The Barking Tuna

And on that day in 1985, the tuna spawned for the first time... The legend of the tuna now spans three decades... and yet, it's as unclear as it ever was. Here, we shall compile the literature of the tuna... so that those who worship at its rock may one day under-stand what it is to bark.

*“There!” he squinted with pointed finger, yet still, no one believed. “I sees’d’em wiff me own good eye,” he muttered to the squirrels. Now, alone and dejected, Leo sat flicking the fire ants off his knee caps one at a time. He knew they existed. And they knew he knew. For they would celebrate together. Somewhere off yonder, a brother beckoned. Head thrown back. Perched on a rock. Barking like a tuna.

*Excerpt from “Tiny People’s Hair & Other Fishes, “ Vol. 8 ch 9.1

Barking Tuna Festival III - April 9, 1988
Featuring the Swaggertail Barking Tuna
(shortly after Rev. Jimmy Swaggart was busted for cavorting with hookers)

 
A CELEBRATION OF LOVE & PEACE
FOR THE BARKING TUNA IN YOU AND ME

The townspeople gathered in the roadside dust. Just stood and stared at the crumpled flesh transforming beside some discarded tofu dispenser. “Looks like Butch,” said the widow. “Nope,” was sure the mayor, Butch wouldn’t sprout gills.” “Not our Butch,” cried the farmer. But through the thrall pushed forward the small one. She believed. Bending closer, she dabbed his dorsal lightly with a moist towelette. She smiled, and without a word, whispered softly, “Go now, Butch. Go west or north. Find the rock. For now is a time to rejoice. To revel in song and dance. Soon I will join you and the world will love together. Yes, it is time.” And in a wink, Butch was gone. The townspeople just stood and stared. The small one brushed a tear. “Never seen him,” said the widow and the mayor and the farmer. Yet somewhere, way out yonder, the barking tuna beckoned.

Selected from “Flopping to Flounder: ‘The Saga of Butch Lungsteen” pg. 89, par. 1.

Barking Tuna Fest VI - April 21, 1990

 
FUNNY, IF IT ONLY TOOK 6
2 CREATE R BEING
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE
2 FIX THIS SICK FEELING?

R GREAT MOTHERSHIP
WILL SADLY B SUNK
IF WE KEEP FILLING HER UP
WITH SUCH HORRIBLE JUNK

YET THE GRAY FLANNEL GIANTS
EAT THEIR FILL OF R TREES
2 MAKE COCKTAIL NAPKINS
2 WIPE OFF THEIR SLEEZE
WHILE A POISONOUS RAIN
WEEPS DOWN FROM THE SKY
SPAWNING R FISH
WITH 3 YELLOW EYES
GROUNDING R BIRDS
& TWISTING THEIR BEAKS
OH, WHAT THEY’D SAY
IF THEY KNEW WORDS TO SPEAK

U CAN START RIGHT AT HOME
PULL THE THORN FROM THE FLESH
IT’S A MATTER OF LIFE
IT’S A MATTER OF DEATH

STAND UP ON A ROCK
& BARK OUT YOUR VOTE
2 PUT A NEW CAPTAIN
ON THIS RUDDERLESS BOAT

Overheard in a room called “MENS,” Stall #3
Winkie’s Perch Hut, Jesup Iowa

Barking Tuna Fest VIII - April, 1992
(election year, Bush Sr.’s last in office)
Featuring The Endangered Mid-American Barking Tuna

 
With an aqueous pop, Rudy unplugged from his mouth the bottle of SAUCY JACK. It had been a dog’s day journey, but now he sat high overlooking the colorful BLACK SPRING. He had come for affirmation.

An answer to the longing that scorched his fiber like a game hen caught in THE SLEESTACKS. All said he was a CROSSED WIRE, but he held tight the feeling that the creature grew inside of more than him.

He sucked a cool breath between his teeth and brought THE VERVE PIPE to his lips. He blew. He waited. He listened. And then it echoed. A beckoning wail that searched the air like a sailor without a pilot. It made him melt. Somewhere, a distant brother answered. Perched on a rock. ROLLING HEAD.

Barking like a tuna.

Barking Tuna Fest IX - April 17, 1993
Featuring the Great Western Tuna Melt
It was also the first to feature the band names in the story

 
Like a morsel on a string, they dangle on pander. Suppressing the rue, the vision rings. Strip the skin, the hair, the scales. Brothers and sisters are what shall be formed in a true pallid oneness. Flap A inserts in slot B. They'll barter away identity for trinkets and gum. Poke linear lines in the lid of their jar. Silence the cantor. Windex the mirror. For the wail grows louder than the shadow it lays upon the tribe long united. It could not be ignored. The fragrance of new found meaning. The emancipation of rhythms and hues. Amplified by the glorious youth... Head thrown back... Standing on a rock... Barking like a tuna.

Barking Tuna Fest XI - March 25, 1995

 
Maybe the town's lawyer really did want his nose back. What if his short-legged half-brother really did own the circus? Perhaps MULE sweat wasn't the perfect fuel for Ned's tiny cheese rocket. No Matter. Public outcries could wait. For now, Ol' Ned was king. King of SARDINA. A land sparkling in the fashion of the sun-dried chubs rusting on its foamy shores. Yes, he was king, alright, with prominence growing daily, much like THE HOWLING DIABLOS emanating from his armpits. And now, there he stood calling his brethren to arms. It was time to celebrate. Time to assemble the masses into 19 WHEELS of translucent revelry. Time to stand on a rock, head thrown back, and bark like a tuna.

Barking Tuna Festival XII - March 30, 1996
Note that the words in ALL CAPS indicate the bands which played

Dig out your old Tuna Fest T-shirts. If they're not too faded, and you can still read the back, please type in the Tuna Story located on the back of your t-shirt, and E-mail the WIDR Alumni Society.

Click here for a review of the 2002 BTF
Click here to return to the written record of WIDR's history.