After the Spawning

by Steve Subrizi

When they slit open the salmon suit, the baker’s crisp skin had curled into billions of zests. Weighty prayer flags of meat dangled from the snapped ends of the ribs, which snagged on the plush pink gills. Gently the elder detective lifted the remains from the slush by the river and into the warm bed of the truck.
Up the road at the icehouse, the fish party raged on. The trout and the pike had already soaked up half the gin punch. One wrecked sunfish dropped a bright red herring-shaped earring into the bowl, and a minnow hiding at the bottom swooped down on it. The minnow rushed in a circle with the hook in its mouth beneath the crushed ice. But that punch would never be drunk; soon enough the bears would arrive, and the last of the spawning would cease.