Whaddup, fishes! Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Wild Salmon, and if you haven’t heard, I don’t play by the rules.
That’s right, I’m the kind of salmon who swims downstream, with the current! Because I’m a contrarian and that’s just how it’s gonna be. Yeah, I said contrarian—better locate a dictionary, kelpslime.
I’ve been wild since I was a small fry, when I used to sneak out of the school and swim with the older smolts. They showed me the ropes, and how to avoid the ones with hooks. Man we used to cruise around all damn day, just hollering at seahorses and getting loaded on krill. We didn’t even care!
That’s when I met my boy Coho. Coho was a legend, man. He was born in a hatchery but broke out in like two seconds—he wasn’t about to be raised in some pen with a bunch of aquaculture scrubs. “You can’t keep me down on the farm,” he’d always say, and we’d always laugh because it was so true, and also a double entendre.
We were always together, me and Coho. Staying out late, squid-inking graffiti, roeing Ms. Moray’s rock—breaking the rules was just in our fish DNA! Once we were chillin’, spaced out on Omega-3 or whatever, and Coho turned to me and said, “Dude. Let’s start a fucking band!” And that’s when Spawn was born.
There were four of us: me (lead vocals), Coho (guitar), Finn (drums), and Moby (echolocation). We’d get tanked and write music all night long. Then we started playing gigs for krill and tips over at Jenny’s Sandbar. During one of our sets this industry lamprey came into Jenny’s and boom!—just like that, we were signed.
Next thing we know we’re opening for Red Tide, touring all over. One day we’re in Lake Winnipesaukee and the next day we’re swimming in Bathurst Inlet or some shit. All of a sudden we’re hanging out in the best reefs, eating the best plankton. And the women! Girls we’d never seen before would just show us their gills in the open sea! So much tailfin. It was fucking crayfish.
This is where the story gets hard. After an awesome show I was feeling amped, and I got this major urge to leap over some waterfalls. I could tell Coho wasn’t into it, but he was still game because that’s the kind of ill fish he was. So we get to the waterfalls and we’re leaping around, no worries, just having fun like the old days. And then Coho says, “Yo, watch this!” He gets this big swimming start and leaps out of the stream, and then this bear caught him and ate him.
That was real tough, you know? I was mad and also confused because I thought bears only ate honey, but then someone told me that was just one cartoon bear, and that made me even madder. I blamed myself, got depressed, started swimming alone and doing lots of algae. The band suffered, too: our new songs were all loud and angry, and they were all about bears.
It wasn’t long before Spawn broke up. We went back to our old lives and lost touch. Things have worked out okay for Moby, I guess—I heard he made a habitat outside L.A., and has a wife and kids. He did the music for that movie Blackfish, actually. Good for him. Finn, though—Finn wasn’t so lucky. He got caught up in a dragnet, and now he’s doing a life sentence at Pike Place.
But man, not a day goes by I don’t think about Coho. I’m not like religious or anything, but I do believe Coho’s down there somewhere, up to his old tricks. Sometimes when I’m by myself, I’ll actually say a little prayer to Poseidon, and ask him to watch over my buddy.
As for me, it took a while, but I got my life right. These days I run my own T-shirt printing business. We also sell scented candles. I’m still as wild as ever, though—still living my own way and not taking nitrogenous waste from anyone. And I still write music from time to time. Protest songs, mostly, about overfishing and net neutrality. Shit like that.
Sometimes I think back on my life and wonder why I turned out like I did. Sometimes I think it’s because I never knew my parents, but then I remember all salmon don’t know their parents, so it can’t be that.
Man, whatever! Enough of this whiny guppy crap. I’m Wild Salmon, and I don’t play by the rules!