With a whisk of a silvery pectoral fin, Professor Goldwater began his address to the 5th annual Goldfish Bowl Scientific Symposium. The theme that year was 'Unaccounted - for Changes in the Goldfish Environment".
"Thank you my dear fellow fish scientists for this inestimable privilege to speak to you about the most urgent matter that concerns us all."
Dr Octopus held his glass aloft in one of his tentacles. He had earned his doctorate on 'Overcoming the Deficiencies of Fins in Maneuvering Glasses by Non-Piscatorial Means '. He reveled in showing everyone that he could hold it in any position: front or back, high or low.
"Hear, hear my dear fellow aquarian! We want to hear from you since your return."
The august professor stiffly acknowledged the doctor with a nod half in his direction.
" You are all aware that I have just completed what is the most unusual and, dare I say, scientifically speaking, unrepeatable expedition outside this bowl which is our home."
"Bravo! Bravo!" the whole assembly of fish and other water- living scientists acclaimed.
"You know how I was captured by what I can only describe as an alien hand, with what I would describe as a scoop with closely woven material, that could not hold water but through which I was unable to escape. I was then taken to a place that I can only describe as similar to our own aquarium but with different inhabitants and climate."
The Professor paused and looked with reminiscence at one fin which no longer came to a point but was flatter and shorter than the other....."There I was attacked by fish that I had never seen before.It was only by a miracle that the same hand returned me here to my ancestral home and the waters that I have known for so long. It has opened my eyes to a truth that we are not alone; that this water surrounded by what some call 'glass' - impenetrable, but in reality the mirror into the next world- is not all there is."
He spoke the last clause with a loud emphasis.
"Stop this metafishical nonsense!" cried out Dr Crabbe. " You are a scientist but you are introducing religion into this symposium."
Dr Crabbe had earned his PhD. on 'The Algorithms of Advancing Forward when Moving Sideways". He had also been awarded the latest science prize for his contribution to defense policy by developing what he called 'The Pincer Movement'. He shared this with Dr Octopus who,in collaboration with Crabbe, had developed "Ink Defense Systems." Octopus' contribution however had been hushed because it was classed as chemical warfare.
"Let him speak," said Dr Octopus, "he is only describing his own experience."
"But by his own admission, it is unrepeatable and therefore unscientific," retorted Crabbe, who never took a step backwards in any argument.
"Nevertheless," said Goldwater, " I wish to propose a hypothesis to explain some of the changes that we have all experienced. We have up until now never been able to explain these things. We always considered them as due to the nature of the water itself that we live in."
He continued: " We have often wondered at times how the water darkens and all that remains is a glow under the rock that we call Mother Rock. Then at times, without notice and seeming cause, the water lightens up. At times the light is much brighter than at other times and lasts a long time. At times it dims but does not become as dark as when it is really dark and all we see is the light at Mother Rock."
"These are all due to natural fluctuations in the pressure and temperature of the water," said Dr Crabbe.
"No,' said the professor emphatically, "it is all brought about by the same hand that mysteriously brought me out of this water into the other and back. That hand is able to control the light outside of this bowl. That light is sometimes very bright, and at times not as bright."
"Metafishical nonsense!" Crabbe called out.
They all began to shout and argue.
A football knocked the bowl off the table breaking it into pieces. The water spread all over the floor.
A hand reached down with a scoop, lifted each fish and creature and placed it lovingly into another bowl. Unfortunately not all survived.
"Bob, was that you?" cried a voice.
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