ACE OF FISH you will die

Placement: The Negligible Arcana

Description: The Giant Hand carries a rather perturbed looking fish, tail-side up. In some versions there is a pond in the background, or a puddle, or a brightly lit sea with a lighthouse in the distance. The featured image is not one of those cards.


Right side up:

The Ace of any suit in tarot is the purest form of that suit’s general concept. Cups are associated with love, Wands with thought and inspiration, Swords with action and conflict, Coins with physicality and wealth, etc. The Fish, including the Ace of Fish, represents falsehoods and misinformation.

Not all falsehoods are inherently negative. A well-told tall tale can be thoroughly engaging without harming anyone, and it may especially entertain those who know that the story is full of embellishments and exaggeration.

Fantasy is, I and many others believe, of great importance to humanity. As G.K. Chesterson is often reputed as saying, “Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.” Those were not his exact words but Neil Gaiman’s paraphrased version. The original quote is as follows. “Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey.”*

Truth-stretching has been known not only to entertain and enlighten, but also to sell products and ideas and ideas about products that will inspire you to spend money on those products which you will look at with embarrassment when you bring it home and realize that there is no room and that it clashes with your furniture and that your receipt has found its way into the world of lost ephemera such as bus transfers, raffle tickets and Halloween candy.

One must acknowledge that fictions intended to sell products have inspired a variety of colourful disclaimers:

“Do not try this at home.”

“Professional driver on closed course.”

“Closed airspace. Professional pilot.”

“Professional stunt person.”

“Do not attempt. Cars cannot drive on trains.”

“For external use only.”

“For entertainment purposes only.”



“May cause injury, death, and occasional dry mouth.”

“Don’t touch that dial.”

“Don’t ask what a dial is. Asking may lead listener to regret the passing of a bygone era.”

“Energy drinks will not give you sudden birdlike abilities.”

“Mint-flavoured candy is not a substitute for actual luck.”

“Do not steal from short people. Obtain cereal at grocery store.”

“He is ASTAR, a robot. He can put his arm back on. You can’t. Play safe, meat children.”

“Hair tonic for use only on head.”

“Wishing on stars may cause eye strain. Professional stunt wisher.”

“CGI animators, not stunt person. Only risked injury is carpal tunnel. Do not attempt animation.”

“Do not attempt reanimation. Living dead may cause injury.”

“Not a real demon. Always seek an exorcist in the event of possession.”

“Actors. Not real people.”

“Real people, not actors. You can tell because this commercial is painful to watch and because your actor friends (not people) struggle to find consistent work.”


“Do not run full speed into a train station wall. Simulated wizard school.”

“Professional chef. Fireproof set made to look like a kitchen. Simulated TNT. Controlled explosion. Real tiger shark but already dead at the time. Do not attempt.”


Upside down:

Blatant lies. There are entertaining fibs that reveal truth or pleasure or both, but these are not they. Beware such phrases as “This hurts me more than it hurts you.” “You’ll change your mind when your biological clock starts ticking.” “I’m not a racist, but…” “Science is just another religion,” and “It was on sale.”

In an alternative interpretation, you are the lie. Make sure to examine all of your identification. If they appear a hundred percent legitimate, then you are likely a government sleeper agent.



*One may defeat Bogie when, of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, Ingrid Bergman walks into his.


Classic Ace of Fish deaths:

  • Salmonella
  • Falling hook, line and sinker
  • “I’m fine, don’t worry about me.”
  • Battered… with a side of chips


An Update:

Once again I send this post by way of a courier from the basement at S.A.U.C.E. headquarters. There is something locked behind the wall, something about which Elsie Cabret will say nothing. She will not budge, nor does she have a key on her person. Danny Delaire sent for something we could use as a battering ram but they found nothing. Crystal Balque brought down a pair of crowbars, however, which is what we are currently using to loosen the hinges.

Ms. Cabret has given up protesting our actions and now devotes her breath to explaining herself without telling us any useful information.

“We did it for you,” she said. “For all of us. A symbol has more power than a real thing anyway. It was Michel’s idea.”

The Michel she refers to is Michel Nolastname, the most revered elder of our organization, who was mysteriously flattened to a crepe only a few months ago.

Oh! Ms. Balque managed to warp the door enough that we can see inside through a crack. I will now take a look.

Julen Ibara, who prides himself in being prepared for any emergency, shone his pocket flashlight into the darkness beyond the door. We can see very little so far. There’s a faint trace of a distant wall. I believe it may have a dirt floor.

I hear a sound, not the booming we heard earlier but an unnerving tapping. Tapping is perhaps the wrong word. It sounds less like Fred Astaire and more like a collection of industrial snow shovels slapping the ground one after the other in quick succession.

Ms. Balque has broken the lock! We’re opening the door. The room smells like sweat. I must put down my pen now and help the others. We may all be in danger. This may be Terrible Tarot’s final post…