The Chronicles of Mr. O’Connor (Pt. 1) – Short Story # 18

Mr. O’Connor came to the realization one Friday afternoon, while sipping his coffee in the drawing room of his home, that he had turned into a fish. He came to this conclusion after seeing fins in the place where his hands were supposed to be, as they reached for the mug. Perhaps he had always been a fish, or at least a fish for today only, and only now came to know of it because of his paying attention to it. Regardless, Mr. O’Connor was quite surprised at this discovery.

He finished his coffee and sighed, time for work. He made his way up the stairs, though unsure if such a feat would be possible, but he was pleasantly surprised to retain this small dignity. He returned to his bedroom and attempted best he could to put on his suit. The blue one seemed fitting for a day such as this, and perhaps a green tie too. But this proved to be more difficult than he anticipated, the lack of fingers made tying said tie unlikely. Barely managing to button his pants, which hardly fit him right anymore, only needing one of the leg holes, and being oblong shaped, this too was more difficult than he had anticipated.

But he must wear something. The partners undoubtedly would reject his present attire. He wondered if any of his books on etiquette included chapters on this sort of thing and of what would be socially appropriate for his present state and impending appointment. Oh and he severely doubted his new shoes would fit this new tail, he’d have to return them immediately–always a pain they make it to bring a thing back. But this unfortunate turn of events would not be the ruin of his morning, he was a stronger man than that.

After trying nearly every suit he owned, Mr. O’Connor finally settled on placing himself in his finest bathrobe and hanging a yellow tie around his neck. His father had often told him never to leave the house without a tie around your neck, and this is perhaps the most fitting time to remember his advice. A tie makes the man a man, and he certainly needed to be a man today, or at least appear as one.

Mrs. O’Connor was in the living room preparing the children for their day at school. Mr. O’Connor flopped by, still adjusting himself to the fishy way of doing things, and wondered if she would notice his new form or not. He said, so long dear, and without even looking up she returned the sentiment. But his children noticed. Jim and Alana looked up with awe in their eyes and yelled out Daddy’s a fish! Daddy’s a fish! Their mother made a second look at her husband and then returned to preparing the children’s bags, saying That’s nice Jimmy. Is he now sweet Alana? She hadn’t noticed or cared to say even if she did.

Mr. O’Connor took his briefcase in his mouth, the only suitable place for it at the moment, and hobbled his way to the car. Oh yes, he wondered how he might operate it. Well, maybe a cab would be better until he adjusts more fully to this new form of body. He would have to practice the footwork needed to drive stick, or perhaps just buy one of those new automatics and make life easier on himself.

He hurried back inside to call a cab as his wife called out, Did you forget something? No no, just calling a cab. What’s wrong with the car? Oh just engine troubles. Heard a sound and I didn’t want to risk it. A sound? Yes, just a sound. Well, alright.

He tried without much success to remember the number for Sam’s cab service, and it was out of the question to find the number in the telephone book on the table. Dear, could you tell me, what was Sam’s number again? We programed it in the phone, don’t you remember? It’s number 8 on the dial.

Now here was the challenge of the morning. He at once had to turn his body at the right angle in which both his eye, now inconveniently on such a horrendous angle from the other eye, and his fin, at yet another impossible placement, would be able to see and reach in unison the number 8 on the dial and successfully turn it too. The first try he was unsuccessful. With a grunt he tried again and this time succeeded in turning the dial, though he turned the wrong number. Unaware until over the line, which he tied to his head so it would not go anywhere, the lack of shoulders been a great hindrance to telephone conversations, he heard the voice of Mrs. Kennedy, his wife’s only friend.

Oh hello Bonny, what a treat to hear from you! Is ol’ Jack finally gone for the day? Hello, Bonny, no, this is Jack. Sorry but I was trying to dial Sam. …Oh that’s quite alright, have a nice day Mr. O’Connor.

I never did like her. Try again. I’m pushing the limit of how late one can be. Must hurry. Dialing again in this twisted position Mr. O’Connor nearly slipped on his fin, still getting the hang of things, but in the chaos, quite miraculously, he was able to dial Sam. But the shame was the phone had unlocked itself from his head, slippery as you might expect it to be. He heard over the phone, Yes hello, this is Sam of Sam’s cab service, who is this? Is this you Billy? Haven’t I told ya to stop calling here. Calling out in a loud voice Mr. O’Connor said, Sam it’s me Jack, please send a boy out to my house. Oh yes sir, I will sir, right away. Thank you, Sam.

Mr. O’Connor failed to hang up the line, exhausted already from the acrobatics he performed to make such a call. But when he tried to the most unfortunate event yet to take place on this already quite unfortunate morning happened, he spilled a bit of coffee onto his tie. Gosh dangit, this is my good tie too. But with that he lost concentration and his balance with it, and Mr. O’Connor slipped on his fin and fell to the ground, flopping, and unable to get up.

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