Convict

In the aquarium I stood staring for a long time (as if turned into stone) at two convict blennies, as the sign informed me that these fish were called, although at first I thought they were sea snakes. Their heads peering out of separate openings of a hollow rock that was lying on the bottom, they looked like the snakes on Medusa's head in a picture I had once seen, except that those snakes were silvery, while these two fish were blue with yellow stripes. Nor was there anything dreadful about them. They were very endearing. One of them was using its broad mouth, as broad as its head, to move the gravel inside of the rock to a heap outside. It would take a mouthful of stones (they were stones compared to the size of its head), spit it out on the heap outside, swim back again, repeat. Clearly it wanted to use its arms, but it couldn't, because it did not have any. Meanwhile the other one lay motionless except for the undulatory movements caused by the water, seemingly unperturbed by its partner's busy arrangements.

© 2009–2019, Martijn Wallage