CAN YOU BELIEVE IT'S FINALLY HAPPENED!?
Betsy Carter has published a WHOLE NOVEL (ISBN 978-0-385-33977-3) on the subject of Piscatorial Love that treats its subject as an unqualified POSITIVE. It solves the problems of a whole family of Shaved Monkeys, and everyone else they have dealings with, including the staff of a women's fashion magazine in New York, the owner of a café with a clientele made up mostly of carnival employees, and basically the WHOLE STATE OF FLORIDA.
The tale includes one of the commonest, best and most reliable recruiting methods we use. A young mom dunks her infant into a lake, knowing somehow that she will learn to swim ALL ON HER OWN. Although mom left it rather late to get her child started -- swimming is best taught to human NEWBORNS, and this 'yard ape' was 2 years old -- the kid is SWIMMING LIKE A FISH in no time, and complains as long as she lives in her native Bronx, NY that there is NOT ENOUGH WATER IN THE WORLD to satisfy her. Eventually she has an epiphany when her family takes a vacation trip to Weeki Wachi Springs, Florida, and from there she is drawn back irrevocably, LIKE A LEMMING TO THE SEA, to FIND HER DESTINY as an inhabitant of the Living Mermaid City.
CLIFFIE'S NOTES ON THIS MUST-READ, EVEN-BETTER-THAN-REAL NOVEL:
>> I couldn't help noticing what a small role fully aquatic creatures have in this story. Interestingly -- and compellingly -- Carter emphasizes our semi-aquatic operatives all the way through and lumps the humans right in among them, which their own scientists have had a very hard time doing EVEN THOUGH IT'S RIGHT WHERE THE HUMANS BELONG. Not only are the Shaved Monkeys at center stage, but Dolphins, Elephants, Manatees, and Sea Turtles -- and, acting as comic relief, if not an actual funhouse mirror showing the humans what they are leaving behind -- the author throws in a Chimpanzee named LUCY. I'm sure the name is no accident.
>> The fish find their way into the story nevertheless! The central character, a born-again Mermaid, dreams all night long about water and fish. When her roommate in the Mermaid barracks asks her why she was tossing and turning all night, she shrugs and says something to the effect of "Just the usual water stuff." As if they all dreamed that way every night. And then they shower up. And go to work in the water. The whole book goes like that. In my opinion this should tend to make the reading more enjoyable no matter what sort of operative you are: planning, infiltrating, concealment, recruiting, connecting -- fully landfish or fully aquatic -- YOU ARE GOING TO FEEL RIGHT AT HOME READING THIS BOOK.
>> Even the humans who have very little to do with the water are clustered around Weeki Wachi Springs, drawn back again and again like iron filings to a magnet. Or LEMMINGS TO THE SEA. Now that is my idea of a positive message.
>> Most obvious of all, I want to point out to anyone who hasn't noticed it yet that THIS IS NOT A HORROR NOVEL. Piscatorial Love is treated as the nicest thing that could happen to anyone, the factor in this story that corrects all the problems and makes it possible even for the landscum to get their heads straight. IT'S ABOUT TIME someone saw it that way.
>> Even the main character's name is perfect. "Delores," a once-popular name for girls, means "pain" or "sadness." Delores's last name is Walker. Now, remember the Little Mermaid? Once she swapped her fish tail for a pair of legs and started walking, she discovered that it felt as if she were stepping on knives. In this case, as soon as she gets in the water where she belongs, Delores's pain GOES AWAY.
DON'T YOU JUST LOVE HAPPY ENDINGS?