I cannot be trusted. Yes, this Daddy’s Girl has now committed the ultimate offence. Left to care for my father’s most treasured aquatic pets with a simple twice a day feeding in two aquariums, I have managed to kill a fish. I believe his name was Bob. Well, it’s his name now. Bob is dead. My guilt knows no bounds.
I don’t know how it happened. For days, the first aquarium held a bounty of happy fish and the second tiny aquarium held two joyfully co-existing fish, (removed from the bigger tank for apparent aggressive fishy behavior. Seriously?). But on the fifth day of my care-giving duties, aquarium two contained only one fish. It wasn’t Bob. And do you think I could find him? No. In the paradise of a clean, brightly lit aquarium, layered with white gravel and dark rocks, slowly moving green plants and a quiet murmuring filtration system, I could not find the missing fish, and I assure you, the only remaining fish did not care to comment. He was no help, no help at all. He just swam around, back and forth, blowing little bubbles and staring at me with his beady, black eyes. Hear no evil; speak no evil. Bubble, bubble, bubble.
You’re probably thinking, Kelly, it’s a fish, relax. I know. But you don’t know my father. You don’t know his attachment (read: compulsive obsession) to his fish tank. These gilled creatures live in a confined space of luxury in my parents home where Dad spends countless hours watching these silent pets do, well, nothing.
You don’t believe me? Okay, I’ll prove it. Before leaving for a short vacation out of the country, my father gave me a strict demonstration on the feeding of the fish. One pinch of food, squeezed between your forefinger and thumb, moving left to right across the top of the tank: sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle. Then, repeat moving right to left; sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle. Bob and his silent friend got one-third this amount, just a pinch.
Two days into his trip, my father called home to check in. He didn’t call to get news from back home. No, he called to see how his fish were doing. This was Saturday. I hadn’t killed Bob yet. I believe I said something snarky like, “Dad, cut me some slack. I can feed your fish. It’s not rocket science.”
And then it happened; accidental fish-homicide in the first degree.
I arrived on schedule for the Wednesday morning feeding: sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle repeat. Then off to the second tank: a pinch. “Bob?” Panic. Fear. Anxiety. ‘Where are you Bob?’ (Yes, I actually called out to him). Nothing.
I searched the filtration system, tapped the glass walls, and lifted the lid fearing a floating fish. There was no sign of Bob. He had vanished. His roommate had no comment. He just stared at me with his beady black eyes.
I texted my big brother for guidance and got this response: “Is the other fish suddenly a lot larger than he was yesterday?” Everyone in my family is a comedian.
A day later, I found Bob, dead and wedged under a rock that camouflaged his dark, limp body. His roommate looked guilty. Bubble, bubble, bubble. Something was fishy. There’s my alibi. Blame the fish.
Welcome home, Dad.
Writing has been my passion since I learned how to hold a pencil (which I still cannot do properly). Despite my father’s insistence that I would starve to death in this career, I remain well fed and eager to write more. They say you should do what you love: I love to write.