A Fishy Tale

I seem to end up looking like a doofus in public more often than most people. I prefer to think it’s sheer coincidence, and nothing to do with me personally.  (Denial:  Not just a river in Egypt.)  Last month it was my disintegrating shoes.  This week I entertained the crowd by juggling a dead fish at the pumps of a PetroCanada gas station.

It could only happen to me:

We had driven down to Victoria, and on the way back we stopped for gas. As I was fuelling up, Hubby’s uncle drove in beside me. That was an unlikely coincidence, since neither of us lives close to that PetroCanada station.  Also coincidentally, he was returning from a fishing trip.

“Hey, I’ve got a fish for you,” said he. “Do you want it now?”

Ordinarily I would have declined, since I have no way of carrying a gutted and beheaded fish home in my car without causing grievous harm to upholstery and equanimity.  But (another coincidence) I had taken a load of vegetables down to inflict on share with our friends, so I had a large empty cooler with ice packs.  I also happened to have a plastic bag, so I could put the fish in the bag and tuck it tidily into the cooler. Easy-peasy, right?

Not even close.

Hubby’s uncle was on his way to the ferry and I didn’t want to delay him, so I hustled his catch-bag over to where Hubby had helpfully opened our cooler.  I grabbed my plastic bag with one hand.  I grabbed the salmon with the other.

You’d think that very little could go wrong in the few inches between fish and bag; but you’d be oh-so-sadly mistaken. Freshly dead salmon are slippery. I had grabbed it just above the tail, and (being fish-shaped and all) it tapered considerably at that point.

That fish shot out of my grip like it was jet-propelled.

I made a panicked grab for it, which accomplished nothing except to add a tumble to its trajectory. Fish-slime flew in all directions, splattering my shirt, face, and sunglasses.  The fish did a belly-flop into our cooler, where it spitefully rubbed its dead self all over the ice packs and the inside of the cooler.

And there I stood in the middle of the PetroCanada station:  be-slimed and befuddled, with the empty plastic bag dangling impotently from my hand.

Then came a short ridiculous scene in which I juggled the frictionless fish a couple more times before finally cramming it into the bag.  (Don’t ask me why putting the fish in the bag still seemed important, since the cooler and ice packs were already thoroughly slimed.  By then I wasn’t thinking straight due to a severe case of the giggles.)

I scuttled into the station to wash my hands and clean my sunglasses, then hurried back to the car and drove away without looking around to see how many people had witnessed the debacle.  I didn’t hear anybody laughing; but I wasn’t listening too closely, either.

I did manage to get the salmon filleted and into our freezer without further mishap, and soon we’ll eat the evidence.

But I might not go back to that gas station for a while…

Book 15 update:  I’m back in action after last week’s hiatus, and looking forward to a good writing week!

39 thoughts on “A Fishy Tale

  1. My goodness! Must have been a memorable ride way home. I applaud your dedication to stuff the salmon in the plastic baggie even after it had soiled the cooler. Had I been in your place, I would have dropped it after the first trajectory 😂


  2. If there is one thing I have discovered it’s that when you plan an event/action/fish retrieval too much, reality will not oblige! Now, there is a chance that the gas station camera caught the entire episode and the employees will be laughing out loud for ages. I kind of hope that’s what happened, so giggles spread around the universe. You know, all those experiences you’ve had with animals in your vegetable garden? This salmon had the last laugh as well. 🙂


    • It really did, which is a heck of a good trick for a fish with no head!

      And it’s funny you should mention security cameras — I was thinking of that, too. If I ever see myself juggling a dead fish in a viral video, I’ll know where the footage came from! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are not alone. So not alone.
    Foodstuffes eschew my plate for my clothing (particularly if they will a) stain or b) I have an important meeting after the meal in question. I have walked into a job interview (my very first) with totally ladder stockings, bloody knees and hands and missing the top button from my shift. Toilet paper trailing from my shoe has also happened. More than once.
    And I currently have three black and red toes because a door knob fell on them.
    Growing up, at once stage my poor long suffering mother had three out of her four children on crutches simultaneously – after separate mishaps. We were all of very different heights which meant that mix-ups were hilarious. To others.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am laughing our loud. I can totally picture how it would happen and that would have been me as well. I am just coordinated that way. Well it looks like you will get the last laugh when you have Mr Slippery over for dinner sometime soon.

    Love the look of the new header BTW.


    • Thank you! I figured it was time to update that ancient photo. I liked my smile in it, but with all that makeup piled on (not by me — I made the mistake of hiring a makeup ‘artist’ when I was getting ready for that photo) it wasn’t a good representation of how I look 99.9% of the time. This one’s a bit closer to reality!

      And I’m LOLing at ‘Mr. Slippery’! I expect to enjoy his company considerably more when we meet at the dinner table. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

            • Husbands keep me on the straight and narrow, not that I’d ever get far off it anyhow. We moved to Regina in November 1983 so I did not meet any neighbours on the street until spring. Ella stayed home to raise our kids and half the neighbours’ too, so she met several. I was out cleaning the front yard one warm April day and two doors down was a cute buxom lass in tank top and shorts. It was only my neighbourly duty to introduce myself. I was telling Ella about meeting Bonnie and she said “Did you meet her husband?” No. “His name is Ron Cherkas, he plays for the BC Lions and he FILLS our front door”. (Oh damn.) Great neighbours and good friends. Our kids went to school together.


  5. A teacher I used to work with could spin a dry erase marker across his knuckles seemingly for hours without mishap. The two times I tried it, I bounced it off a wall, two students, and landed it in the end of the fourth row. I don’t do that anymore.


  6. Having been trout fishing with my dad numerous times, I know how slippery fish are — and a salmon has a good bit of weight over a brook trout, so I’d multiply that slipperiness by a good big factor . . . gives new meaning to “the one that got away” – lol

    I bet you were glad to get home and get cleaned up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, I scrubbed myself and the cooler and ice packs with equal vigour. I needed the cooler again today, and I took a good deep sniff before taking it. There was no ‘eau de poisson’, so I must have gotten it all. 🙂


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