Fish Stocks Limited
fishermen have been torn to ribbons by a mistakenly entrapped beastie, and catching
them would be nigh on impossible. There are, however, a very small number of
species, like the dugong, which are exceedingly tasty, easy to catch and plentiful in
number. However, it is a peculiarity of Piscador biochemistry that Piscadors require
the essential oil of the fish, piscoline, to produce and maintain the fatty tissues of the
brain. Without these oils, the brain quickly withers and the unfortunate Piscador
suffers a mental decline leading ultimately to dementia and death. This perhaps
accounts for that terrible, manic laugh which, once emitted from his sweetheart, still
troubles Ambrosius to this day, and is a grim portent for the decline of the City into a
slowly lethal madness should a new supply of fish not be found.
Some chapters back we heard a ridiculous thing: the great, white Infinity Fish
praying. Well, its invocations done, the fish was now on the move. It said a silent
hello to the flatulent crabs which populated the deep-sea vents. It bantered with the
shimmering chemiluminescent things and the giant spiky things a little further above.
It greeted with jollity the jellies and the medusae. It grinned at the shouts of
“Waargh!” from the colourless fauna above them. It laughed with the jocund, green
things near the surface, and, finally, burst out into the light of Xiphias, spraying mist
high in a silvery jet into the night sky (the Infinity Fish has a habit of spitting a
mouthful of mist high into the sky as she reaches the surface of the mist, spraying
vapour upwards in a concentrated jet). And what does any self-respecting fisherman
shout when he sees such a thing?
Chapter 26 – The Shout – A Brief Discourse On The Will O' The Fish
“There, there, thar she blows!” came the shout from the topmast. Mungo used the
full capacity of his barrel-chest in exhorting the presence of the fish.
Fishmael was up the companionway in a flash, eyes ablaze and breathing heavily.
“Tell me now, be it the white fish?”
“Aye!” cried Mungo. “Thar she blows!”
“Half a kilometre by my reckoning, five points to larboard!”
“So. We have a good chance. Five points to larboard, choke that petrel!”
“Aye, aye!” shouted Jerry.
The boat shot over the mist, heading for the place where the spout had last been
“You see her still, Mungo?”
“No, cap'n. She's sounded.”
“Blast and damnation! What was her heading as she dived?”
“She was far off - difficult to say, cap'n. I reckon if we carry on in this direction
we're about on her course.”
“Good, then hold the course. Lay off the throttle a little, Jerry; we may need a turn
of speed if she breaches again.”
Prow hunting the waves, questing for the next trough, climbing each peak like a
mountaineer, the ship bore on after the fish. The captain's moods bobbed with the