The Cans of Caviar (Short story)


A prehistoric looking sturgeon with its long nose, bony back and an elongated body; a body beyond the point of having an aerodynamic beauty, a fish from the age of dinosaurs was swimming near the coast of the Caspian sea when before she knew what had hit her, she was choking for air. Men with hardened hands had pulled her out of the water. All those courtships all that pick of the best male the rivalry in who spreads the best seed for her next generation was going to waste and her future babies were being stripped off her. Like a fat person going to liposuction she felt a lot lighter and now her eggs lay in a suction bottle and rubbed off her fortune she was unceremoniously dropped back in water. Her black pearls were canned and put in the market. Some human had come up with the tale that her protein rich eggs are good aphrodisiacs and let old men mate with younger females. Why can’t humans just follow the laws of nature like all other creatures? Still, she should had considered herself lucky, if the Russian illegal fishers got hold of her instead of the Iranian Caviar company, she would had ended up gutted, but today she was sent off to be harvested for a future date.

Meanwhile a middle-aged man was looking behind the shop window. The Iran-Iraq war had ended a few years ago and the economy was dismal. He had his passport ready and had booked the flight all he needed was to exchange currency.

The currency market was bad and he knew without contacts he would be ripped off, and a friend had told him he could take cans of caviar to UK and sell them to Iranian shops. These shops would then sell this luxury item to posh hotels and restaurants.

Of course what he didn’t know was that it was the Mullah’s who had a stranglehold on everything that the country produced that had spread such rumours. Still it was worth a shot, so he walked in and bought the most unexpected currency, he bought three cans of caviar. He brought them home and tucked them neatly near the bag of pistachios he was taking to his daughter and son.

As he did, he imagined the enthusiastic face of the Iranian shopkeeper, and how he was going to haggle, boy was he going to haggle. And he imagined the face of guests in their cocktail dress, a wedding perhaps with people biting into crackers with his caviar on top. He saw himself holding a conversation with this beautiful blonde woman with a shoulderless dress and a glossy lipstick. Have some caviar and champagne he imagined himself telling Louise. Yes the woman in his imagination was called Louise and she had pearl white teeth and loved caviars and talking to him in his imaginary Hotel wedding.

As he sat on the Iran Air plane, he was deep in thought as how the kids looked now. Last time he saw them was six years back and they were really kids then.

Anticipating eyes waited at the Heathrow Airport terminal three, and time seemed to have collapsed for before he knew it, they had driven forty miles and his son was taking his luggage to his room.

Two days into his trip, he had realized that he had failed as a father. The kids had grown up without him. They were courteous but it was obvious he was like a stranger.

They had blown away any hope for their future. All that hard earned cash that was send for their education, it was all wasted. The son was working in a shoe shop and her pretty girl worked in a hair salon instead of becoming a Doctor.

The weekend arrived and he finally had a chance to go to High Street Kensington. He saw a sign: “Caviar wanted”, so he walked in and enquired about the price they would buy the cans. The price was disappointing. Everyone was doing the same and the market was flooded. He sold two of the cans for the same price he had bought them. Then he went to a supermarket and bought a bottle of vodka.

They went home, and the next few hours were just a blur. He was disappointed with his life, with his son, the Government, the price of Caviar. They sat in the kitchen and opened the one can left; the pungent smell of fish filled the space. They sat, drank vodka and had caviar on toast and after a few vodka shots nothing else mattered. Here he was in good health drinking good vodka rather than the lethal moonshine made illegally back home, drinking with his grown up son and having a fatherly moment and eating luxury food. It was in fact the tastiest, most fun disappointment he had ever tasted!

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