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Fish Stocks Limited

strong as a thousand men, unearthly and pale, alabaster-white, like a ghost but as
substantial as a hillside.
In that outsize mind that held the music of the spheres, the spirals of the galaxies,
the mysteries of love, the humour of death, the futility of power; in that great mind
that was goodness pisconified, the fish knew that something terrible was brewing. It
knew its progeny were dying. It knew the greed and heartlessness of corporeal men
made corporate. It knew that evil was an anachronism when profit was about. And
above all it knew a miracle must come. That's a lot to lay on a poor fish. It flolloped a
bit in a joyful fashion, but soon it grew tired of flolloping. It hummocked a little, then
whinny-spinned, then undulated profusely until it simply had no undulations left.
These are not practical solutions, granted, but what other weapons are in a fish's
arsenal? It could hardly storm into the Fish Stocks Limited headquarters and demand
satisfaction, now, could it? That would be most unfishlike. It shimmered a little in the
misty currents. Then it did something it perhaps should have done a long time ago. It
closed its sapphire eyes and, with all its animal and transcendental faculties, it prayed.
****
Chapter 20 – The Skeleton
Ambrosius got up early the next morning as the City was waking and packed
some essential belongings into a small backpack. He went directly to the Fish Stocks
Limited building and took two weeks off on holiday. His boss was surprised and a
little bit annoyed that he was taking time off at such short notice, but Ambrosius had
brought in a lot of money for the business and so he acquiesced. Whilst he was there,
Ambrosius had his wages for the past five months made out to him in stock and,
ignoring his boss's raised eyebrow, placed the certificate carefully in his bag. As he
walked through the city streets, Ambrosius felt free; this perturbed him a little – he
had grown accustomed to the mantle of a steady job and missed the rail that had
guided his life for so many months - but still his mood was ebullient. He was going to
get the girl, she would divorce Fathead, he would take her back to t he City and then
he would save the world. It all seemed so simple. It was as if his whole life had been
building up to this. Little memories from childhood flitted back to him. Insults, jokes,
unusual comments, all seemed to make sense. Yes, these two weeks would be the
time of his epiphany.
He reached the edge of town and the great mist dykes loomed into view, filling the
horizon with their oppressive barrier. You can't hold me, Ambrosius thought. It must
be said that his optimism had now well and truly erred into the realms of the foolish;
you don't think stupid little thoughts like that to yourself unless you are a fool. Wise
men are marked by a silence in their heads.
“I'd like to charter a boat,” said Ambrosius at the harbour master's kiosk. The
harbour master, a round, red buoy of a man with lank, shoulder-length hair that
looked like it had tar in it, looked askance at the slight, nerdy looking figure before
him.
“I'm not a rental service, boy,” said the harbour master. Then the suit Ambrosius
was wearing permeated the rotund man's consciousness. He breathed out a sigh that
smelt of ship's biscuit and rum. “What type of boat are y'after?”
“Just a small one. With a petrel engine.”
 
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