Saturday, May 24, 2008

[dream blog] The pet department

fish tanksI was in some kind of obnoxiously upscale department store--so upscale, in fact, that it had a wine section, complete with warning about what you're not allow to wear into it, lest you be able to smuggle something out under your clothes.

There was something else in the wine section, though: A fish tank shaped like a six-foot-tall, octagonal pillar. The only creature I noticed in there wasn't a fish, but a rough, dark-green pod-like thing, just smaller than a ping-pong ball. At the front of the thing was a gulping mouth, with six staring eyes arranged around it (two larger ones at the sides of the mouth, and two smaller pairs above and below it). Then the odd, swimming pod unfolded a set of four legs, and I realized it was just a frog or toad (if one with six eyes).

The store also had a pet department, consisting of a large wall covered in more conventionally-shaped fish tanks, all facing the furniture department, containing a weird variety of amphibians, mollusks, and marine arthropods. I think there might have been some fish, as well, because one tank contained a mass of tangled, iridescent filaments that appeared to have tiny fins, scales, and staring black eyes.

The creatures that really interested me, though, weren't even stored behind glass. At about arm level, there was a row of open-air habitats which contained a horseshoe crab, an octopus (both of these oddly unconcerned that they weren't under water), and a huddle of squirming, boomarang-headed diplocauluses (which I assumed to have been cloned from prehistoric cells).

Stranger still were the fat, glassy-skinned salamanders which swam through the air, occasionally alighting on my shoulder or bumbling into my face. I dismissed these with annoyance, not realizing a flying salamander was a much more impossible creature than a land-dwelling octopus.

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