A F.I.S.H. Tale From On High, by Don A. McKay

On a recent Friday
afternoon, the Lord and some of his Joint Chief Angels were sitting around
during their weekly T.G.I.F. meeting where they hashed over the week’s events
down on Earth.  The Lord likes to have
these semi-informal rap sessions, where He can get both a debriefing and a
consensus discussion on how to proceed on the seemingly endless holes the
earthlings seem to dig for themselves.
They took turns around the table, reporting on the events of
the week, which included some heated discussion on Iraq
and even some talk about the hurricanes. 
Then Florian, a junior staff member, whose area of responsibility as a
beginner was to watch over social foibles, spoke up as his turn came around.
“My Lord, and honorable staff members,” he said, “I must
report on a strange event that is unfolding down in the State of Alaska.”
“What, again?” said the Lord, remembering the many crises in
that most beautiful of states.  “What are
they up to this time?”
 “A most preposterous
confrontation, indeed, my Lord,” said Florian, thumbing through his notes.  “They are fighting over fish.”
The Lord cocked an eyebrow. 
“Ah, I remember.  Which country is
it now that is invading the offshore stocks?”
“It is not as before, Your Holiness,” said Florian.  “They are fighting among themselves, like
hyenas over carrion, like shoppers at a January 2nd discount
sale.”  Florian was warming to his
subject.  The group looked at him
expectantly, so he continued. “It seems the worm is turning, if you will pardon
an earthly expression. Those who seek the fish for recreation have
traditionally been allowed only two percent of the total and are now seeking
five percent.  And those who harvest the
fish for profit have been allowed 98% until this confrontation.”
The Lord, who has considerable experience in these matters,
wanted to get to the bottom of the controversy and not spend all afternoon on
one subject, for there were many other weighty issues to be dealt with.  He asked Florian who it was that legally
owned the fish and how many fisherpeople were seeking them.
Florian punched in numbers on his laptop.  “Well, Your Holiness, that is what is
preposterous.  It seems that there are
about 200,000 resident earthlings seeking the fish for recreation, not counting
those who come from afar as visitors, which is another 100,000.  And on the other side, the ones who are
getting 98%, there are about 1500 earthlings who are seeking the fish for
“Verily,” said the Lord. 
“A most indefensible position. 
But, again, I ask, to whom did I give dominion over these fish?”
 “The fish are owned
by the people of the state of Alaska,”
said Florian, looking up from the computer screen.
“Then, what is the problem?” said the Lord, cutting to the chase.  “The situation is patently obvious.  The percentages should be reversed entirely
to be just and fair.  Who are these folks
and how has this inequity developed?”
“Through custom,” Florian answered.  “Custom and politics.  And as I said, My Lord, it seems the winds of
change are freshening.”
There was a murmuring among the staff members and after a
few moments, Aloysious, the senior spokesman, stood and addressed the group.
“With your permission, Your Eminence, I must confess to a
certain frustration with some of our subjects below.  Do they not know of the Doctrine of
Fairness?  Are they blind to the
potential backlash of their greed?  And
can they not see that to fight on such a small battlefield, they may well lose
the war?  I fear we must intercede.”  He paused for reaction.
“But who can do it?” 
said Florian.  “He must be strong
and effective in order to clear such foggy minds, to reprogram the many years
of bloat and arrogance.”
The Lord interjected as Chair of the meeting. “I thought
briefly about contracting with the Fallen One for such a challenge, for even
with his evil ways, he still has been an effective influence upon mankind.  But upon reflection, I sadly fear that he has
already been there doing his work.  We
shall put out a call for volunteers throughout the Kingdom for one of us to
return to Earth to give advice and counsel to the wayward ones with profit
motives.  We must seek a counselor angel
who can effectively penetrate those with extraordinary cranial thickness and
put them on the path of righteousness. 
For, even if the Devil made them do it, there is hope for their
He smiled at his group and it was good.
 Don McKay lives with his wife in their home on
Kenai River in Soldotna.  He says he wrote
this satire after a particularly acrimonious series of meetings during the
bi-annual  Alaska Fish Board hearings
regarding Cook Inlet several years ago, a time when both the commercial fishing
segment and the sport fishing constituents each proposed regulation changes
allowing more harvest allocation for Cook Inlet salmon. 
When not chasing his
twin muses of sport fishing or creative writing, he spends the remainder of his
free time earning a living as an owner/broker of his real estate company, McKay
Investment Co.  He has written two books
to date, a memoir “Life in the
Crass Lane” and a 500 page epistle outlining their
experiences and observations during their 14 years of living in
Alaska, called “Footloose in Alaska.”
Looking for a
publishing venue? Submit your original prose or poetry (800 words or less) to
Alaska Shorts.  
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