Hi there! I know we haven’t spoken before so let me take the time to introduce myself: I’m The Lying Turbot. You have to capitalise the first letter of each word in The Lying Turbot because that’s my name. I’m not just blessed with having a name that starts with the definite article and having fishy scales to die for; there’s lots more of interest about me too.

I’m almost nine hundred years old. I bet you didn’t know that turbot and mackerel lived so long but we do and it’s all down to the fact that it was us who saved St Peter from the wolves that overran Carthage in 82 C.E. and we’ve been blessed by God ever since. We’re holy fish.

I know I said I’m only about nine hundred years old but I met St Peter once too as we elderly fish know the secrets of time travel. That’s the sort of thing you learn when you get to be our age. You know, very little surprises you any more when you’re as old as us and capable of travelling through the seventh dimension. Oh yes, that’s right, time is the seventh dimension. I think a lot of your so-called scientists think it’s the fourth but they’re missing some really quite obvious ones. I’m sworn not to expose exactly what they are because of my membership in the Temporal Mafia but I can confirm that after depth the next dimension has a closer affinity to the feeling that you’re about to wet the bed than any notion of linear progression across the universal continuum.

It’s really great being in the Temporal Mafia. You get to whack lots of species and collect protection money from famous trees through the ages. There are lots of turbot in the Temporal Mafia as you’d expect what with our incredible strength and hive mind and many of them are me at different junctions in the dimensionsphere. I’m really great company.

Napoleon loved spending time with me because of my military insight and also because I was slightly shorter than him and it made him feel good. But then he tried it on one evening after wine and I told him “Not tonight, you screaming queen” and I was out of there as fast as my little legs could carry me. And then Wellington beat Napoleon.

That’s right, I’ve got legs too. You didn’t think having legs was something only humans have, did you? I paint mine invisible most of the time because it would make the other fish jealous if they saw them but I do know some turbot who flaunt their appendages mercilessly. That’s the sort of cruel thing that can get you set upon by skate and haddock. I’ve run a mile in under five minutes. Underwater. Let’s see Roger Bannister do that.

When I was younger I made bannisters for the King of Atlantis before he ate some bad shrimp and formed a gravity well out of which his island couldn’t escape. I was the chief bannistersmith and my specialty was inside-out coral architecture. There’s not much call for that style these days; it’s all gone double-helix this and infinitely curving that and the fun has gone out of the business but when I retire I might take it up again. That, or astronomy.

I’ve always loved looking at the stars. You can see them best from the bottom of the ocean thanks to the polarising effect of water passing through the legs of plankton. And you can detect neutrinos too which is important for testing when you’re reconstructing the building blocks of the universe out of whale carcasses.

The whale and turbot species do not get on with one another and I’m partly to blame. It was me who pushed their hippopotamus ancestors off the ravine into the ocean and set them on the path to aquatic mammalhood during one of my jaunts back in time that I’ll take in the year 3002. I will have seen after that point that without my intervention they’d have been the dominant creatures over you monkeymen and their Hitler had a blowhole which shot out nuclear weapons. Nasty.

As a turbot I can survive a nuclear blast. I’ve not had to test that out for certain yet but I have friends who did and they said that yes, it was quite warm for a bit afterwards. I was swimming near Bikini Atoll when the atomic bombs were set off there but I was far enough away not to be affected. Of course that really annoyed Godzilla.

I know that outside Japan most people don’t really believe that Godzilla is real but that’s only because of the poorly-made movies. We, along with a consortium of herring and tuna, did originally bid for the rights to produce all the monster films and we’d have done a great job, no word of a lie. Fish have the best lenses and cinematographers on the planet bar none. Obviously, the sheep bid was accepted and the rest is history. We could have been Hollywood millionaires.

I’ve met my fair share of film celebs in my time. Demi Moore is a great friend to the turbot and we, in turn, worship her. We have a deep trench named after her but it’s not on any maps. The map cartel are very insular and they instigate highly clandestine operations to ensure that their names are the ones everyone knows. Canada was originally called Wankfartor but money talks. If you’ve got a long life and photographic memory you remember, though. I remember.

I hold the record for fish memory skills and you can look that up in that Guinness Book. I’m listed there as Rob Tut, my stage name. Every word from the Bible was cut out and rearranged and I had to recite the scrambled order while singing the national anthem of every fish-friendly nation on the Earth. I’m not really surprised that nobody else has attempted that record as it took me the better part of a week to finish. Made awful television.

I’ve been on television loads of times too. I’ve been on COPS during my assignment with Dade county’s police force and I was the recurring guest star during the whole series of Joey. I’m not surprised you didn’t see me. I was in the very first ever colour TV broadcast; I’m the one in the background with the placard that reads “There’s no plaice like home.” There wasn’t an intended pun there, just poor spelling by my life partner Gregory the Giraffe. I dumped him soon after.

I’m currently seeing a lovely, simple squirrel girl from the cave system city under Everest built by Yetis. I think she’s the one. We share everything. I let her hide her nuts in my gills. I’ve even told her my biggest secret of all so that it won’t be a barrier to us getting married. I’m not The Lying Turbot at all! I’m really The Dishonest Flounder.

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