Thursday, December 16, 2010

Afterlife: A bizarro tale of life, love and the hereafter or something.

I lived a good life. Never hurt anyone. Minded my business.

I ate. I swam. I spawned.

Then, I died.

I can’t remember the details. The old memory isn’t so good, even now. I know I have crossed over, but I’m not sure where I am.

The water is cool and clear. There are no men with poles and hooks lurking about, so that is a huge plus. The stream is flowing and I have plenty to eat.

There is only one explanation for this: I am in Heaven. Salmon Heaven!

I will swim and eat forever. I bet the spawning grounds are just over the hill, too. I am going to fertilize eggs until I go cross eyed. Then I’ll eat and do it some more. This is exactly how I want to spend eternity.

I don’t see the bear until he has me in his paws, snatching me from my paradise.

“Wait,” I scream.

The bear holds me inches from his drooling mouth, puzzled.

“What’s wrong?” he asks.

“There has been some mistake. You shouldn’t be here.”

The bear scratches his head.

“What do you mean?”

“This is the afterlife, yes?”

“Obviously,” they bear replies.

“I was swimming along, minding my business and heading to fertilize some eggs and you snatched me right out.”

“That I did. What’s the problem?”

The bear is obviously mentally deficient, so I spell it out for him.

“There are no bears in Salmon Heaven. I am not asking, I am demanding: Put me back in the water and leave at once.”

If I had a foot I would stamp it on the ground for emphasis. As it is, I slap his paw with my fin. The effect is the same.

“Mr. Salmon, there has obviously been some mistake.”

“Obviously,” I reply indignantly.

“I concur that, in Salmon Heaven, there should be no bears. You should be free to swim and fertilize eggs to your tiny salmon heart’s content.”

“I’m glad you see the issue. Now if you could just—”

“However,” the bear retorts, “you are not the injured party in this dispute.”


“Though you are correct in your assumption that the likelihood of a bear being in Salmon Heaven is virtually nil, there is a fundamental flaw in your thinking.”

“And what might that be?” I ask. The bear fancies himself a thinker, this should be amusing.

“You, sir, are not in Salmon Heaven. I have been sitting in this spot for nearly twenty years eating your delicious brethren. In a few minutes I will make my way over the hill and spend the next twenty years mating and the following twenty years hibernating as I have done for as long as I can remember. Therefore, I can say with utmost confidence that this is, with no doubt whatsoever, Bear Heaven.”

“Oh my.”

“It’s pretty obvious.”

“Quite obvious, yes.”


“Well, you can imagine my embarrassment.”

“I’m sure.”

“I am very sorry for my rudeness, Mr. Bear.”

“Think nothing of it,” he says. Bears are really quite civil once you get to know them.

“I suppose there is nothing left but to get on with it.”

“Quite right. I do apologize, but this might hurt quite a bit.”

“No apology needed. I am the injuring party here. Carry on.”

To his credit, the bear eats me as gently as such a thing can be done.

I can’t remember the details. The old memory isn’t so good, even now. I know I have crossed over, but I’m not sure where I am.

Now I am swimming once again.

Another stream, another chance. This surely the right place.

A human stands up ahead wearing those silly rubber pants they are so fond of, but he doesn’t worry me. I am far more interested in that delicious egg suspiciously drifting in the water in front of him. Any other time, I might be worried. Luckily, I am in Salmon Heaven.

I think I’ll take a bite.

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