CACHALOT
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.

 

The Cay - "Cachalot". I caught the fish the day I met you. Margaret introduced us on the road. "Alan, this is Harriet." Hello, I said. When I went down to the lake later I thought about you. Pretty, I thought. I cast my line and waited, and in time ate my lunch, and in time looked out over the lake to the sinking sun. That's when I caught the fish. He didn't even fight. He leapt right onto my hook. I took him home. I laid him on the stump outside to clean and gut, but I couldn't do it. He had such eyes. Cachalot have eyelids; they blink. The fish blinked and winked at me, kindly. I brought the fish inside and filled a fruit-bowl with water and put him inside. He swam. He didn't swim much but he swam. He swam in the middle of the bowl, big enough to fill the whole thing, just swimming in place. He was the colour of buried gold - black like the soil, gold like the gold. He blinked and winked at me.

I saw you again. At the bakery, once outside the church, once walking with Ferris. Then Margaret had everyone over for St. Stephen's Day and you passed me the sweet potatoes and I hope I thanked you. I was very busy looking into your eyes.

I don't know why I decided you had to see the fish. The cachalot. I'm not sure what he did or said that made me think you needed to see him. He was the colour of buried gold, big and soft and like a cat - a cat of the sea. He would have lazed in the sun if he weren't a fish. I sat one morning eating my oatmeal, the room dredged in sun, the fish swimming in place, and I decided that I needed to show him to you. That you would appreciate him. That if I could show you this fish then maybe you'd give the likes of me the time of day. You'd understand what I was about.

The cachalot blinked and winked at me.

The next time I saw you, walking home from Luce's, I made sure we talked a bit. And then the following week at the baker's. And then one day you were standing on the road near where I go fishing, almost waiting, and we talked again. I asked you out to supper. We went to Valentino's. You were beautiful, Harriet. You had the fettuccine in rosée sauce and I had the chicken. The next week we went to the café, then to the Blue Moon for Allie's party, and then back to Valentino's again. We had a lovely time, every time. Things were going well. Still, I knew: I just need her to see the cachalot.

It happened one night. I invited you back to my cottage for tea. You say now that you were already in love with me, that the ship had already sailed. You say that, Harriet. But I saw the look on your face when you saw that fish. He blinked at you and you saw him blink and that buried gold cachalot, it did all the wooing.

["Cachalot" is the first song on the first CD that comes with The Lifted Brow 4. Dan talked about this anthology + CDs several months ago, concerning a song written by Neil Gaiman. "Cachalot" is however written and performed by The Cay, the band of our own Jordan Himelfarb & friends. And I bring it up again because now The Lifted Brow is shipping, and it has arrived at my house, and it is a wonderful thing. A little book packed so tight with content - so many dozens of stories and songs squeezed into those onion-skin pages, - and what it holds is so marvellous. Pictures and tales and lullabys. From the experimental fiction of Rick Moody to the eerie work of Frog Eyes' Carey Mercer; from Jordan & Joel's hilarious, absurdist cruise-ship jokes (particularly those concerning Abelard); a million poets and writers and, well, former McSweeney's contributors; and a story by me, too, about the girl who stole the moon. The whole thing is wonderful and I strongly encourage you to buy it.]

Posted by Sean at February 16, 2009 12:15 PM
Comments

another good one.

Posted by presley at February 16, 2009 9:46 PM

Congrats on the Times mention! I saw saidthegramophone on the list and instantly smiled. You guys deserve the recognition and have been one of my favorite blogs ever for a long while now. So thank you for being amazing and inspirational. Really.

Posted by Laura at February 17, 2009 7:57 PM

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

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Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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