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Topic: Pets (09/13/04)
TITLE: Flushed But Not Forgotten
By Lynda Lee Schab
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It's a known fact that gold fish typically don't have a very long life span. I found that to be true and not true. True about my good friend, Mike. Not so true about myself. I lasted a good seven years with my "family", which I've heard is near record-setting length.
Mike proved himself average by only being with me for a few months but what good times we had! We used to love playing hide and seek in between the rocks and marbles. He challenged me with games like, "who can eat the most food?" and "who can dirty the bowl up the fastest?" He won every time. Mike loved to eat and more eating meant dirtying up that bowl...
But my favorite memories of Mike are the long hours we spent observing our "family". There was "Mom", a nurse who worked nights. "Jeff" and "Matt" spent a lot of time in front of the television (Mike and I particularly enjoyed the hockey games). Then there was "Lynda", who always seemed to be either eating ice cream or talking on the telephone. We used to eavesdrop on her phone conversations, feeling a bit guilty but not enough to stop.
After Mike went on to that big fishbowl in the sewer, I hoped my family would get me another companion. But they never did. Maybe they loved me so much they didn't want to share me with anyone else. So all by myself, I watched the kids grow up. I witnessed many arguments, celebrations, laughter, and tears. Sometimes Lynda brought her boyfriend over and they would kiss. I tried to pretend I wasn't paying attention, turning my tail and practicing my own fishy-kissy lips in the mirrored reflection of my home. I was much better at it, if I do say so myself.
My family took pretty good care of me, although sometimes I had to swim around in my own filth a little longer than I wanted to. A couple times I almost gave in to death myself but then at the last minute, Mom would come along with nice, fresh water and I perked right up again. At least they remembered to feed me almost every day. Overall, I was content with my family. I was treated with the care I deserved.
Until that fateful day in May. I heard Lynda on the telephone talking about throwing herself an eighteenth birthday party while Mom was at work. Oh-oh. I didn't have a good feeling about this...
After Mom left for work, the doorbell started ringing. Kids piled into the house, laughing and talking loudly. I tried keeping to myself but people kept peering into my humble abode, invading my privacy. I did a couple of tricks, hoping that would be enough to satisfy their nosiness. No such luck. I looked around for Lynda, hoping she might come to my rescue but she was nowhere to be seen.
Suddenly my water chilled and I looked up to see a boy towering over me. He was holding something in his hand. I squinted, trying to use the reading skills I had picked up over the years. What did that say? B-u-d-w-e-i-s-e-r. Oh. Oh. That bad feeling was coming back.
What was happening? I felt cold liquid surrounding me, filling my home. Ew----it smelled too. This was not good.
The last thing I remember is the boy laughing hysterically. Then nothing.
They thought I was dead, so they flushed me. I've heard that being flushed is pretty disgusting but for a few glorious seconds, going down, the water was much cleaner that that liquid I had to bathe in for those final moments. But now I reside in the sewer where death constantly beckons. The thousands of goldfish bones I swim over confirm the fact that nothing thrives here.
I often wonder how long I could have lasted with the family had I not been the victim of attempted murder. And I sometimes wonder about the girl, if she felt bad at all for causing my death, even if indirectly. I may have been flushed, but all I can hope is that I was not forgotten.
(Side note: I feel terrible for causing my gold fish's death. Guilt plagues me every time I picture his little face…)