Monsters and Madness….

Lancetfish2

Here I am again, folks—your roving reporter—and do I ever have a story for you!…It’s a monster of a fish story, and it’s not an April Fool’s joke, either. It happened to me just the other day.

As you well know, I can’t stay away from the ocean for long. So there I was, last week, beach-combing and looking for treasures on the Pacific coast.

Although it was a gorgeous spring day, I was feeling just a bit paranoid and preoccupied. Recently, we’d had a 6.8 earthquake in NorCal—the largest I’d ever experienced. I was thinking about it now as I meandered along, picking up seashells.

Suddenly I stopped. There in the sand was an ominous, alien-looking creature. A 4-foot, serpentine fish, with a big mouth and sharp dagger-like teeth.

I’d never seen anything like it. He stared at me coldly—dead eyes glistening. He was worse than anything I’ve ever seen in the waters of the Muddy Missouri. Not even the Mighty MO could produce a creature such as this!

What was it?…A prehistoric monster from the deep? Or maybe an ominous Oarfish? According to the Japanese, Oarfish are deep-sea “Harbingers of Doom” that wash ashore whenever great Megaquakes are imminent.

Maybe a Megaquake was about to hit the West Coast—the “Big One” that Scientists have predicted for so long…?

I quelled a shiver. This strange-looking fish was probably a precursory warning…A rare and important discovery! I sniffed at him. He was still fresh and didn’t stink at all. What should I do with him? Maybe I could lug him to my car?

Yes. That’s what I’d have to do.

And so it was, minutes later, I could be seen dragging my Monster down the beach. Nobody stopped me. They just stared and skittered out of the way. Somehow, I loaded him into my trunk and drove into town.

I stopped by the Newspaper Headquarters.

The news staff was intrigued. They sent a reporter and photographer outside with me to check it out. They took pictures and also wrote down my name and number. “Let us know when you find out what kind of fish it is,” they said.

I sighed and closed the trunk. Now what? I had a long skinny monster in my car and he would soon be stinking. I couldn’t throw him in a ditch. He might be rare.

What to do?

I began stopping people on the street corners, asking if they knew what kind of fish it was. Everyone’s mouths dropped open whenever I opened my trunk and showed them my fish. Then they swore. “What the bloody heck…?”

They were no help whatsoever.

Finally, I pulled up at the Marina and flagged down several men in a city truck. I told them about my fish.

They gathered around my car as I opened my trunk. Their eyes bugged. “Wow. What a beauty! But what is it?” They fussed about it awhile, then they brightened. “Jeff will know!” they said. “Jeff from Wild Planet! Let’s show it to him.”

Wild Planet indeed!

Jeff soon arrived and took one look at my fish.

“I know what it is,” he said. “It’s not an Oarfish, but it’s from the deep waters where they live. Over a mile down!” He smiled. “It’s an unusual find, for sure! This fish is a Daggertooth….”

A “Daggertooth?” My monster had a name. And a very fitting one, at that.

“Would you like us to take it?” he said. “We have a freezer to put it in. You can come and see it later.”

I felt relieved, but a bit sad, too. My monster could not stay in my trunk, of course—nor did he fit in my little ice chest. He would have to stay at Wild Planet.

Happily, Jeff and the boys hauled my monster away, and I drove away feeling just a bit sappy and sentimental. In a short time, I’d become quite attached to him. He hadn’t been an ominous Oarfish, after all, but he was a rare beauty according to the men at the Marina.

I’d discovered a deep-sea treasure, that day… but I couldn’t keep it. Couldn’t drag it back to the Midwest and show off my souvenir to my Country Neighbors.

All I can do is send a picture of my monster, and hope that the Editor will include it.

Goodbye for now, folks. Have a great season and go do some treasure-hunting of your own…You never know what you might find!

Happy Hunting! Have a very happy Spring!

Vicki

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