Fish In the Trees

Once upon a time, there was a fish named Beep who wanted to live in the trees.  

“Well, you can’t,” everyone said. “Obviously. There’s just no way, on account of fish like us derive their oxygen from the water. Not the air. Like those birds.”

Beep knew that was true, but he also believed that there was a way to do anything. If you could dream it, you could make it happen. You just had to figure out how.

Beep got a job and he threw himself into it. He put in long, hard hours and everyone assumed he’d given up on the business about the trees. But he also scrimped and saved, and every Sunday, Beep swam up and down the river, looking up at the trees above and at the birds flying off and landing, and the squirrels running up and down the trunks and fighting with each other. Beep knew he’d live up there one day.

Finally, Beep had enough money saved to do what he’d figured out. He sent out invitations to every fish, announcing his moving day. “Come watch me ascend to the trees above!” the invitations read.

Everyone came. They assumed Beep was going to kill himself somehow and wanted everyone to watch, and they figured if they didn’t go, they’d just have to hear the story a million times anyway.

“Welcome, all,” said Beep, when they had all assembled. “Thank you for coming. I just want to say how much I’ve enjoyed living here and knowing all of you. And I hope we always keep in touch. Alright, take it away, boys!”

There was a shudder and a creak, a collective gasp, and Beep slowly rose out of the lake and up and up, until they lost sight of him in the greenery above. You see, he’d hired workmen to build a giant, transparent glass tank full of water, and he had that tank lifted into the trees where it hung suspended from the highest bough. At long last, Beep flipped and danced and circled and swam amongst the green leaves, as squirrels and birds gathered around him agog.

“Wooooo-hooooo!” screamed Beep. “Yeeeee-haaaa!!!!” He had done it. He was in the trees. The river was a tiny blue seam far below.

For a time, Beep was happy up there in his box. But eventually, he started to feel bored. He was surrounded by trees and sky, sure, and far above the ground, but he was confined to his tank. He swam around and around and around, the same pattern every day. Around him, the squirrels and birds came and went, running and flying and jumping, free to go wherever they wished. And below him, he knew that his fellow fish swam up and down the river, into side streams and ponds, and sometimes venturing as far as the salty inlet where the vast sea began.

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