As most citizens of the US, I maintain a minor bunker of cured salmon roe, should nuclear holocaust ever rain down upon us, and as a general rule, I restock it twice a year, moving the older inventory into my personal pantry for immediate consumption. Since time immemorial, this is what I have done and my mothers before me, and their mothers before them. Like the changing of the seasons, so too goes the rotation of the salmon roe from bunker to pantry to stomach, and back into nature. I had thought that this was always to be the way of things, and I’m guessing you were all just as shocked as I when, this past autumn, my schedule half ton shipment did not arrive. Upon calling my roe supplier, I was shocked to hear that though I was a longstanding customer, there was not enough roe to fill all orders, and unless I wanted to pony up double the amount I normally pay, my account would be suspended indefinitely.
While many folks are content to roll over and give up in the face of such circumstances, I am not. “Very well,” I told the dastardly accounts manager, “We shall see who profits by this slight.”
And I set about learning the life cycle of the salmon, in order to best bring down the powerful salmon roe lobby and their subsidiaries through rival interests– those of myself and the rest of the Americas.
Honestly, I don’t know how salmon even survived without the help of humans. How did they even make it upstream before we built them ladders? Also, you’d think that a creature that spends the majority of its life in the open ocean would be able to scout out a nice little crevice (perhaps in a cave in one of those magnificent underwater mountain ranges) in which to lay its delicious eggs. But I suppose this is another of mother nature’s delightful tricks for creating a symbiotic relationship between two species– make the salmon utterly incapable of depositing its eggs in any place other than one mediated by human intervention, and thus delivering necessary sustenance to us.
You thinkers have probably already guessed at the weak link in the chain of salmon-spawning events. Indeed– the salmon ladder. If the fish have such a hard time climbing, why not give them a helping hand? And in the process, harvest their sweet ova. It was not hard to assemble a team– there seems to be some sort of job crisis in the riverboating towns of salmon country. In the grand tradition of the bucket brigades of the past, we lined the salmon ladder and passed the struggling beasts from hand to hand to their desired destination, but not before one crucial stop– me. (The best place to do this, by the way, is in a national park or forest. That way, you can outfit your crew in spiffy green uniforms with official patches.)
Careerlings, at my age it is rare that one experiences a pure, childlike joy such as this. Can you picture it– me, up to my armpits in globules of salmon eggs, scraping into the underbellies of these female fish-monsters, and then tossing them to freedom, their scales glinting in the golden afternoon light. Occasionally, I’d plunge my face into the tank I stood it, and fill my mouth with the freshest roe ever to burst on my palate. I tell you, you don’t know the value of a day’s work until, drunk on Polish vodka, you’ve shampooed congealed caviar from your tresses.
And that is how I put my roe supplier out of business and ensured that I will always have buckets of roe for pool parties.