The man bought the house because of the pond round the back. This wasn’t one of those artificial ponds that some landscaper sets up to make your garden look nice. It was an honest-to-gosh pond, naturally occurring and all that.
The trouble was, although the pond was ideal in almost every way – it had rocks, fish, dirt, and various flotsam – the man thought that the colour of the water should be murky green, not the clear blue it was. The colour reminded him of swimming pools and the Mediterranean, not a proper pond, despite the fact that it was a proper pond. This authentic pond looked inauthentic, which disturbed the man.
“It’s not right,” thought the man.
But he figured it shouldn’t be too hard to change the pond’s colour. It was blue now, so if he added some yellow to it, it should go green, right? He consulted his colour wheel and saw that it was so.
So every morning he would get up early, mix a pitcher of lemonade, and dump it into the pool. He figured it would take a while to change colour, but he was okay with that.
A week later, though, he got impatient and started dumping the frozen lemonade concentrate directly into the pool. “Maybe that will speed things up,” he thought.
* * *
“Fuck,” thought the fish as it barely managed to dodge the cold cylindrical lump that plunged into the pool. “What the hell is that?”
The fish swam towards it and away from it several times, as fish tend to do, sometimes changing direction just when you thought you knew where it was headed. As the cold lump slowly dissolved, the fish drank some water and got a taste of it.
“Not this again! What is this stuff? Seriously.”
* * *
The lemonade didn’t work. Not fast enough for the man’s satisfaction, anyway. And he decided that he was spending too much money on lemonade. So he decided instead to urinate into the pool whenever he could. And sometimes when he was in town and had to go – maybe at the mall, for example – he cut short his visit and drove home to spend a penny in the pond, rather than waste the precious free yellow on the sewers.
He found it strangely satisfying to stand outside, feet planted in the grass, and spray his urine into the pond. He might have used the word “primal” to describe his satisfaction, the way he felt connected to nature, but he was a man of few words and not one to describe things. He thought description was a waste of time. You could tell how stuff was.
* * *
“Fuck,” thought the fish. “If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. What’s up with this animal?”
The fish was entirely used to having to taste its own urine and feces in the pond’s water, but it wasn’t fond of being saddled with the land animal’s urine, too. It wasn’t fair.
“Fuck off!” thought the fish as the animal’s urine bubbled down from the surface yet again.
* * *
“Still nothing!” thought the man, squinting at the pond water. He raised a fist. “That does it!” He shook the fist.
So he went to the store and bought a bucket of yellow paint. “Yes,” he thought with satisfaction. “Finally, I’ll have my green pond!”
He watched the fish swim lazily around the pond as he held the bucket high. The pond was lovely. But not lovely in quite the right way.
So he tilted the bucket and poured the thick yellow into the pond. It swirled in the water and looked kind of like marble. It was quite striking, but it wasn’t mixing properly and causing the desired effect, so the man went to get a stick so that he could stir it all together.
* * *
Nasty globs of yellow pushed their way down in swirling, stretching tendrils. The fish swam away in alarm. What was the animal doing now? Why was he so obsessed with doing strange things? Why couldn’t he just relax and eat or have sex or something?
It got worse, though. Suddenly a big stick stabbed into the pond and began shoving circles into the water, causing an uproar of dirt, rocks, and globs of yellow, rocketing around the fish, pushing him to and fro, forcing him to lurch and bang into rocks, coating him with the thick yellow glue.
He could see the shimmering, blobby form of the animal above the surface, attached to the stick. Fucker.
* * *
A day later, the man went outside to look at his pond. The yellow hadn’t dissolved overnight. It still hung around in globs, although the previous day’s stirring had made the globs fairly small. The man looked closer. Floating amongst the globs were several fish, floating upside down. Somehow they had died. Curious. And unfortunate – the man would have to buy more fish. He sighed.
Not one prone to waste, the man reached in and removed the dead fish. He carried them inside and rinsed them off. He put them on a cutting board, cut off their heads and tails, and skinned the remaining flesh. Then he put them in a frying pan with a bit of butter and olive oil. Once they were nicely browned, he dripped a little lemon juice on them, toasted some bread and put the fish on it, sat down, and ate the fish laden toast. It tasted a little funny, so he dolloped on some ketchup.
* * *
Several days later, after the man hadn’t shown up for work or answered the telephone, his employer called the police. They forced their way into his house and found him dead.
As the body was carried away, one officer looked at another and pointed with his thumb at the backyard. “What’s up with the pond in the back?” he said. “Looks pretty gross.”
“Oh yeah?” said the other officer. He wasn’t really listening, though. There was a nice looking girl across the street, and he was imagining having sex with her.