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Third Place: Laura Chu, “Clean or Cloudy, It’s All Relative”

“Fry these days! Maybe he had been exposed to too many pesticides as an egg.”

By Laura Chu

Two fish are swimming in a river. The older one asks, “How’s the water?” The younger one says, “I don’t know if it’s clean or cloudy.”

“I don’t know if it’s clean or cloudy.” The older fish couldn’t believe what he was hearing. His eyes bulged as he looked at the younger fish. His mouth opened and closed. What kind of response was that?

He shook his head. Fry these days! Maybe he had been exposed to too many pesticides as an egg.

“I mean, this water could be clean or cloudy.” The younger fish’s voice interrupted his thoughts. “It’s all relative. If we’re comparing it to water from a spring, then it’s cloudy, but next to a swamp, it’s clean. Really, we can’t say how anything really is. I mean, compared to you, I’m young, but compared to an egg, I’m old.”

The older fish snorted. “What about fishing? That is completely evil, and you can’t say that that’s relative.”

“Well, actually, it is.” The older fish’s eye bulged out even further at this. “I mean, the fisherman benefits from catching us fish.”

“Well, why don’t you go ahead and go benefit a fisherman then.” He swam away from the younger fish in disgust, muttering under his breath. “Back in my day, water was clean or it was cloudy. None of this relative nonsense…”

On the river bank, one man placed the squiggling worm on his hook and cast the line into the river. He turned towards the other man.“How’s the water?”

The other man looked glumly back. “Same as always. Lousy.”