Tuesday 25th November

Good morning to you, and here's your prompt for today...


Ever since the Giant Pike Accident, he keeps his mouth shut when swimming. Alone in the night, lips twitching, he can still feel the fish flap deep inside. Searching.


  1. The moment will come when an efficient green gowned pathologist will slit him from vent to gills. Then the shoal will swim free and be lost among the waving kelp.

  2. Foxes have taken to entering Auntie Mary’s house “like Christian gentlemen”. She found one curled up in the airing cupboard. That day she bought a Will pack from WH Smith.

  3. Pikelets aren’t little pikes, crumpets aren’t a baker’s trump of crumbs and a goblet of tea has little to do with teetotalling goblins. But they all make a fine breakfast.

  4. Don’t panic, he said. But I had to when I’d fallen on top of the Captain, pushing him deep into the lake. Still, he won’t call me stupid boy again.

  5. The Chairman and namesake of the Fotherington Commission glared above teetering spectacles.

    “I haven’t the faintest minnow of doubt, young man, that you have much to reveal about the GPA.”

  6. In battle
    the Scots
    would famously use
    the pike
    in hedgehog formation-
    he could taste
    the steel
    in his cheeks-
    'three, two, one
    open your eyes'
    he awoke
    a pikeman.


  7. One of Gillian’s cats drowned in the fish pond. It was a week before his sodden mass of once-was-fur floated ashore. That’s when we realised fish were carnivores.

  8. After searching, they brought him in around two. All night he moaned his extended finale, ow, ow, ow, ow. He can hear how hurt sounds in a room without echoes.


  9. Mister cat
    fell in the lake
    and we,
    oblivious to his cries,
    snuffled into our scarves and hats,
    scattered cat biscuits
    like crunchy falling rain
    and waited for the sun.

  10. In the stillness of night,
    Eyes search for special in the
    Picture of aquarium tub, he
    Revives his dream, passion
    for, Swimming, diving, his mouth
    waters, tastes spiced, fish fry.

  11. It's his liver he feels flipping like a fish desperate for water, fighting to live but submerged by his daily thirst for vodka and sharp recall of her perfect mouth.

  12. He felt Esox lucius' kisses a thousand times in its quest for air and freedom. It mashed up his insides and brain until he could only speak in cod latin.

  13. She keeps returning to the pier. It’s windy there and the air is salty. Sometimes she cracks a smile at the jumping, hungry fish. Sometimes she doesn’t. He never comes.

  14. Do you get foxes around here? Oh no, I said. You’re lucky, she replied. Later I put dishes of chicken legs and wings outside my back door, for the wolves.

  15. Swimming for the riverbank after his canoe capsized, delirious Godfrey remembered nanny’s advice to keep his mouth shut. For the spiky candiru fish, however, mouths are not the only orifice.


  16. Cold eyes swim towards me
    through the dark, only a glint,
    a reflection of the moonlight.

    black water rises, drowning,
    I struggle upwards, wet with sweat,
    light gleams behind the curtains.



  17. Nuzzling about amidst his innards, sniffing for maggots.
    His wife quickly tired of the damp patches and the wriggling – although “Come back,” he’d pleaded. “At least it isn’t crabs again.”

  18. Swallowed words. Lifelong: yes sirs, no sirs, three bags full sirs. Guts squirming – until today. A tirade erupting, splattering like alphabet spaghetti across that leather-topped desk and polished parquet floor.

  19. He’d heard the stories about changelings. He was certain that the man next door was one. How else could you explain the wolf tracks that could be seen in wet mud or snow leading up to the yard? As a little boy the thought bred fear in him. If he had to walk past the house he would often cross the street and then cross back. Or he would run like all the banshees of hell were chasing him past the house and then out of breath he would slow down to a fast walk glancing back over his shoulder nervously
    As he got older the fear turned into a tingly kind of intrigue. He would watch from his window late at night trying to get a glimpse of the man/wolf emerging from the house. The large tree outside his window, and the bushes in front of the back door blocked his view. He thought he almost saw something several times but he couldn’t be sure.
    Finally, one fateful moonless night he decided to sit near the trees and watch. He waited for hours, the night cold as it was late November. Silently the door opened and for a moment Mr. O’Malley could be seen. In an instant he was gone and a large grey wolf slipped out of the door. Denny gasped to see it. The wolf’s head shot up at the sound and headed in Denny’s direction. He ran through the wood. He could hear the wolf coming quickly behind him. His foot slipped and he began to fall at first into nothingness and then with a splash he fell into Jackolear Lake. His mouth wide open in a scream. Denny gasped and water filled his throat and lungs. Suddenly he found himself turned into a giant pike.


  20. In the dark.
    In a womb.

    Treading water.
    Fish squirming in his stomach.

    He recalled being hopelessly
    in love,

    could feel the hook in the pikes flesh
    scratching his spleen.


  21. Ever since the Giant Pike Accident, he keeps his mouth shut when swimming. Alone in the night, lips twitching, he can still feel the fish flap deep inside. Searching.

    He blames the childhood incident for a few things. Nightmares, an aversion to seafood ,and avoidance of intimate physical contact with anyone else.

    Those who don’t know Oscar personally might think that this reluctance to commune with his fellow man or woman would make for a lonely life. Yet, Oscar seems remarkably unperturbed by his lack of life partners, girlfriends, boyfriends or one night standees. It is amazing what a liberating effect that calling off the search can have on a person. He is unmotivated by the things other men life their life strive for. His wants are few and his needs are fundamental. Not for Oscar are the trappings of materialism, the chains of lust or the vanity of self-regard.

    Far more of a day to day worry are the unwanted attentions of women, in particular. Oscar is catnip to the unknowing single girl, and the embarrassment of letting a girl down gently is often the source of a great deal of discomfort in his life. He is one of the few men that could, with any genuine conviction, utter the phrase, “It’s not you, it’s me.”

    Aside from anything, most refused girls assume he is gay and as a result, gossip is manufactured, and admiring gay men are also prone to try their luck with the delightfully uncomplicated, unpreening yet beautiful specimen that is Oscar. Potential lovers are firmly yet kindly turned away regardless of sex, looks, charm or personality.

    There is only one longing in Oscar’s heart that makes his difficulty with affairs of the heart a crippling handicap. Oscar wants to have a child of his own.

  22. If that bird is buried in your chest how can you sit there, bound to the floor, wasting your time talking to me, when the wind invites you to soar?

  23. Gliding through the water, guts churning from the mental agony of yearning and searching, all he can hear are beloved song lyrics in his head. He's night swimming once more.

  24. She swore there was a demon inside her urging her to drink. But when they opened her up all they found was a rotten liver and a lost soul. Drowning.

  25. Joanna cleared the space between her throat and nose, glad that no one was near enought to hear the disgusting sound she usually associated with old men swigging from cans on park benches. But this was no walk in the park.

    Joanna didn't want to shout out, to draw attention to her upturned hull. She kicked away at the weeds wound around her ankles. She couldn't be too far off touching the bottom. Whoops, one of her boots had come off.

    'Don't go out' they had said. 'It's too dangerous for a woman'. She went anyway.

    On the bank were two skinny, middle-aged men hunched in their green waistcoats, knees drawn up, eyes obscured by their hats' brims. It was no good, she was going to have to take off the other boot too. It loosened surprisingly easily, as if someone was helping her. Last time someone had helped her off with her boots she must have been five years old. Momentarily, her feet felt free to tread water.

    Suddenly, her legs felt as if they were bound together. They were being squeezed. She was being sucked in somewhere and soon, her waist was engulfed by a series of tight contracting bands and her arms were forced above her head. Soon there was a cold darkness and when she dared to reach out, her fingertips played along a bony structure.

    Just as Joanna thought that she was adjusting to her new surroundings, there was a sudden thrust and she must have banged her head. When she awoke, the two men were stooping over her slimy body.

    'Nice catch' one said.

    'Of biblical proportions' said the other proudly.

    'I bet she didn't see that coming' said the first.

    'Shall we throw it back?'

    'The woman or the pike?'

    'No contest'.

  26. A young man from the Centre caught the Giant Pike. The fish hangs limp, dark eyes staring ; pictured in the paper. I imagine him, alone, swimming in deep, cold water.


    Darius sits at the bar nursing his sixth pint. Slumped rather than sits, shoulders hunched like he carries a burden. And his eyes are heavy and slow and glazed. Staring into the glass, as if there’s something beneath the froth of his beer. And there is. A memory, sluicing about in the brown liquid, coming
    close to the surface and whispering.

    It’s a quarter to eight. The hand of the clock moves, makes small sound. It’s always a quarter to eight when he starts. Talking to no one, and to everyone. Darius.

    ‘Big as a bloody shark, twas. Bigger.’

    Starts quiet, but people hear. There’s some still look up at the clock, checking, and they nod, look at their watches after, and nod and look away, smiling. Everything’s right with the world, everything in its orderly place. Darius telling the same story and no one really listening. Not having to, because they’ve heard it all before. Makes no difference to Darius.

    ‘Mouth like a shark, too, with teeth that cut through bone.’

    Someone puts another full glass in front of him.

    ‘Took my bloody finger off at the knuckle, clean, like it was a worm on a hook and biting through the bloody hook too.’

    Darius holds up the stub of a finger to show he spoke truth. The stub of a finger, the skin like a smear of wax at the end, shiny and pink. And there is sweat on his brow and a re-lived fright in his eyes. His glass shakes a little in
    his hand, the froth of his beer dancing up the insides of the glass.

    'Bigger than the boat it was. Filled the whole bloody pool, near as.'

    And in Darius’ head it is that big. Swimming, swimming in the dark waters of his memory.

  28. The headline read: Man Gives Birth to Baby.

    His scars are fading faster than his memories, but a few nightmares are a small price to pay for fame and fortune.

  29. It misses the salt inside this dark cavern
    as it probes the walls searching for the exit.
    It got in, so must surely be able to get out, it reasoned.

  30. Before her arrest, she kept piranhas in the pond; giant ones lurking near the bottom that had a taste for human blood. She used to feed her troubles to them.

  31. He didn’t mean to eat the bird. It flew into his mouth when he was talking. Now, every time he opened his mouth, his world was filled with bird song.

    Jamieson Wolf


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