By Cameron Thomas Snyder
There’s this buzz coming from upstream about our brother, Gill. They’re saying he’s not really our brother brother, as in the natural sense of kinship, but more like he was modified from the hatch to seem like our brother.
Sure, the dude’s always had this bug-eyed VACANCY thing going on, no one can deny it, and he did morph from minnow to full-size in, like, a month, but I didn’t up and think, oh, damn, I bet this guy’s very coding sequence was altered prenatally in a lab. I mean, not one’s first logical assumption about one’s brother’s eccentricities.
But so now here it’s got me thinking, hold up: if Gill’s DNA was modified at the hands of man, in an experiment to propagate our numbers at a quicker rate, especially during times when normally we don’t spawn, for them to more easily and cost-effectively consume our meat, what if my genetic code has been fucked with also? I’m thinking, are these thoughts even really real, or am I more like kin to the Swedish Fish?
I hear something like this and all of a sudden I start questioning things, little things, not only about my own identity, but about everyone I’ve ever known. I become increasingly paranoid of artificial entities standing in for those who I initially assumed were members of my own family, and then I have to ask: If our brother was in fact genetically modified, does that mean he is less than family, even after all this time with me thinking he’s family?
Some are saying he’s a triploid, meaning he’s equipped with an extra set of chromosomes, which would mean he’s closely related to a seedless watermelon. I mean, c’mon. Gill’s a wildcard, but he’s no fruit.
So I’ve been monitoring my arcs lately to make certain I’m not lagging. Rumor has it that these GM salmon lack the stamina of us Alaskan wild-types due to some sort of muscle fiber deficiency, and I gotta say, I’m somewhat concerned. Today, while flopping high above the river, I notice that I am, compared to Alexander to my left and Stephan to my right, flopping not so high above the river after all. Turns out, my arcs are in fact sagging. Nobody mentions anything when I break from the group early, but I know what those dudes are thinking.
To counter these feelings of inadequacy, I jet over to my natal stream and look for a lady to release my gametes with, but lo, no lady is willing to tell me how the caddisfly are tasting, let alone are they willing to mate. Fine, I think, I’m surprisingly not in the mood, and also I am not yet willing to die for the sake of procreation. And then it hits me: I am not in the mood/not yet willing to die for the sake of procreation because I was not created naturally, therefore I do not contain the genetic instinct to continue my own species, and these here ladies know of and want nothing to do with my defective sex tools caused by my unnatural hatching. So here I have this big, profound revelation like I know exactly what my purpose is, like I’ve been stuck by the hot, electric harpoon of the All Knowing.
I jet over to the No-No zone where all the humans stand around like dopes in idiot boots, swinging around their idiot wands, and I home in on one idiot in particular, but I make dumb, make little glup-glup motions with my kype like I don’t know the deal. And as the fly comes plopping down by my head, I feel a blip of solidarity with this artificial insect, this thing manufactured to serve a single purpose and to be discarded and forgotten once that purpose is served.
Kinda funny, I think. Another brother.
Then I take the motherfucking bait.