Cod Bones

Arthur had spent many years of his life pondering over his existence on earth. He would be making peanut butter toast and suddenly the thought would hit him like a huge blow in the chest and sit heavy on his shoulders for a while. Was he really alive to be putting pureed peanuts onto a bulbous lump of yeast and flour? Surely not. That would be ludicrous. Arthur was sure the burdening weight of these thoughts were the cause of his ever-increasing hunched shoulders. Soon he would be staring himself in the chest if he didn't sort out a solution. He had previously tried explaining this to three separate health professionals, the most progress being made was a referral to a psychologist. 

When she was alive, his wife Susanna often took the same approach to Arthur's constant conflict with his posture, telling him it came with age. He was only 47 when she had died; she was nearing 50. Her shoulders were fine. Sometimes he would hold up a bone he'd found in his cod-supper she'd prepare for him; the pale, brittle cartilage as fine as a single hair. He would ask Susanna whether his bones would one day reflect that of a fish's. She told him to Grow Up and to Eat His Supper Before It Gets Cold. He would reply that the bones felt like needles in his mouth. Take Them Out she said, and they would continue their dinner in silence until both plates were empty and their stomachs consequently full.

Arthur thought about a cod's skeletal strength as he waited on the platform at 9.27 am. He wondered if fish ever got existential thoughts and his shoulders gave him a subconscious shrug. His train was due at 9.22 am, precisely five minutes in the past. He wondered if in a parallel universe the 9.22 train to Dunfermline was five minutes early that day.

It was within these exact five minutes that Arthur Crab made the executive decision to find his purpose in life. Even if he reached the conclusion he had been put upon this planet, Earth, to spread condiments, he would at least do so with a straighter back. And that was worth it. 

The End

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