Damyanti Biswas
Inaugural Award Commended

Picasso Dreams

by Damyanti Biswas

Jezebel owned a blue betta fish. She’d named him Moby Dick, hoping one day an Ahab would seek him, and find her instead.

Moby Dick swam about, flashing his colour, surfacing to check on Jezebel with his rotating eyes, begging for food from time to time. When he thought himself ignored, he curled up and moped at the bottom, behind a plastic rock and a lime green plant.

Moby Dick didn’t know Jezebel lived in a world of Picasso dreams or that she’d imagined him into being. A girl who liked appearances as much as she hated responsibility, Jezebel loved the bowl because its water never grew dirty, and the fish didn’t need feeding.

She could easily have given Moby Dick a large aquarium of his own, with a harem of betta wives, swimming in circles around floating plants, but she kept him alone, waiting.

Jezebel didn’t know she lived in someone else’s dream, a tousle-haired young man who sat chewing his pen by the window, waiting for his Muse.

He wrote about Jezebel, her betta fish, because he himself owned one. It swam around its bowl, mocking his efforts at poetry. He slammed the notebook down and went out to seek his writing friends. He needed to gripe.

His didn’t open that notebook again. Jezebel waited for Ahab. Moby Dick didn’t get fed. His scales remained bright, and their blue clashed against the lime green of the plant in Jezebel’s dreams.

About the Author

Damyanti BiswasDamyanti's short fiction appears at Bluestem magazine, Griffith Review Australia, Lunch Ticket magazine, The First Line, Ducts.org by New York Writers Workshop, and other journals in the USA, Singapore and India. She’s featured in print anthologies by Twelve Winters Press, USA (Pushcart Nomination), and by major publishers in Malaysia and Singapore. She's currently hard at work finishing her first novel. She tweets at @damyantig.

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