Fish Feign Death In East Rockaway To Escape Hempstead Town;
Hundreds Flee - Thousands Die Trying
Special to The Community Alliance
East Rockaway, NY - They were washing up on the banks of the Mill River like so many salmon against the stream - carp, perch, bass, gefilte - all presumably dead as the result of high temperatures and low oxygen levels. [SEE Newsday, Troubled Waters.]
"That's not the whole story," said an irate shrimp gasping for air. "High temperatures? Fuggetaboutit. Its high taxes, stupid. We just can't hake it. We can't afford to swim with the fishes any more in Hempstead Town."
While the media - Newsday among them - reported that the fish kills are naturally occuring events, others, including a striped bass who spoke on condition of anonymity, told another story.
"Dead, shmead. Who's dead? We're just trying to get away under cover of darkness. Look, don't you see our eyes are open? We see the taxes spiraling out of control. We see the reckless development, decreasing our open spaces. Sure we lack oxygen. They've torn down all the trees to build parking lots. We've got all these fish from the illegal caves in our schools, packed in like sardines. And even though we've got gills, man, we can smell that garbage at the Town's Sanitary Districts. Stinks like dead fish. Er, I didn't just say that, did I?"
Local officials poo-pooed (a term of art that has come to pass for the actions of Town government) the apparent demise of so many fish at one location, wholly dismissing the idea that the fish were actually taking flight from the Town's neglect.
Reached for comment at Hempstead Town Hall, Councilman Tony Santino responded to the fishes' charges. "They're all a bunch of blowfish," said Santino, floundering for an appropriate response. "These crustaceans would give up twice as much oxygen just for the privilege of swimming in our polluted waterways. What's more, they enjoy the heat. Lousy crabs."
Meanwhile, Charlie "the Tuna" Schwartz, a spokesfish for the underwater community, portrayed a more dire predicament.
"We fishes are thoid-class citizens in da Town of Hempstead, right behind residents of da Town's unincorporated areas. We gurgle on Kate Murray's hotline until da blue fish are blue in da gills. Nutin'. What are we, smoked salmon? We dezoive better."
There appears to be a Squid Pro Quo of sorts for the fish of Hempstead Town, where every cod is heard to say, "carp diem," and the minnows are bubbling, "caviar emptor." "The call came in just da udda day from Louie da Lemmie," said an exuberant Charlie. "We got an offer from a river in Tennessee. Low taxes. Clean water. Less than six Commissioners per square mile. Dat's da life. Veni, Vidi, Fishy - I came, I saw, I'm outta here! Who needs this carp? Oops. Sorry."
Town Supervisor Kate Murray, who refused to be interviewed for this story, could nonetheless be heard over the telephone in Santino's office. "Tell them to bring those dead fish to my office at Town Hall. Yea. Fish fry Friday. Joe, get the tartar sauce..."
As for the media's failure to report the fishes' side of the story, amidst charges of a cover-up, a migrating white perch - suitcase under one fin, a copy of Newsday being waved by the other - couldn't help but lambast reporters on the scene. "I wouldn't pay a clam for this paper. Don't believe everything you read. Why, Newsday isn't fit to wrap dead fish in! Oh, oh. I didn't just say that, did I?"
Stay tuned to The Community Alliance blog for more on this extraordinary fish tale. Film at 11. Clambake at Midnight...