Sunday is a day I have never mastered.
I usually stay home, but it's a mixed bag. If I have nothing to do, I get bored. But if I have a chore to do, I resent it. Because it's Sunday. Make sense?
It's February 2011. Today, I've decided to break the cycle of home activity polarity, and go out. My closest friend, the part-time evil-genius iDifficult, lives just a few miles away as the crow flies. Or as the squiddrel runs *.
[ * A squiddrel, a hybrid of a red squirrel and a colossal squid, pays no regard to fences, roads or even buildings; they are determined creatures. One zoologist described one as the most dangerously single-minded creature he'd ever encountered. Before it ate him.]
As I knock on his door, I keep an eye out for 'Difficult's long-suffering wife. She's a lovely lady, but things have been uneven between us since what she refers to as The Firework Incident, or The Reason We Can't Get Fire Insurance Anymore. I have no idea why; we made good by planting new flowers and replaced all of the scorched/missing fence panels. The ragged wedding suit proved more problematic at short notice, but at least I got 'Difficult to the church on time.
Roth! bellows 'Difficult as he throws the door open, his broad smile radiating the rudest of health. Perfect timing! Come in, come in!
I'm hustled indoors, and barely have time to offer a hello before a cup of hot, sweet tea is thrust into my hands.
So, he grins, What do you know about fish? Garra rufa or Doctor Fish, to be precise!
My curiosity is piqued; I was discussing these miraculous little fish with a friend at work only a few days earlier. I gather my handful of thoughts.
Those are the fish that they use at spas to nibble away at dead skin on feet, right? I make unnecessary nibbling motions with my hands to emphasise the point. After a few minutes with your feet in a tank, you have the smoothest heels ever?
Precisely! Top marks! I wonder where this is going. I give up, realising that guesswork rarely works with an evil genius. So, have you tried it?
Nope. I shrug. It sounds interesting, but it tends to be expensive.
I see, I see, he muses, but you do have hard skin on your feet. Excellent. Do you get it anywhere else?
Um, well, I scratch my head, surprised at the line of enquiry, a bit on my right knee, and sometimes my elbows, I suppose?
He nods and makes enthusiastic listening noises while scribbling a few notes in a battered notebook. I think this was the same pad he used to sketch the time travelling pyramid he built.
Right, so these treatments are fine, but for the best results, perhaps some sort of immersive experience might be better?
Wait. What? Immersive?!
Noooo, I'm not sure that'd be a good idea! I scramble for some logic. Might be a bit weird. Some people don't like the sensation of the fish nibbling at their feet. But all over? They'd freak out.
Oh, but that's just nerves! He slaps me on the back happily, They get used to it. Most go back for further treatments, I'm sure. I'm not so sure, but the terrible tide of creativity sweeps me along. So. The single word has a finality about it. Do you want to give my new treatment a try?
I'm lost for words. Something tells me I need to find some really good ones. And quickly.
Aaaah, well, you know, it sounds interesting, I bluster, but the skin on my feet is like leather. Yes, leather. Years and years of poor footcare. Those poor little fish wouldn't be able to bite into it.
He laughs uproariously, and looks delighted. Is it too late to run?
I was hoping you'd say that! I have something for that very situation!
The words hang in the air, and I have a sinking feeling in my tummy. With icebergs.
Come on! I'll show you.
Opening the door under the stairs, he ushers me down into his cellar. Our footsteps echo hugely as we descend. Behind me, my friend slaps a switch, and bink bink bink there is light. The room, now lit by half a dozen fluorescent strips, is low and seemingly endless, and full of exotic machinery; these vanish into shadow ten yards away.
Dominating the near room is an enormous plastic crate. It stands six feet high, and resembles a picnic coolbox. I have one just like it at home. It's even the same colour.
Go on, take a peek! My friend's exuberance is infectious, and makes me want to scratch. He waves to indicate a ladder on the crate's side that leads up to what looks like a heavy lid.
I hesitate, but 'Difficult waves me upwards. The rungs are cold and slightly damp, but I reach the top without incident. The lid is more of a challenge; I have to get my shoulder under it to gain some purchase, and finally heave it up, one handed.
The box is full of dark water.
I look closer, insidious curiosity getting the better of me.
And the fish rise up to greet me.
What do you think?!
You know, I think I may prefer dull Sundays at home.
This blog entry is protected by copyright © Indigo Roth, 2011/2012