In the words of Simba…

By: Franziska Popp


Here we go again.  The one who talks with fishes is finally home.  I would cross my fins in front of my chest, but helloooooooo? I am a fish.  Instead I am doing what I can do best; I am floating through the ocean.  An ocean with walls I can see through.  Better than the plastic bag he used to get me into this flat with—a flat which couldn’t look any lonelier I might add.  Even my fake ocean looks more comfy, and yes, he probably thinks I can’t tell the difference.  Of course I can.

Swimming closer to the wall of glass as Ethan Blackstone, yes, Black-STONE, walks in, I wonder if he is related to my favorite stone in my fake ocean.  There are many stones, but each fish in here needs a stone.  Just like this human needs a cigarette right now.

My fins fluttering, I am wondering why he didn’t say anything to me.  Normally I get at least a ‘Hello mate’ or a ‘How was your day, Simba?’Simba looking

Wishing I could roll my eyes. I know—he really named me Simba from The Lion King.  And he did not even give me a Nalla.  Nope.

Where was I?  Right, thank you.  I was watching him, in his chair, at his enormous desk and then I hear him say, “I am so screwed, Simba.  I met a girl, and trust me when I say that I am fucking screwed.”

Screwed?  Him?  Duh…who is living in an ocean with walls around him?  Yup, the Lionfish.  That would be me.  I would point at myself but you all remember I am just a fish.  Watching Ethan lean back against the chair, his eyes focused on the ceiling as he mumbles, over and over, that he is screwed.  He places his feet on the desk.  I so need a desk myself.  Then I could actually use my time much better.  I could make To-Do lists for all the other fishes in here.  Especially this one over there.  To the left…LEFT.  You just looked to the right.  What are you?  A female?

So apropos, the female thing… because a few days later a human female comes walking into the office.  WHOA.  That never happened before.  HELP!!!  HELP!!!  She is going to eat me, I can feel it.  She looks hungry, I swear.  I can see it in her eyes.  I’ve watched documentaries about sharks, so I would know, right?

Fluttering an array of multi-colored fins at her (my attempt of scaring her off) I’m still inwardly screaming my S.O.S.  Yeah, I know, it sucks to be a fish.  I can’t even use a phone and call Neil for help.  Trying not to panic until—yes—until she calls me…handsome.   HANDSOME. The stroke that almost took me over has suddenly been replaced by (I am sure she can see them) ♥ ♥ in my fishy eyes.  Now fluttering my fins to draw her closer, I know I have found my NALLA.

A few minutes, hours, days, weeks later—just a fish here and you can’t really expect me to know how much time has passed—I just know that I didn’t see the pretty female again.  Her eyes look just like my home.  Colorful and always depending on how the light is.  Pacing (aka swimming) for days in front of the glass wall, awaiting her to walk into the office at some point again.  But…nothing.

And then…finally…the door to the office opens once again.  Fins fluttering excitingly, moving all my potential, everything I’ve been taught when I was still a little baby fish and before I pulled a Nemo.  Thank God I did not end up with a dentist!  Who wants to listen to dentist sounds all day long?  Shivering inwardly, and I assure you, not in a good way, before I focus again at the door.

My excitement is barely manageable and it is…it is…Ethan.  My fins falling just like the faces of children when they don’t get ice cream.  As I am watching Ethan approach the desk looking for something, I realize, next to his obvious determination, that he looks sad.  He can’t be sad.  I don’t like him sad.  He is Ethan Blackstone, a relative to my favorite stone in here.  What the fishing heck happened to him that he looks as if he needs two tons of krill?

Mmmmmmmmmmm krill.

Still watching him, trying to get his attention, to get him to talk to me.  Ethan likes to talk to me, and I like to listen, not that I wouldn’t love to answer, but yeah, you guessed right, I am still a fish.  A very nice looking—wondering  if a fish can blush as I remember the words of the pretty lady that I am handsome—Lionfish.  Yup.  I MUST see her again.  There is no way around it.  Nemo the Clownfish will look like an amateur compared to me.  I am going on an even bigger mission.  Humanity, HERE I COME!  Not to take over the world.  Nope.  Anyone could manage that, but I have higher aims in life.  I am going to—

A KRILL!!!  Holy Neptune, Ethan loves me!

Devouring the perfect shaped krill, playing shark for a second…man, I should have been born as a shark.  Just imagine me as a shark!  I would be terrifying and could scare all the other fishes off in here.  Okaaaaaaay, I would not fit in this tiny box full of the most perfect water ever.  I could be a Peter Pan kind of shark.  I would never grow up.  Yup, I am the smartest fish EVER.  Trust me on this one.  I made a poll and me and I agreed with myself.  Well, well, well…at least Freud would approve.

Finishing my treat, realizing that Ethan is still watching me, I see he is not with the pretty lady.


I would swim around her the entire day and night.  She is special, I can feel it in my fins. And my fins have never betrayed me before.  But then Ethan is speaking and I think my heart just stopped beating.  “She loves you, Simba.”

SERIAL?!  She loves me.  Whoa.  Turning around as I hear some of the other fishes answer with a bubble that sounded a lot like ‘Killer’.

I am hearing voices.  Nodding, knowing I have no head to do that with, I am using my entire body.

Yes, tell her whatever you want, Blackstone, just get her back to me…er…to us.

It doesn’t take long until I finally hear her beautiful voice again.  She is back.  Good.  I had to live with Zombie Ethan long enough.  I always waited for Thriller to play in the background when I saw him moving through the outer world of my aquarium.  It truly should be his theme song.

It’s close to midnight and something evil’s lurking in the dark

Under the moonlight, you see a sight that almost stops your heart

You try to scream but terror takes the sound before you make it

You start to freeze as horror looks you right between the eyes

You’re paralyzed

Paralyzed.  I am sure I will be paralyzed very soon.

In the middle of the night, when fishes are trying to sleep, Ethan decides to talk with someone.  Sometimes I wonder why I am in the office.  Okay, it is awesome.  I see and hear, like everything.  But I need my beauty sleep.  I am not simply handsome like this without trying.  I am not Brynne, right?  She IS beautiful.  But of course Ethan realized that too.

It is so unfair.  He can swim outside as long as he wants and I have to stay in here.  And humans wonder why Pinky wants to take over the world!  Hello, caged animal here!  Freedom keeps you from thinking of things like that, doesn’t it?

Sighing to myself, watching one bubble float to the surface as I swim closer, I now totally focus on Mr. Blackstone.  I personally would not want him as my enemy.  Just imagine…no krill. I would die.  DIE!  Like right here and now.  And I am pretty sure Neptune didn’t want that happening to me.  I’m way too handsome for that—Brynne said so.  Yup.

Fluttering around with my fins, remembering the feeling as she smiled at me, yeah…I can understand why Ethan is going to do everything in his power to keep her.  Which means I need to change my plans and—

What does Ethan mean by he will protect her?!  Is my Brynne in danger?  It’s a Killer Whale, right?  They are like uberly dangerous.  Ask the seals.  WHOA.  What?!  He loves her too. Wow, I need a glove to throw in his face.  Why don’t I have HANDS?  I so need them right now.

Eyes still wide open as the darkness settles over my world.  Fishing hell, he always manages to make me sleepy with this move of his and the lights!  Just wait until I get a button. I am so going to…close my eyes now.

A new day, a new life.  Okay, some more time has passed and today the flat is absolutely stuffed with people.  Ethan is showing them a PowerPoint and blah blah-ing a lot of words I can’t make much sense of.  And guess what?  I just met Gaby.  Her HAIR!  We are totally matchy matchy.  Looking frantically, when I see her leaving.  Don’t gooooooooooo!!!!

The last days I’ve realized that Brynne loves Ethan too.  And once I even heard that if you love someone you have to let them go.

Sighing, my fins falling slightly, yes, I am sad too.  BUT now I have Gaby.  Call me Don Juan but I am going to win Gabrielle for my own.  I would even share my stone with her, and all the krill Ethan would give to me.  We could live a super happy long fishy life, full of adventures.

The other day I actually found a new place in the aquarium.  Fine, I did not, it just looked like it because one of the other fishes redecorated.  She redecorated.  Can you believe it?  It’s like I am already part of a very bad TV show.  Turning around, hoping there is not a hidden camera somewhere tracking my every movement.  I am not YET famous enough to get Punk’d.

Not realizing that again a few days have passed, I’m sitting in the dark as I hear the door to the office opening. I already feel, deep down in the peaks of my fins, that this is not Ethan, not Brynne, or any other human being I know.  Paralyzed.  Now I am truly paralyzed.  Please don’t let it be the thing from Paranormal 4.


{This story was published on November 9, 2012 in the back of the original self-published edition of All In, The Blackstone Affair Part 2}