St. Francis and the Singing Fish

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I could feel the skepticism of my newest creation hanging about the room like a heavy coat. At first I though that maybe the red spots were to much against her scaly skin. Then I  wondered if maybe she was to corpulent. But now as I scrutinized this full figured creature, I realized the her tiny wings were out of place against the rotund body. They looked a little to much like duck feet.

“She’s so beautiful Francis, I simply adore her. She sings like a nightingale!” Emory never had a negative comment about  my work. I’d made him that way.

“Seriously Emory, she’s disgusting. So fat and fishy, not to mention that voice sounds like a cage full of drunk monkeys.” Paula, Emory’s twin, was always negative. Nothing was ever good enough. Both cockatoos ruffled their glossy white feathers in annoyance to each other’s comments. They sat, one on each of my shoulders, constantly commenting on my latest creations.

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“Well in the end it doesn’t really matter what you think Paula. If Francis likes it then down to earth she goes.” Emory always liked to get the last word in. With a rude squak Paula flapped her wings.

“Hush now, I’m trying to think. You’re both right. She is spectacular but something is wrong.” Dutifully the birds turned their attention the singing fish. She was on a pedestal in the center of my spacious studio. It was a large white stone cave with a gaping entrance looking out over a sparkling blue ocean. A warm breeze blew in and washed away the smell of fish. The floor was littered with bits and pieces of fish skin, bat wing, ruby dye, and other various ingredients used to make this strange piece of art.

The fish’s voice was hard to listen to. Paula was right. It was high pitched and whistley, like  wind blowing over the top of a small tube. My ears ached.

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“Turn it off Francis. I simply can’t take the noise anymore.” Paula whispered into my ear so Emory wouldn’t hear her. I shook my head.

“No Paula I need to figure out what needs to be done to fix that voice. If I can fix the voice then she’ll ready to be presented before the others and then hopefully sent down to earth.” Emory’s head bobbed in agreement. The fish began to flap her leathery wings in time with her song.

“She can’t fly away with those can she?” Emory asked.

“No, no. There’s no chance of that. She’s to obese.” But as if to mock the words I’d uttered the instant they left my lips the fish began to rise up off the pedestal. The cockatoos excitedly flapped their wings and bounced their heads up and down.

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“Look Look she’s going to fly away.” Paula screeched. Stunned I watched as the singing fish lifted up and flapped her little wings wildly. Before I could react, she had fluttered out of the cave entrance and was skimming her way over the calm water. Her voice was still echoing in our ears.

For a moment the three of us just watched. Nothing like this had happened before. “Oh my, how unexpected.” Emory broke our shocked silence.

“I wonder where she’ll go.” I said.

“Perhaps we should just cut our losses and continue on with the next project.” Paula didn’t seem to sad to see the fish leave. With a shrug I turned back to my desk and picked up my quill.

“First let me write a letter explaining what just happened and then we can continue on. I’d like it to be noted that this was a complete accident. Just in case she finds her way to earth.” I scribbled down a letter explaining what had occurred. I rolled it, sealed it, and tied it the leg of a letter dove. As soon as the dove left with my note I turned back to the pedestal. “Emory, Paula,” I said,”Get the fish clay. We’re going to make another one.” The cockatoos bobbed their heads in happiness and flew about gathering the materials. No matter what happened in the studio, or how strange things were, the work could never cease.

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