You already know the ending to the story, so I’ll dispense with suspense and tell it first:
… about an hour after it arrived home from the County Fair, the fish died.
The back story? Bubta’s friend Sam was at the Fair and remembered that he never got him a birthday present back in April. Hew saw something he was sure Bubta would love and called him up, and Bubta called me at work:
Mom, Sam wants to buy me a rabbit for my birthday. Can I? Please?
I quickly put the kibosh on that little scheme. Two minutes later he called me again.
How about a fish instead?
I articulated all the usual conditions: YOU have to remember to feed him and change his water (which I have heard is a chore that’s beyond gross) and how are you going to remember all that when you can’t remember to take your daily medicine and you have to spend your own money to buy supplies and we already have two pets why do you need something else to take care of and…
Well, OK. FINE.
Now, I have never owned a pet fish and as such know nothing about keeping them alive caring for them. I think that fish are more appropriately caught and cleaned by Trained Professionals, then cooked thoroughly and served with a spritz of fresh lemon juice, a nice arugula salad, a side of creamy risotto and a crisp Pinot Grigio. Oh sure, I enjoy staring at a giant emergency room doctor’s office fish tank from time to time, or the occasional visit to a large aquarium facility (even if is teeming with more children than fish).
But Bubta, being 13, felt he knew aaaall there was to know.
Even though he has never owned a pet fish.
I recall hearing that Fair Fish are not reknowned for their long life spans.
Bubta marched into the house, grinning like a damn fool, toting a small plastic box filled with water and pretty colored stones and a cool little fish, whose name, he informed us, was “Gerald.” Then he marched back to the bathroom while announcing that iwas time to change Gerald’s water.
(I just learned this minute [Thanks, Google!] that the temperature of the water matters, AND, it’s supposed to be dechlorinated tap water. Who knew?! I blame the sloppy water change as the primary cause of death, but determination of final cause is pending the autopsy.)
Anyway, we went next door to feed our vacationing neighbors’ pets and water our other vacationing neighbors’ plants, and by the time we got home poor Gerald had passed on to the Great Plastic Fishtank in the Sky. God rest his fishy little soul.
Now, of course, Bubta wants to go to the Pet Store and do it up right. We assigned homework, though – he has to research fish care and come up with a list of care pointers and spend his own money. He’s pretty pumped about it, too.
Hey – at least it’s not a rabbit!