And, to be honest, it seemed kind of boring. I hadn't seen Max for a few days, he'd said something about "wanting to see other blogs", whatever that meant. So I'd gone out for coffee. Don't get me wrong, of course, it was nice to get up in the morning and live without fear. For instance, I could shower without the fear of Max - desiring efficiency - having electrified the shower. I looked around the coffee shop, noticing for the first time the rows of fish tanks that filled the back wall. Finishing my coffee, I went for a closer look.
The tanks, varying in size and shape, were all full of typical fish decorations, little divers and gold chests and castles and the like. Full of water, air filters filtered away, little pebbles covered the bottom. But no fish. That was the interesting thing. Intrigued by this obvious flaw in an otherwise flawless display of the life aquatic, I enquired about the fishlessness of the young coffee-server.
Nearby, a newspaper obscured the features of an onlooker. As I enquired about fish, please imagine the camera panning to him. On the word, "fish" the newspaper is quickly pulled down so the onlistener can listen better (As it is commonly known that newspapers impair hearing).
Unseen by me however, the mysterious stranger followed me out. Disappointed that no-one could tell me where the fish were, I planned to go home. I take fish based disappointments hard. At least, I thought I did. But, compared to some people, they bothered me no more than the genocide of strangers bothers people who can't see it.
Following me into a nearby alley, the stranger quickly covered the distance between us.
"So," He called out, "Coming into the cafe like you're the big fish around here, aren't we?"
I paused. I wasn't sure if that was a rhetorical question or not. I wasn't even sure what he meant.
"Wanting to make a big splash, weren't we?" He enquired further.
Clearly, he wanted an answer. Furthermore, I assumed he was one of those people who used "we" as an impersonal pronoun when addressing someone else. Or maybe not, I'm not entirely sure I remember what a personal pronoun is properly. But you get the idea. He certainly didn't mean "we" in the sense I would use it anyway. I certainly had no intention of going 'round, making splashes with this man.
He had picked me up now, gripping my collar with two Popeye-sized fists and holding me to the wall.
I decided to reply. Cliches seemed appropriate:
"I have no idea what you're talking about!" I replied. Well, kinda squealed. In a manly way, of course.
"Really? So I suppose we just 'happened' to wonder where the fish were, while we were enjoying our morning coffee. Perhaps we have nothing to do the biggest fish kidnap this century!"
He looked rather smug now, as if he'd made and proved a point at me. Well, maybe he had. I still didn't really know what was happening. I struggled on, speaking as articulately as possible, in the form of cliched, made-for-TV dialogues:
"So, you're saying someone kidnapped the fish. I'm innocent. Innocent, I tells you!"
"Hmm, maybe so. We don't look like the fish-kidnapping sort, do we? We look more like a wet fish!"
His use of 'we' was getting annoying now, as was his use of fish-related phrases. But he was a big guy, so I tried to keep him calm.
"Who are you anyway?" I asked.
"Isn't it obvious?" He replied. "I'm the marine biologist."
I paused, taking a look at the bulging muscles on the man, the crew-cut, the tank-top.
"When you say 'marine biologist'?..." I hesitantly asked.
"Well..." He replied. "I'm a biologist. I'm also in the marines."
Yes. It was pretty obvious now he pointed it out. Of course, I could have taken him down there and then. You know, if he fell and concussed himself, I could have taken him no problem. Instead, I decided to spare him and play along. He sent me home. He told me he'd be in touch soon. Someone had to deliver the ransom, then he'd get the puffer fish, he said. I think 'puffer fish' was an insulting term for the kidnappers, but I don't really know. I went home.
I miss Max.