throw rocks at it in an angry rage but they would always just skim off its surface. Nothing phased the ocean, it is an impossible and deep force that cannot be stopped or assaulted by one teenage boy alone.
I would never beat it. But I must have some kind of revenge on the place everyone thinks I am from. The water. It's the waters fault I am like this, I know it. When my mother was giving birth to me she opted to have a water birth at home whilst watching the movie 'splash' to calm herself and I kinda blame that for how I ended up like this.
If I couldn't beat the ocean then how could I get my revenge? How could I vent all this hatred that had been beaten into me throughout my life? I hatched a plan.
A couple of miles away was a carp farm. Thousands, maybe millions of carp were raised there for human consumption in these little pens in a large lake. I cycled up there one evening with the intention of sabotaging the filtration system and massacring them all. They would feel every minute of pain I had felt. These children of water, these bastard fish brethren I blamed for my own problems.
Cresting a hill nearby, I took out my binoculars and scanned the area. The place was fenced off with razor wire and I could see a guard sat in his little hut by the entrance watching Robocop on a tiny TV.
But as I scanned further I saw how I could enter. There was a drainage stream leading away from the lake, allowing a steady flow of water to flow through the farm.
I dismounted my bike, walked downhill, undressed and dived into the water and began swimming upstream. The water was filled with fish shit, old food, dead scales and chemicals used to keep the fish healthy. I waded through this, upstream, becoming increasingly angry.
It wasn't long before I made it to the top and over, into the lake and towards the carp farm. I slipped into the netting and I was suddenly surrounded by thousands of carps. They were crammed in like sardines (pun intended btw) and looked panicked. All of them desperate to escape the prison they lived in knowing there was more to life beyond it. And all the anger from me went. I could only feel pity for these creatures. Much like me they were just trying to live their life, confused by the confines of their cages like I was confused by the confines of the society I had been born into.
I no longer wanted to kill them. I wanted to free them, to give them a chance I never could have out there in the big wide world. I cut the nets that controlled them, allowing them to escape. I watched and howled
"Be free my brothers! Go forth and live your little fishy lives. I love you all!" Totally elated.
Maybe this will make up for all the frogs that have died from impacting against my pathetic little existence. The fish followed the current downstream, following the way I had entered into the farm. When I was sure most had escaped, I swam out the way I came in and found my bike and peddled home. That night I slept better than I had for years, I felt like a hero.
The next day I walked into the kitchen feeling like a man. My mother had made me toast and I sat down with a smile on my face at the kitchen table. I took a bite and flicked the TV onto the news.
"..Sad sight here at the beach" The news reporter said over the image of thousands of dead carps lapping against the shore.
"Hundreds of Thousands of fresh water carp have died after eco terrorists slashed their nets in the local carp farm last night. The fish having nowhere to go but downstream ended up in the ocean where they couldn't survive. May god have mercy on the people who have done this."
I'm frozen in shock as warm butter drips from the toast I'm holding into my palm and it feels like blood.