About a year ago, we "won" a fish, mostly out of pity from the man organizing the ping pong ball toss. Sprite the Fish Cagle came home with us in a plastic bag and, while I am not a pet person, he has swum his way into my heart.
Sometime in the winter, Bennie tried to feed Sprite. Read: she found a stool, climbed up on the counter, found the food on the top shelf of the third cabinet, opened it, and poured the whole thing in Sprite's $108.67 abode. When I thought that the little guy was going to die at the hands of my industrious 2 year old, I screamed bloody murder and, when I could not catch him, Lorie saved the day. We poured him into a Mason Jar and put Bennie in time out.
Some nights, she wakes up and thinks she is still there. It was a long time out.
He survived. Barely. After all, he is a carney fish, and you cannot kill those suckers.
Bennie? Well, she only tried to do it two more times before realizing that terrorizing her brother was a much more competitive sport.
Sometime around the second month of Sprite's existence, we went back to the store and asked the fish manager, Philippe, what he recommended so that we would not have to clean the tank every three weeks.
"Oh yeah? You got Fish Fever, didn't you? Didn't you? You did- didn't you?"
No.... we have a large house and growing family and little time and talent to clean the fish tank. If by Fish Fever, you mean we have kept him alive, than yes. Yes we have.
Jelly came home in a plastic bag with a moss ball. Between Jelly and the moss ball, we were elated at the prospect of cleanliness. It is next to Godliness.
Jelly was awesome. He ate stuff. The moss ball acted like the spleen and cleaned stuff.
The princess castle decorated stuff.
Tack on $7.92 for Jelly, $5.35 for his food and $6.22 for the moss ball. This tank left Expensive about $13.44 ago and headed straight into Crazy Town for the free Carney fish.
Fast forward six months and we head out of town. Sprite must have gotten hungry or angry or something... because upon our return, we were less one fish. And it wasn't the one that was free.
Over the porcelain god did we send our Jelly to his Maker. Prayers were said. Hymns were sung. Toilets were flushed.
Back to the store. Back to Philippe. Back to the discussion of Fish Fever.
Jelly 2.0 came into our lives with an $8.16 investment as fish inflation is real. He brought with himself a much shorter life span. This morning, he was alive- but this afternoon... sometime in the day, he perished. Thinking he was sick, Birdie said, "We can gather him up in the water, put him in a jar and take him to the veterinarian." I smile and contemplate the conversation with the receptionist as I make a vet appointment for our $8.16 fish.
My side of how the conversation would take place:
"Yes, I have a fish and need to make an appointment."
"Do you treat fish?"
"He cost $8.16 at the Pet Store. The last one cost $7.92. Fish inflation is real."
"The last one died when we left him for several days with his buddy, Sprite."
"Sprite's a fish, too."
"Yes, I know that I should not expect a fish to take care of a fish."
"Do they have DFCS for pet owners?"
"Oh? They do? PETA? Huh... interesting"
"My name? Oh... it's u... can you hear me? You're breaking up... can you...Fish? What fish?" Click
We found Jelly 2.0 between a rock and a hard place. Husband got the kitchen strainer. Birdie sang "Amazing Grace" and Bennie did an interpretive dance as we gathered his remains and sent him to the same porcelain god to meet Jelly 1.0.
Sprite the Carney Fish Cagle swam. Fuzzy crawled. I wept at the prospect of spending another $8.16 + inflation on the $108.67 home for the free fish.
Fish Fever might not be real, but Fish Inflation is.