Blueberry may have been the longest-living betta fish in the county for all I know. I searched “betta fish life span” and Google kindly told me “2 y on average (In captivity)” with a picture and everything.
Yeah, Blueberry doubled that estimate. At least. Even after spending her first couple years in a large pickle jar after she and her former neighbor fish called bullshit on the “females can be kept in the same tank” myth. Or maybe we just had particularly bitchy fish who missed the sharing lesson in school.
(School. Fish. Yeah, I went there.)
She got to take over the tank when the other fish opted out of the living thing. Pickle jar to tank was definitely a move uptown in fish worlds. You’d have thought she’d have more consideration for my needs. No. Selfish fishbitch.
Blueberry had been lopsided for months. I’m pretty sure she was constipated. Literally full of shit. I’d have long ago started swimming at top speed into the side of the tank if it had been that long since I’d taken a fish shit.
But no. This fishbitch ignored my soothing suggestions.
You’ve had a long life. You can let go now. It’s time to go. Please croak when the kid is at his dad’s. Are you seriously still alive?
This fish would lurk nearly motionless at the bottom of the tank. You’d think it was dead, but it would see you and awkwardly wiggle itself to the top of the tank–then slowly sink.
She waited. The fishbitch waited. Of all days to croak, she picks the one when the kid puts his middle-school defiance into full gear on the way home in the car.
How can I expect him to remember to pick up his missing assignments? It’s only the third day. And this is the first day he had a note to remind himself. But he had to erase the note in social studies because he needed the paper. So, people forget things, right? It’s natural.
Mother of pearl, kid. Seriously? I’m going to buy that? You can remember obscure facts from the Civil War, but you can’t remember your homework?
Then, we get home. Before I can get the infernal keep-the-unhinged-neighbor-from-poisoning-my-dogs bark collar off the dog, the kid yells. At me. Next to the dog. Newfound fact: A screaming sixth grader can set off a bark collar. She immediately pissed all over the floor. He freaked out. She freaked out. I took the collar off and cleaned up the puddle while the two of them hugging on the floor. He can’t believe he did that to the dog. But apparently it’s my fault. Because he’s mad. And I made him mad. So really, I shocked the dog. (And got rid of the collar.)
Then I’m making him some dinner and hear sobbing. He’s staring at the fish tank. Crap. Obviously the fishbitch is finally dead. My first thought is not of loss. My first thought is that the f’ing fish had to pick today of all f’ing days to f’ing die? He’s behind on his homework, he’s already a mess from zapping the dog, and now. The fish.
Sobbing. Unintelligible mumbling that I finally translate into something about burying the fish, tonight. Not. Gonna. Happen. We’ll bury it on the weekend. I retrieve the fish and make a little fish shroudy thing out of old jeans. I buried Lucky the three-legged, no-tail lizard in the pocket of a pair of old jeans. Apparently, I’m doomed to bury everything in denim. (We are NOT getting a pony.)
Where to keep the corpse in the meantime? The fridge. No, he doesn’t want to see it when he gets his breakfast. The freezer. No, she’ll get cold. It takes considerable self control not to remind him that the fish ain’t gonna feel nothing.
Creativity kicks in:
I noticed she was always looking over your shoulder when you watched Alaska the Last Frontier. I think she’d always dreamed of going to Alaska and swimming around like those salmon. No, no one would catch her. No, not even the bears. She’s too smart. Just imagine her swimming around with the bears not being able to catch her. And she’s laughing at them.
It worked. Fishbitch corpse in freezer. Kid calms himself with music. I check on him. He’s listening to a youtube playlist of “mourning music.” He’s doing his homework. The fish is solidifying. The dog is snoring. All is quiet.