This is a point that's always creased me. For some reason I can suspend disbelief when it comes to a guy talking and breathing underwater and telepathically communicating with starfish, but I've never accepted the idea of a 9 foot seahorse. A 9 foot seahorse named Storm (Junior's was named Imp, FYI). Why a seahorse? Why not something cool like a Great White, or practical like a Hammerhead? We never heard mention of other mega-seahorse, no roving schools of hippocampus gigantus.
Maybe my ire stems from my utter and total fear of being in the water with wildlife the same size as me or bigger. It doesn't matter if it is a fish that is undeniably harmless, has a bushy bunny tail and blows rainbow kisses, if I can't pick it up with one hand its to be treated as a clear and present danger.
There was a legend of a monster carp in the creek my friend Theodore and I used to fish in before school. Several times a week and every weekend we'd meet at a quarter to six a.m. for an hour or so of fishing. Just two 11 year old boys chomping on 59 cent Century Sam cigars, lightheartedly cajoling each other about being attacked by "Ol' Samson", as this fresh water behemoth was known by the locals.
Until the chill Saturday morning he struck and legend became reality.
While crossing the creek to get to the aptly named Bug Island, waist deep in brackish crick water, something bumped me. Not brushed. Bumped, nearly knocking me over. The sun was just cresting the treetops, long shadows eerily playing across the still black water, Ted was on the other side of the creek, out of earshot and opportunity of assclownery. I was alone. My fear of water beasts began creating probabilities of Canadian fresh water gators and mutated Leech Men.
It might have been my urine that caused Samson to surface, it might just have been his whimsy to make his presence known, I'll never know, but when Ol' Samson broke the stillness of that black creek less than 3 feet in front of me I knew both fear and awe.
A carp is nothing more than an overgrown goldfish, but this...thing...was something else. Something old, something sentient, something not to be trifled with. My cheap cigar clamped firmly between clenched teeth I continued to quietly sully my hand-me-down Levi's orange tabs. I marveled at its nearly 4 and a half foot long body, the rising sun glinting off its ruddy brown scales, realizing I wasn't much bigger than it, suddenly feeling somewhat less signifigant. And it just sat there on the surface, completely still other than its slowly undulating tail, staring. At me. Its cold, wet, black eyes were like two stagnant pools of hatred, probing my soul and finding it wanting. Eyes that calmly told me everything I needed to know. "Booooooy. This is my domain boy. You are not welcome here. Get. Out. Boy". I don't remember telling my legs to move but move they did, and out I got, with one last look over my shoulder to see the leviathan slowly, almost leisurely, descending back into the murky depths from whence it came. Or maybe it just creases me that Aquaman named his pet walrus Tusky.