From the corner of her eye, Linophryne watched an underdeveloped male swim towards her. In a matter of seconds he would bite into her skin, release an enzyme, which would digest the skin of her body and his mouth so their blood vessels could fuse into one. Literally not romantically or metaphorically. Nothing gross about it. It was just biology.
She needed him to fertilise her spawn and in return he shared her blood filled with life-preserving nutrients. He was too weak to hunt on his own. Statistically speaking he was lucky. Very lucky. Only 1 percent of his type find a mate. The rest remain virgins and starve to death. No one was sure which was worse.
He wasn’t the only one either. Her left rear had two males fused into her, while the right had this joker. Every time the other denizens of the dark ocean bed spoke about love or soulmates she wanted to puke. Her soulmates were parasites living in her bottom, little bumps on her back.
The bacteria on her esca got active and began to produce that beautiful luminescence at the tip of her illicium. Imagine a fish with her own personal fishing rod sticking out of her head. The light filled the dark, murky ocean and attracted her prey. No! She didn’t feel sad for those creatures who swam eagerly towards her enormous jaws, hypnotised by the lure of light Remember, she had to eat for four not one.
Linophryne wished at least once in her life she would would meet a male who would quote poetry to her or bring her a tiny sea anemone. Someone who would show a little lurve. She was tired of being the dominant person in this party.
Oh well, time to reproduce. She extruded the eggs in a kind of gelatinous sheet, which was thirty feet long. Her three attached males as if on cue released their sperm into the water. The sheet acted like a sponge and absorbed the fertile H2O. Job done.
Sigh. Did she mention she missed the romance? Soon another batch of babies would be born and she could go on doing this for another thirty years. She looked at her discontentment and on impulse decide to throw it all out.
She first threw out parts of her romantic soul it floated into some seaweed. She plucked away any desire for a large handsome fish who got her jokes, it wandered into a half-turned seashell. She cut off her loneliness, it got swallowed by a passing whale who began to feel particularly down.
There were finally no emotions left. She was just a fish with a bunch of male fish attached to her bum. She felt neither sad nor happy. She just felt like an anglerfish, which is what she was.
You can’t go so far to say life was good after this amputation but it did carry on till it met death. The path, however, was an untroubled one, filled with melting males, extrusile eggs and uninterrupted biology
Moral: Cut out emotions and everything becomes bearable
Linophryne is drawn by the fabulous Bijoy Venugopal. You can find more of his wonderful stuff here bijoyvenugopal.com