Cave Fish of Utah

Of course they are blind. In the primordial generations, when they first stumbled into caves, their eyes evolved to larger and larger dimensions, almost the size of walnuts, stretching the retina to take in whatever filaments of light might remain in those cold mountain pools.  Over time the eyes turned hollow and sightless and took on a shape almost identical to the fish’s head itself, so that the fish appears to have three heads, while in fact the “heads” on either side are brainless mimicries, not hollow but filled with a fluid that helps maintain neutral buoyancy.

For eons they had no predators, until discovered by humans, who now have fished them nearly to extinction. There is a belief among the local people that three heads equals triple intelligence, and their buoyancy fluid is marketed, sadly, as a brain tonic. Both students studying for exams and composers working on intricate hymns are known to seek out a bottle of cave juice, as the bitter, foul-smelling liquid is popularly known here.

Another strike against the species is the fact that they are also savored by Mormons as delicious reminders of their tripartite doctrine. When the raw “Trinity Fish,” as they call them, are served up as a kind of communion, inevitably some slip through the oily fingers of the worshipers and end up writhing their way, via the church’s primitive drainage system, into the sewer running below the city. There, however, toxic human waste has mutated the fish considerably, so that the extra heads disappear, and vision returns, a fact unknown to those, directly above, who might benefit most from the transformation.

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