15 January, 2015    #30

The Secret Flying Fish

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After extinguishing all lights, we slowly coasted to a dead stop in front of her house sometime after midnight.  The night was dead quiet with the entire neighborhood smothered in sleep.  Carefully exiting our black 1953 Chevy in stealthy silence, we huddled near the vehicle’s trunk in nervous anticipation. 


Several hours earlier we were all just riding around Key West looking for something to do.  Then someone in the front seat asked if I was ‘turned on’ by that skinny freshman girl with horned rimmed glasses.   “You mean Jane?”, I replied.  “Yea Mike, we heard that she has the hots for you.”  I should have been elated, since I was not knowingly the heartthrob of anyone at Key West High School.  Even though Jane’s bloom into feminine adolescence was a bit delayed, I thought she had significant future girlfriend potential.  However, I perceived her demeanor as that of academic superiority, and decided to move on towards safer pursuits of the heart.  To avoid group harassment and social bantering, I responded with, “I wouldn’t touch her with a 10 foot pole.”


“OK Mike, if that’s the case, why don’t you give her a fish!”  “Look, I don’t even know where she lives,” I replied.  As my words were being aired, I knew what was coming.  ”I know where she lives, so let’s go get a trashed fish from the boat docks,” someone else replied.


Key West has some crazy traditions and giving someone a fish is one of the most revered.  Receiving a fish in your front yard could be from a close friend, a rival or some social statement that needs to be affirmed via a smelly deposit.  In any case, the fish represents a message from someone you know.  It’s a proclamation!


Opening the Chevy trunk, I grabbed the four foot Tarpon by its lifeless gills and slid the rigid silver-scaled creature over the bumper and onto the ground.   Thump!  It must have weighed over 50 pounds.  Once on Jane’s front lawn, I said, “OK let’s get the heck out of here!” 


“Not yet”, someone said, “Let’s put it on her front porch!”  Since I didn’t have the strength to pick up the slimy carcass, Bill grabbed the fish by the tail and began spinning around like an Olympic Athlete.   After misjudging the centrifugal energy, he finally released the smelly projectile into the still of the night.


In slow motion, we watched the fish fly across the front yard, over her porch banister, and come to rest in Jane’s living room; after S*M*A*S*H*I*N*G through a large plate glass window!  Frozen in astonishment, we quickly thawed and sped off into the eyes of the night; vowing ourselves to absolute secrecy … until just now!


Post Script. > Hopefully, Jane will read this confession and all will be forgiven. However, consequences will probably be applied at my next KWHS Reunion as compensation for our clandestine deed!


Mike Kohut, President, DDMS





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