Last Friday we went to a local market to buy fish and vegetables for dinner. The fish swim about in plastic tubs. You see the fish, choose your fish, and watch as it goes from fish to food, the fishmonger quickly stunning then cleaning and scaling your fish, leaving the head on because the cheeks and eyes are prized. Puddles of stringy viscera lie about on the floor, which shimmers with scales, and pale-red water washes around the soles of your shoes.
Walking home, the bag with the fish twitched in my hand, the plastic snapping. I loosened my grip, dangling the bag from my fingertips by it’s bow-tied handles . The bag shuddered and I could see the fish body press against the white bag, turning it nearly translucent for a moment.
-Jesus. It’s still alive.
-No, it’s dead. They do that.
I had seen the knife open the belly and a line of guts drop out but somewhere deep in the brain the fish was still swimming lazy circles in its little tub. I thought of the scene in Blue Velvet in the apartment after Frank has rampaged. The dirty cop in the yellow suit stands by the light, back of his head blown out. He spasms and knocks the light over. Always creeps me out.
Later, I thanked the fish: it was delicious.
Here’s the trailer for Mario Bava’s Carnage, aka Bay of Blood, aka Last Twitch of the Death Nerve, one of the great movie titles, up there with Branded to Kill, The Bad Sleep Well, and my favourite, Rebels of the Neon God.
Originally posted May 24, 2011