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So anyway, I wake up this morning and my girlfriend Sarah - or Rhubarb Celestial as she sometimes prefers to be called - asks me about a fish. I was understandably baffled as you might expect, as no fish immediately sprung to mind. She then went on to tell me that she didn't think I'd remember, and that I had woken her at about 2:30am with a bizarre conversation, which she was kind enough to type up for me below.

YAHTZEE: Aha, that wasn't so tough.

ME: (just woken up) Wha?

YZ: You caught it then.

ME: Huh?

YZ: Jim.

ME: What?

YZ: The fish.

ME: (interested now) Jim the fish?

YZ: Looked like a fish.

ME: What?

YZ: Mmm...

ME: (poking him) Where was the fish?

YZ: (says nothing)

ME: WHAT fish?

YZ: 'M tired... (rolls over, goes to sleep on my side of the pillow from which it takes some effort to move him)

(I rest for a bit, wonder if he was talking in his sleep, despite his eyes having been open. Decide to wake him up properly and confront him with the whole incident)

ME: (shaking him) You awake?

YZ: Hmm?

ME: Tell me about the fish.

YZ: Mm... was blue.

ME: Where was it?

YZ: You were carrying it.


YZ: In your hair.

ME: You're not making any sense.

YZ: (hugs me, falls unconscious)

Now, I found this all rather fascinating, as I'm sure you do by the revelation that I sleep with a girl. But I have absolutely no memory of the discourse and can remember no dreams involving blue fish hair accessories called Jim. I did think one thing, however. I thought 'Ah, that's Friday's article sorted'. So here's a nice little short story inspired by this discourse. And in keeping with last week's feature being written in the style of Shakespeare, this week's will be written in the style of popular fairy tales.


Once upon a time there was a kingdom in a faraway land called Diphtheria. Diphtheria was once a happy place where the sun shone and children capered gleefully through the streets, holding hands and singing merry little songs while their doting mothers watched from doorways while wearing those pinnies mothers always wear in this genre.

But now Diphtheria was a bad place to live, for it had been taken over by a cruel and callous king who enforced his harsh laws with the help of his best warrior: Jim the Fish. Jim was a blue creature who wasn't actually a fish, but just looked sufficiently like one to justify the nickname Jim the Fish. He was a savage beast, whose orders were to go out and randomly eat one child every twelve hours . No children could go out holding hands while singing merry songs now, for the fear that they would one day be taken by the vile Jim the Fish.

Artist's conception of Jim the Fish

One day a local adventurer and urban hero called Staphylococcus, or Staph for short, decided enough was enough. He dressed up cunningly in a small child disguise - school uniform and blusher - and capered around the deserted streets while singing a song that only seemed to incorporate the word 'la', repeated many times at various different pitches. Eventually, as was inevitable, Jim the Fish arrived, slavering mouth open to reveal his yellow fangs.

"Raar," commented Jim. "I am Jim the Fish and I'm going to eat you!"

"Fine," said Staph, sighing theatrically. "But before you do, I just want to ask you one question."

"Okaaay," said Jim, but warily, for he had been tricked before, not being the most intelligent of slobbering rampaging imitation piscines.

"If you're a fish, then how can you breathe outside of water?"

There was a telling pause, during which Jim and Staph looked at each other. Then, Jim made a funny little croaking sound, clutching at his gills. "Can't - breathe -" he hissed.

"Quickly, jump into this enormous vat of water I conveniently decided to bring with me!" said Staph. Jim nodded, and immediately leapt into the vat. Unfortunately he didn't notice that the vat was more a sort of cooking pot affair sitting on a rather hot fire, and that it contained not water but soy sauce.

"Aha, that wasn't so tough!" said Staph triumphantly, as citizens clamoured round the Jim stew ready to eat the poor bugger.

"You caught him, then?" said Staph's cute girlfriend later on.

"Yuppers," said Staph. "And I saved his little fish skull. You can wear it in your hair to remind all fish-like monsters that they'd better not mess with the citizens of Diphtheria!"

Then they overthrew the evil king and lived happily ever after.

The end.


Copyright (c) 2000-2002 Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
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