a big heart in a big fish in a small pond
Keith is a fish. Let’s get that right out of the way. I don’t want you half way through this and then suddenly slapping your forehead and saying “Of course! Keith is a fish” and having to start the whole thing over again.
Keith is a fish.
And not any fish. Keith is a whopper. Even in a big pond he would be considered a big fish. A big fish with numerous gaping holes in his lips and torn up gills. Keith looks like a very rough customer.
But he has a heart of gold.
So how, you might ask yourself, did his mouth get so beat up?
It’s simple really; Keith loves to strike lures. Other fish will literally swim next to him and point out that the ‘crayfish’ he is chasing is clearly not a crayfish at all but a apparatus equipped with barbed hooks, designed to snag him in his face and drag him into some nearby boat. They will yell and scream the obvious and yet Keith will still hurtle towards a rendezvous with said lure. They will openly mock him about how bad looking the lure is, how it doesn’t even resemble a crayfish in numerous important details, and yet Keith never misses a chance to try and eat a fake crayfish.
You might wonder if this behavior is limited to fake crayfish. It is not. He will chase fake minnows, fake worms, fake frogs. He will even bite a hook with corn on it.
Only catfish eat corn and believe me when I say that Keith is no catfish.
Could it be as simple as Keith knows that at the end of that line there is a fisherman who wants to catch a fish? That he understands for that to happen there has to be a fish willing to strike the lure? Does he think that somehow this fisherman deserves to catch a fish for all his efforts?
At this juncture I could say that it is not my intention to romanticize Keith but that would be dishonest. Not only do I want to romanticize his actions but I want to compare them indirectly to romance itself. Not the romanticized version of romance but the all-too-common type of romance where one party is taking advantage of the other.
Or so it appears to everyone else who isn’t part of that romance. Everyone who doesn’t hear the music that Keith is dancing to. Which is pretty much all fish as they don’t have ears.
Keith knows exactly what he’s getting himself into. He’s aware of the consequences and yet he still hauls ass and does his best to take the bait. You could even argue that this makes his struggle even more romantic than typical, healthy romances.
He knows, when he feels the sting of the hooks once again sinking into his mouth, that there is a battle of wills ahead. A give and take, with him fighting for his life and the fisherman trying to get what he wants. But to say he is an unwilling participant is just plain disingenuous.
To Keith there is only one fisherman. Keith sees him in his head. He romanticizes him. The other fish imagine the fisherman as someone you wouldn’t touch with his ten foot pole but not Keith. On some level Keith is just happy to be involved with the fisherman. To be the tug on his line. The fish that allows the fisherman to feel the rush of reeling one in. The fight to land him.
And, at least so far in his career, to give the fisherman a melancholy memory of the one that got away.
Maybe Keith isn’t a fish after all. Feel free to slap your forehead.