I would like to begin this story as all truly great love stories begin, but unfortunately this is not a truly great love story.
So, I will just begin with the tried and true old standby, "Once upon a time."
But before we begin I want you to know that this is a true love story, or so legend has it, made-up from a fabrication of a fable of suspicious origin.
Did everything you're about to read really happen? I would like to believe so.
Once upon a time, in the sea, there lived a trout named Olivia. She was a beautiful rainbow trout much admired by all. And she knew it too.
Though Olivia was courted by many suitors her heart yearned for just one. He was a young handsome carp named Oscar who had stolen her heart one summer while she had vacationed with her father in a small stream in New Hampshire.
Olivia's father, Antonio, was a wealthy widower who had many rich and powerful friends who were also seeking the affections of his daughter.
Well, the thought of his beloved daughter with a carp broke Antonio's heart and filled his head with an intense pain.
"But father he's so cute!"
"Oh Olivia! He's a carp for gosh sakes!"
"But I love him!"
"How could you do this to me? What would your dead mother think? I forbid you to see him again!"
Antonio stormed off in anger.
"I hate him!" wailed Olivia and she stormed off in anger as well.
Meanwhile, Oscar Carp had family issues of his own. His mother, Gladys, was a hard working widow who cleaned sand castles for a living. She had always assumed that her boy would at least marry a fish of his own species.
Well the thought of her beloved son with a trout broke Gladys' heart and her head with an intense pain.
"Not a trout!"
"But mother she's so cute!"
"She's a trout for gosh sakes!"
"But I love her!"
"How could you do this to me? What would your dead father think? I forbid you to see her ever again!"
And Gladys stormed off in anger.
"I hate her!" wailed Oscar and he stormed off in anger as well.
Now it just so happened that one of Antonio's rich friends, a big mouth bass named Wally, also had designs on Olivia. Antonio knew that Olivia held no particular affection for Wally, but never the less felt Wally, whom he knew from numerous and profitable business deals, would make an excellent catch for his cherished daughter. With this in mind, he decided to arrange a wedding, but first, as was the custom of the sea, a dowry had to be bargained.
"I'll be happy to give you ten sand dollars for the hand of your cherished daughter." offered Wally.
"And I'd be happy to accept twenty sand dollars for the hand of my cherished daughter." countered Antonio.
The gentlemen quickly got down to business.
"$12.00 sand dollars!"
"$17.00 sand dollars!"
"$14.75 and that's my last offer!"
"You drive a hard bargain for a bass Wally." carped Antonio, "Done."
And so it was that Olivia Trout, cherished daughter of Antonio Trout, was sold into wedlock for fourteen sand dollars and seventy-five shells.
"And now to tell Olivia the good news!" smiled Antonio.
Unfortunately, when Olivia heard the good news
"You sold me to a big mouth bass for a lousy fourteen sand dollars and seventy-five shells!"
She ran away from home.
Meanwhile, in a small inlet not too very far away, a small school of sardines were working on their studies oblivious to the danger lurking nearby.
"Blub, blub, did you know that seven-tenths of the earth is covered with water? Blub, blub."
"Yes, blub, blub, and according to what we've learned from the explorations of the sea turtles about what the creatures that live above the sea are doing we should be grateful! Blub, blub."
Suddenly one of the sardines shouted! "Help, help, help, barracudas are coming!"
"Oh no! It's the Barracuda Boys!"
The most feared gang in all of the sea surrounded the tiny school.
"Give us your sand dollars." demanded their leader
"Please don't hurt us," begged the fish, "we'll do anything you want!"
As fate would have it only one fish heard the sardine's pitiful cry for help. "Stop that you slimy barracudas! Leave those poor little creatures alone!"
Now it's a well know fact that wondering aimlessly in the sea, especially when one doesn't know where one is going, is a dangerous career move. Olivia, in her zest to come to the defense of the little sardines had wondered straight into the jaws of the most feared gang of all the sea.
"Hey! What do you think you're doing? This is Cuda water"
"Well excuse me, but I didn't like the way you were threatening those poor little fishies." snapped Olivia bravely.
"Well excuse us!" came the sardonic reply, "we certainly didn't mean to offend your sense of propriety.
Do you have any sand dollars?"
"Oh no," she gurgled, "but my daddy does!"
"Hey, what's your name?"
"Why Olivia Trout of course!"
"Antonio Trout's cherished daughter?"
"I hate him!"
"Hey," said one of the members of the Barracuda Boys, "I'll bet her old man would shell out a lot of clams for her."
So it was that the evil Barracuda Boys kidnapped Olivia and ferried her away to the Black Sea.
Meanwhile Antonio was beginning to worry. He had sent all his underlings to search the seven seas and had yet to receive any word.
"I fear the worst." he bubbled sadly.
Presently from out of the murky waters appeared a barracuda.
"Father of cherished daughter Olivia Trout?"
"Here." He handed Antonio a note and swam away. The message was from the Barracuda Boys and said that his cherished daughter was alive and well for now, and if he wanted to keep her that way he'd better be prepared to meet with them the next day in the Black Sea.
"Now what do I do?" wailed Antonio.
Antonio knew he was too old to face the Barracuda Boys, so he sought out Wally to tell him the plight of his future bride and elicit his help.
"Wally, Olivia's been kidnapped by the Barracuda Boys and is being held for ransom!"
"Gee, that's too bad Antonio. I want my money back."
"How can you think about money when my cherished daughter might be filleted at any moment? Are you going to help or what?"
And Wally explained that he had a bad back, and his calendar really was quite full for the next couple of days, and he needed to wax his fins.
Antonio was beside himself with grief. What was he to do? Who could help him?
Yes, as fate would have it at that moment Oscar happened to swim by. Antonio showed him the note from the evil Barracuda Boys and told him he could marry his cherished daughter with his blessing if he could secure her release.
Oscar realized he faced great danger by facing the Barracuda Boys alone in their home waters, but he truly loved Olivia and felt compelled to risk his scales. So he agreed to meet the Barracuda Boys in the Black Sea the next day in Antonio's place.
"He's not coming. They sent me."
"Who are you?"
"Why Oscar Carp of course! How much do you want?"
"We'd be happy to accept twenty sand dollars for Antonio Trout's cherished daughter."
"And I'd be happy to pay you ten sand dollars." replied Oscar.