Philosophy by Jen Hughes

(published August 2017)

The American Lobster and the Yellow Snapper fish share a tank. In the wild, they will never have even known about each other but here in the aquarium, they’ve lived together for most of their lives. It’s said that they can both live over a hundred years, and some speculate that the American lobster cannot die of old age. This is a prospect the human spectators cannot imagine. The yellow snapper fish is an adult, which you can tell by her bright orange colour. Its big, bright eyes stare at the lobster, who has been here since the aquarium first opened. Lobster tells all kinds of fantastic stories from his life here to the Snapper. Snapper asks him questions about the dry world of the spectator, and although he tries his best, he will never be able to explain it.

A young human girl eavesdrops on their conversation, her nose pressed to a snout against the glass. She is about six or seven, which you can tell by her small size, short hair and her blue Finding Nemo top. She looks up at the fish and claps. She then taps her thumbs with her fingers, paying homage to the lobster in a way. The children never fail to fascinate them. They could spend all day just looking at them. She grins at them as her mother leads her to the next tank.

The Snapper turns to the Lobster. “Hey Bob.”

“Hey, Moa.”

“I wonder how the people in Dry World talk to each other. As far as I can see they just blub at each other”

The Lobster smiles. “They use body language, I’m sure.”

They look out into Dry World. A young boy is making faces into the tank. They smile in the way they do in water.

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Jen Hughes is a young writer from Ayrshire, Scotland who has been furiously scribbling stories and world building since she was first writing sentences. She is a regular contributor to Outlet Publishing‘s ‘Diary of a Young Writer’ blog, and is studying English Literature and Film & TV Studies. She’s also been published in various online magazines, such as The Oletangy ReviewThe McStorytellersParagraph Planet and Pulp Metal Magazine.  If you liked “Showbiz Mother” and “Philosophy”, you can find her up-to-date portfolio of poetry and short fiction on, follow her on Twitter (@dearoctopus4), give her a like on Facebook (Dear octopus writing) or follow her Tumblr blog (