27 May 2005

Violence on the low seas

Aaron and Bob both grew tropical water plants and the animals which went with them.

They were both fanatics, friendly rivals to produce the most splendid bonsai sea grass, the most vivid sea cucumbers and so on. But where the rubber really met the road was in animal wavy things: Aaron specialised in growing iridescent sea anemones and Bob in splendid coral fronds.

All went well until one day Aaron stumbled across some biological additives which made his anemones glow in the dark, and began winning shows with this feature, which Bob regarded as a cheap trick.

The competitiveness did stimulate Bob’s imagination, and through research he was able to produce coral fronds meters long and in all the colours of the rainbow, including a radiant deep purple which Pratchett fans described as Octarine, but Aaron’s gimmick kept winning him trophies. Their friendship foundered on the rocks of jealousy. Bob became reclusive, snubbing the shows and carrying on his own research privately in his shed.

Finally one day Bob’s rage overwhelmed him, and armed with a flatbed truck loaded with aquaria, he coasted onto Aaron’s lawn, broke into Aaron’s house and stole the anemones.

It wasn’t difficult to pick the culprit, so the police, with show officials accompanying them as expert witnesses, executed a search warrant on Bob’s house and found the stolen coelenterates.

As Bob was being led away in handcuffs, the show officials were standing, stunned, by his tanks and admiring his immense and gorgeous coral fronds, shaking their heads in puzzlement. “What’s the problem?” asked one of the officers.

“We don’t understand it!” the nearest official said, “Not at all!” The other shrugged and said, “With fronds like these, who needs anemones?”

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