Last night my wife called me with some sad news.
Eric had died during the night.
No, not that Eric, the other two.
Last spring I bought a dozen feeder gold fish for our pond. You see I got tired of buying nice gold fish for our back yard pond, just to watch them turn into frozen dinners for cats during the winter. So I went to PetSmart or as Bruce Campbell would say “Shop smart shop Pets Mart”. I think I paid 12 cents for each fish. I tossed them into the pond in April and they grew like weeds.
My son suggested naming all the fish the same because it is so difficult to judge their personalities when so young and small. Later we got inspired by a Monty Python Flying Circus skit from long ago.
The Fish License Sketch
Hello, I would like to buy a fish license, please.
A license for my pet fish, Eric.
How did you know my name was Eric?
No no no, my fish’s name is Eric, Eric the fish. He’s an halibut.
You’ve got a pet halibut?
Yes. I chose him out of thousands. I didn’t like the others, they were all too flat.
You must be a looney.
I am not a looney! Why should I be tied with the epithet looney merely because I have a pet halibut? I’ve heard tell that Sir Gerald Nabardo has a pet prawn called Simon and you wouldn’t call him a looney; furthermore, Dawn Pailthorpe, the lady show-jumper, had a clam, called Stafford, after the late Chancellor, Allan Bullock has two pikes, both called Chris, and Marcel Proust had an haddock! So, if you’re calling the author of ‘A la recherche du temps perdu’ a looney, I shall have to ask you to step outside!
I was determined to see these fish through the winter. The pond heater didn’t work last year; it couldn’t keep up with the cold. This year I bought a ten gallon aquarium, scooped out all the Erics and moved them into their new home.
Our cats were thrilled.
Soon the fish got used to the presence of our three cats. The cats still love the fish, it’s like TV for them.
Apparently, even in the fish world, Darwin rules the day. The smallest two Erics were found dead, there were signs of abuse from the other fish. My lovely wife decided to increase their feeding. Maybe they were just hungry and not territorial or simply viscous. Do goldfish fight for fun?
I was saddened by the news. I asked how their remains were handled, fearing the worst. They were tossed out with the garbage; the ground was frozen so it was the only choice available. I was somewhat relieved, I feared that they found a watery grave in the toilet. They were largish fish and I didn’t want my mental image of their last moments on earth of them being un-clogged.