Say Carpe Piscis

Writing Prompt: You know a bit of Latin, so one night when you’re being mugged you start chanting nonsense to scare off the thug – it doesn’t work, he takes your wallet and flees. When you reach for your phone and see a message. “$50,000 has been transferred to your bank account from: MOTHERLODE.”

Words and vague phrases, the jumbled adoration of trying to learn an ancient language. That about covered the extent of Abraham’s knowledge of Latin.

“Carpe piscis!” Abe cried at the thug, a hooded man wearing a balaclava and waving a knife, “Brassica dimittere? Digitus meus trahere…”

The thug lunged at Abe, his knife narrowly missing the old man’s feathered rib cage. “Look, I don’t speak Spanish!” the thug howled in frustration.

In one last attempt to scare the man away Abe shouted, “Divitiae!” with all the might he could muster.

“I just want your wallet…” the thug shook his head, put down the knife and whacked Abe in the stomach with a heavy fist.

Stars flitted around Abe’s head, he felt a grubby hand search him, stealing his wallet and then groping for his phone. Abe grabbed the thug’s wrist, his blurred vision settling on his phone screen just as it was stolen away. He noticed a message, a message from his bank. It read; $50,000 has been transferred into your account. Sender: Motherlode.

What the feck? And with that Abe fainted.

When he woke Abe could barely remember what had happened, that was until he saw his sister Abigail leering over his bedside. Oh right, the money… it came flooding back in an instant. Abigail wasn’t exactly known for making appearances in times of need, but if there was a little something green involved then she’d be there in a heart beat. At both their parents funerals she’d been absent, but at the reading of the wills…

“How are you feeling?” Abigail gave a plain, unsympathetic smile, presenting a basket lathered in fruits and jams and flowers. She had called in a favour from a friend that worked for Gifts N’ Guns Emporium Limited, and received a heavy discount on the basket.

“Fine.” Abe grumbled, but that was a lie, “Why are you here?”

Abigail feigned hurt at Abe’s question, “I’m your sister, aren’t I? Why wouldn’t I be here?”

“Oh, come off it. The bank called you, didn’t they?”

Abigail tried her best not to scowl, “And why would they do that?”

“I was mugged.”

“Not again.” Abigail sank into the bedside chair. A plastic stool? Do they think me some kind of peasant? “Please tell me you didn’t.”

“I did.”

“When will you learn. You can’t holler Latin at a goon and expect them to just run away!”

“That’s the thing, the text message from the bank…”

“What text message?”

Abe sighed, “Please, let’s not do this.” he sat up in his hospital bed, grimacing at the pain of his stomach.

“You know, they say you might be bleeding internally.”

“Do they now.” Abe rolled his eyes, “Anyway, the text message from the bank, it came just seconds after I shouted Divitiae. It’s Latin for…”

“I know what it’s Latin for.” Abigail shot a suspect glance at the door, quickly rose to shut it and then settled herself back down, “What else did you shout at this thug?”

“Digitus meus trahere.”

Abigail gave a shiver from her head to her toe, and then for no reason at all grabbed hold of Abe’s hand and pulled his finger. It came clean off!

Abe howled in agony, blood streaming from his missing digit, “What the hell did you do that for?”

“Do what for?” Abigail looked down at the severed finger in her hand and felt suddenly light headed. Her face turned a pale shade of grey as she slipped out of the chair, collapsing in a heap on the floor.

What else did you say,? Think, madman, think! Abe wracked his brain, clutching his finger. Brassica dimittere. That’s Latin for release the…

The television screen sat above the door suddenly flickered into life. It was the five o’clock news and the anchor man was sweating profusely. “I’m troubled to report that… well… ermm… a giant cabbage has descended on the city of New York. No one… no one knows where it came from, or what it wants…” behind the anchor man, beyond the great glass window, there was a cabbage the size of the Empire State Building roaming aimlessly through the streets. It could be seen sweeping up lorries and cars and swallowing entire flocks of people (how do you like it, ay?). Already helicopters, armoured trucks and specialised ground force teams – specialised in what? – were flooding the city on the heels of the beast.

Abe quickly took up the television remote and changed the channel. Perhaps I mispronounced something. The pain to his finger was little more than a dull ache now, the blood slowly drying round the stump. There was another one, another phrase, Carpe?


Not quite seize the day, but seize the…

A godlike hand tore off the hospital ceiling and reached into the tiny room. Abe cowered under the sheets of the bed. This is insane! Then he realised the hand wasn’t coming for him. Piscis. And what was it he used to call his sister? Used to, I still do!

“Abigail!” Abe cried, but he was already too late. The godlike hand was carrying his sister up into the sky, she was still unconscious mind you, and what a surprise she’d get upon waking.

Carpe piscis. No, not seize the day, but seize the fish.

Abe had always said that in matters of money Abigail was like a fish to water. The damn trout!

Copyright © K R Perry 2019

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