all the humans did was more of the mouth-to-mouth stuff, then the boat began rto rock.
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What the hell’s going on around here?
Bronson (the Big-Mouth Bass), having just stuck his head above the bayou's calm
surface, now stared, even more dumbfounded than usual, at the new arrivals. Why had
those two in that fancy fishing rig slipped past the screen of willow branches and tied
up against the trunk? It was mid-day and too damn hot for any respectable fish to be
feeding. Even the dumbest human must realize that.
He glanced up at his buds, Freddie (the Frog) and Pasquale (the Possum). They had
stopped their eternal bitching about how humans were the only a****ls not required to
have alliterative names. From their usual spot on the lowest limb of a nearby
cypressand were silently studiing this phenomenon.
No one ever said humans were smart, thought Bronson, but he hadn't gotten where he
was by taking them for granted. Maybe the humans were going to fish for crappie. But
that didn't seem likely. Even the dumb, if passionate, Paula (the Perch), wouldn't be
nibbling in this heat, at least not on food.
Bronson was certain there could be no greater calling in life than to be a bass,
especially a big bull bass. However, except for an occasional brief, and exhausting,
leap out of water, being a bass meant your air-world viewing angles were limited. So
he decided to slip over to the cypress and let Freddie and Pasquale fill in any action
he might miss.
From his new vantage point among the cypress roots, he looked up at his two friends
and asked for a report. "They're like, you know, feeding," said Pasquale. He'd spent
time on a hippie commune and found the subject of human food very interesting.
"And drinking something in cans," added Freddie. "It looks like beer. The big guy's on
his third. The little one with the floppy hat is still on number two."
Even from his low angle, Bronson had seen all that and was not impressed. In his
opinion, watching mold grow would have been more exciting. "Is that all? You two long
-winded, worthless excuses for friends are supposed to--."
His diatribe was interrupted by new activity on the boat. The smaller of the two humans
had just removed the big floppy hat. With a shake of the head, a whole bunch of long
dark hair came tumbling down. The longhaired human then turned and gave the big
one a smile that, to Bronson, seemed to make the water even hotter.
There was no doubt, the one with longhair was most definitely a female-type human.
And what a female. Even Bronson, who looked upon all air-breathers with a certain
disdain, was impressed.
The female's smile got even bigger when the big male moved up and sat beside her in
the middle of the boat. No one at the cypress could believe what happened next. The
humans began making like sucker fish, going mouth-to-mouth while the male messed
with her top.
When their mouths finally parted, the female gave the male a look that made Bronson's
tail curl, and removed the shirt. The male seemed to like what was underneath. At first
he had his hands all over two bumps he'd spotted. Then he leaned over and did
something like the mouth-to-mouth thing, but on them. Judging by the look on her face,
the female seemed to enjoy all this.
"Psst. Hey, Bronson." It was Pasquale.
"Yeah, what is it?" Not wanting to miss any of this odd behavior by humans, he hated
to look away.
"You won't believe what else that dude's up to."
"Wadda you mean?" This time Bronson's curiosity got the better of him and he looked
up. Pasquale was hanging by his tail. That wasn't so unusual considering his specie.
But on his face was a grin unlike any ever seen on a possum. His forepaws were busy
doing something Bronson felt certain he didn't want to know about.
"Pasquale, what in the name of Moby Dick are you talking about?"
The possum continued watching for a moment, then he glanced down. "Man, that dude
is like some k** unwrapping a birthday present. Check it out."
Bronson looked back. The female was standing while the male shucked off her pants.
The boat rocked a bit. But she put her hands on his shoulders and they did more of
that mouth-to-mouth action until things settled down.
There wasn't a whole lot of the female, but what there was seemed to please the male.
And Bronson had to admit, she did have a certain slender, symmetrical appeal.
It came as another surprise when she lowered herself in front of the male. After some
more mouth-to-mouth, her head vanished from Bronson's view. "What's going on, you
two? I can't see a damn thing but that shit-eating grin on his face."
"Well," Freddie paused to clear his throat, a nervous habit endemic to his species,
then started again. "Well, not much, really, she's just doing something with her hands.
No, wait. Now she's holding this thing. I swear, it looks like an albino snake."
Bronson sensed he was being given the business. "Bullshit."
"No shit," insisted Freddie. "She's doing something to it with her hands and it's gotten
bigger. What the...? Okay, I'm not making this up, I promise. But she just bent over and
slid that snake-looking thing into her head."
He looked down at Bronson. "You think this is like some Praying Mantis deal? You
know, the female eating the male? Damn, I hope not. That's one bug that creeps me
"How the hell should I know? One less fisherman is fine by me—cuts pollution and the
number of hooks. But what's happening now?"
"Well, it doesn't look like she's having him for lunch, after all. I mean, she's bobbing,
her head up-and-down. And when she's up, you can still see whatever it is, only now it
looks all wet and shiny."
None of this made any sense to Bronson, who prided himself on his knowledge of
human behavior. In the bayou, it could make the difference between living another day
and becoming a fillet. "Pasquale, is Freddie making this shit up?"
There was no answer. Bronson steeled himself and looked upward once more.
Freddie was sprawled across the limb with his eyes bulging and his tongue hanging
out. It would have been a pitiful sight under any circumstance, but it was especially so
when the tongue in question belonged to a frog.
Bronson felt a bit embarrassed and looked over at Pasquale. The possum's paws
were moving even faster and his grin was, if possible, even bigger. "Pasquale, you
pervert! What's going on in the boat? I can't see a thing except the male, and I'm tired
of looking at his stupid grin."
"Easy there, b*****r Bass. It's just like old Freddie told you. Mellow out and go with
stroke, so to speak. Oh, yes."
"Hey, you guys," Freddie croaked. "Look, now."
There was no question where they should look. Bronson turned toward the boat. The
female was standing with her hands on the male's shoulders. With slow, careful
movements, she straddled him and then eased down over the snake, which by now
was more pink than white. It soon vanished from sight and they were sitting face-to-
At first, all the humans did was more of the mouth-to-mouth stuff. When the boat
became still, the female began making small, up-and-down movements. The boat
again started rocking, but soon the female's motions and those of the boat were in a
sort of harmony.
"I don't know what they're doing," said Freddie, "but I do like the show."
Pasquale groaned his agreement.
Bronson had to admit the two in the boat looked like the happiest humans he'd ever
seen out fishing. The female was leaning back and seemed to be looking for
something up in the limbs of the willow tree. Her long hair swayed in rhythm with the
other movements. Meanwhile, the male was doing a mouth-to-mouth type thing on one
of her bumps.
"Hey there, you big bass. What's happening?" The unexpected greeting startled
Bronson. It was Paula (the Perch), who was looking great.
"Uh, hi, Paula, just trying to figure out what those humans on the boat are doing.
Thought it might be important. I mean, you can't learn too much about them." Why did
he feel like a fingerling watching all the action during spawning season?
A loud groan and a louder screech came from the boat. The male and female were
holding each other close and shaking. But they didn't seem to be in pain. In fact, they
looked very happy.
Paula brushed up against him. "Oh, I know all about that. I was spawned in a lake near
a college campus, remember? It's the way humans, you know, do it."
"Sure," she languidly stroked his side with a pliant fin, "you know...it."
"Oh, IT. Of course. So, what do you say about a little demonstration?"
"Since we're not air-breathers, that'd be a real challenge, silly. But come with me and
I'll try to give you the idea."
As they began to swim away, Freddie managed to ask, "Where you two going?"
"Off to do a little research on how humans do it," said Bronson, before slipping
beneath the surface and following Paula toward an especially cool, secluded nook.
"Fin-tastic," said Pasquale. His paws now hung limply at his side. The grin on his face
bore a surprising resemblance to that of the male on the boat. "That's fin-fucking-
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