The Vicar of Longborough: Of Bishops and Koi

[This is a teaser and and the first part of the second episode of The Vicar of Longborough Series. The first episode: The Vicar of Longborough: High Desert Landing includes the incineration of a koi pond and the alpha koi named Steve. Episode #2 begins with  Fr. Grant Stone’s dream. Officer Katrina Escalante is the Longborough PD officer who interviewed Stone the night prior.   SP]


koi with open mouthThe black dark, black as the moonless night, enveloped me. Suspended in time and space, I existed there, immobile, unable to move-vulnerable. a greenish hue appeared from out of the depth that surrounded me. It grew and neared me. The hue became a swirl, the swirl became a wave, and the wave became discernible and frightening. It moved toward me, then away, then to my side, then away, as if the Green Hornet couldn’t make up his mind about what to do next and Kato was nowhere to be found. It was a freakish, underwater roller coaster ride which left a sizable green vapor trail-no insignificant thing given that my dream was underwater.

There I floated, suspended, untethered yet unmoved. I moved no muscle. I took no breath (not that impressive given my aquatic submersion). I felt as if I were in suspended animation, the kind necessary for deep space travel and subject to the mischief of grumpy space fiends with saliva trouble   Yet, I remained conscious, senescent. I had awareness as the green wave came closer.

At first, it circled me, then it coiled itself around me, like a rope in a cartoon, raveling itself up the damsel in distress or the errant priest with substance abuse problems. Then it slowed. I could see them individuate from the collective underwater vapor trail they traveled in. What I saw horrified me and I knew at that moment, I had come to my end of my thirty-seven years.

Some small, some large-all mean and irritated- hundreds of angry koi surrounded me. When they dropped out of warp swim, after they coiled around me like a boa around its prey, they began to circle me, the way Hollywood warpath Indians circled the helpless and huddled wagon train, crying out in a undiscernible Native American dialect, “How’s your Manifest Destiny working out now, bitches?”

The koi were angry, as angry as I had ever seen koi. They made a large, green ring around me, some swam clockwise, the others counter clock wise. It was an extraordinary sight at first, and helped take my mind off my impending death. Pond fish successfully choreographed a synchronized swim, like one merry-go-round inside another, each traveling in the opposite direction, counter balancing centrifugal force, finding harmony and balance. But the koi had visited me not for a physics experiment, they came to capture me, intent on taking their revenge for what I had done to their clan the night prior. The balanced circle tightened.

A few at a time, several fish left the circle and torpedoed me with their angry koi snouts. More and more  left their green gyroscope and attacked me, over and over! I braced for my end, began to pray, and thought on my dear mother. Then I noticed something. The pelting koi snouts, tiny and targeted, massaged my skin. It felt like pencil eraser acupuncture in a hot tub. I began to enjoy the assault. Some of the koi, unintentionally of course, even bounced off most of my pressure points, releasing a robust supply of dopamine into my blood stream. Pond fish, blinded by hate and vengeance and intent on my destruction, were instead giving me a wet dream.

After the koi plowed into me they attempted to return to the whirling koi gyro-circle. Problem was- and this explains how the attack ultimately failed- the koi, after they peeled off the collective and motored into me, lost their orientation and forgot which way the green ring circulated. So caught up in their vengeful rage, they attempted to merge with the swarm but quickly discovered it moved the opposite way they swam. They discovered the hard way that one doesn’t enter the freeway via the off ramp. When they attempted to reenter the swarm, the centrifugal forced of the well balanced koi doughnut sent them flying (metaphorically speaking) into dark, mossy oblivion where they swam around semi-conscious wondering what the fuck just happened.