she don’t fade
It starts with a weird question that only she would take seriously.
Not even a question as much as an idea that led to several pressing questions.
“It would be hard to design a theater for pufferfish.”
Simple. Eloquent in its stupidity. It assumes so many things about pufferfish and evolution and their desire to see scary movies that the mind reels.
I asked her to imagine a theater full of pufferfish the first time there is a scary scene.
I asked her to remember what pufferfish do when they get scared.
Suddenly all those comfy seats are no longer occupied.
She soaked it all in. It took a moment and I could see her mind struggling to remove itself from the mire.
Instead of laughing it off or even calling local authorities to warn them that there was a madman on the loose she simply closed her eyes and imagined a theater full of puffed up pufferfish. Returning to their seats would be a lengthy process. Snacks will have been spilled. Chaos would reign and all the while the movie is still playing.
Slowly she asked the first of a dozen questions.
“How would they hold their snacks?”
In every picture I’ve ever seen of her there is a glint in her eyes that seems to ask the question “How do pufferfish hold their snacks in the theater?” I think she likes me because I believe I am the only one who has ever seen that particular glint for what it is.
To begin answering that question we had to tackle the physics behind a pufferfish theater. Location. Construction. The intelligence not only to build it but overcome the stigma of puffing up in front of their friends. Would a fish this smart mind watching a scary movie knowing that eventually they would puff?
“Get back to the snack question” she politely prodded, knowing I was grasping at straws and boxes of candy in trying to come up with an answer that met her high standards.
“Would pufferfish mind netting being placed overhead so that they didn’t float all over the theater?”
She was nice enough to ask another question. This one I handled in a graceful and thought-out manner.
“Of course not. They know that they are in for a good puffing. The netting will help them re-take their seats more quickly when they are done deflating.”
Things inflate and deflate but I’ve never heard of anything flating. I was going to mention it but for the moment she was lost in thought.
She stood near the edge of my bed, her back to the door.
She avoided any mention of what would scare a pufferfish in the first place. Something as simple as a shark or would it take a machete-wielding mackerel to rattle the average pufferfish? I was dying to delve into that very topic but she was having none of it.
“Would they rate the movie by how likely the viewer is to puff up? Perhaps the number of times in the film the fish was expected to lose it enough to puff?”
I asked her again if she thought a pufferfish would even like to be scared into puffing up. She answered that this was one of the givens in my idea. We assume this race of highly intelligent fish enjoy going to the theater and being scared. Take away this premise and the whole thing collapses upon itself. Challenge the fact that an arothron hispidus would mind getting scared enough to puff up unpleasant and you are left with a sentence that is possibly one of the dumbest things ever stated aloud.
I really liked this girl. The clarity of her imagination and the short skirts she usually worse to visit.
“Are we assuming that pufferfish are the only intelligent fish or can we add a wrinkle that some other fish actually builds these theaters for them?”
She mentions that because she then went on to suggest that perhaps these other fish are the ones actually getting pleasure from the pufferfish puffing up during scary movies. Perhaps these fish actually watch the pufferfish watch the movie and roar with laughter every time the entire theater suddenly explodes with puffed up pufferfish. They then share it on their Instagram account with everyone they know with titles like “Pufferfish watch The Ring.”
Trying to keep her on topic I simply answered that of course pufferfish are the only ones intelligent enough to build their theaters.
“Ok. Well… can popcorn pop under water?”
Suddenly an orderly walked into the room with my medications and right through her. She gasped a little then like so much mist she was cleaved in two and melted away.
I really miss her.