The Red Devil
“Those plastic bags look like they should have Goldfish in them!” PP exclaims as she watches DW dump another bag of water on the redwood slats of the sauna. She’s pissed off in a quiet way. PP can tell. She’s not smiling. She doesn’t chuckle at the Goldfish remark.
She’s still mad about last week and the Goo Blame Frenzy. This washing off of the redwood slats must be a reaction to whatever happened with the Girl Fight that PP and DL never quite understood.
Stalking out of the sauna, the now empty plastic bag clenched in her hand, DW barely turns around to wish everyone a good night.
Damn. There’s some bad mojo goin on still!
“Do you have fish?” DL ventures shyly, spying a sparkle of fish response in Smells Like Roast Chicken Woman. How DL knows this, PP can’t fathom.
Call it Fish Intuition.
“Why, yes I do! How did you know?” SLRCW beams, shifting her sparkling salt vault mass to avoid the dripping water from DW’s water cleansing festival.
“I don’t know,” DL murmurs, “I just saw something and….”
”I do. I do!”
”What kind of fish do you have?” PP asks, realizing that she’ll have no clue about the answer. Fish she doesn’t know. Ask her about cats and she can tell you every breed in the book. Tortoiseshells. Russian Blues. Rag Dolls. Himalayans. Abyssinians. Somalis.
She’s about to find out about!
“I have me one Red Devil” Fish Woman chuckles, “he a Real Aggressive Fish. And I also have a bunch of Corrines….”
PP knows that she’s got the name of the second kind of fish wrong. She’s too focused on the Red Devil for godsakes!
“Does the Red Devil eat the other fish?” she asks.
“Oh, yeah, he do if He get HUNGRY. But I try not to let that happen. I give him lots of Pellets and Guppies.”
PP nods, stricken. Aren’t guppies the ones that turn into cute little frogs? Damn! Is the Red Devil worth sacrificing frogs for?
PP doesn’t know what the Pellets are, but it doesn’t sound like they’re alive. She hopes this is the first course of feeding, but has a feeling that the guppies might be the preferred delectable for the Red Devil.
And what does the Red Devil look like she wonders, now that she knows how evil he is cuz he eats innocent little guppies!
Well, duh, he must be red. And he must have horns. And he must have a big mean mouth with lots of deadly sharp fish teeth to munch up the poor little guppies.
Oh! PP can’t write about it anymore. It’s all too horrible. She sees the scenario now. The plastic bag filled with unsuspecting little guppies being poured into the aquarium and then the Red Devil swooping in and scarfing them down before they even have a chance to swim away. But of course they can’t escape cuz they’re in the goddamn fish tank, being terrorized by a Red Devil.
Hell, it’s as bad as driving down 880 in the 103 degree heat and having Big Rigs ram up on your rear end before swerving around you, leaving you in a cloud of putrid exhaust!
Later, in the shower, PP spies Fish Woman soaping up down the aisle from her and can’t resist asking, “What’s your Red Devil’s name?”
“Big Red!” she beams. “It just me and him! Just the two of us! That’s all!”
And PP has to wonder, what’s it like to be a Fish Woman who comes to the Y, salts up for hours in the sauna telling stories of her Red Devil and then going home to her Big Red at the end of the night?
It might be just fine.
If you’ve got a little bit of the Devil in you.
Which, PP is certain, Fish Woman does.