When I was younger
(two or three years ago), my sister and I went through this fish tank
phase, right? It was the only pet we were allowed to have, there was
a store right up the street- Everything seemed to work out good. Now,
the thought of the tank we scrounged up gives me nightmares. We had
two or three of those little comet goldfish feeders you buy for ten
cents, a black tetra, three zebra danios, two of those fish advertised
of algae eaters, which I now can't place the true name of, and a male
betta. In a tiny, maybe 10 or 15 gallon tank. *shudder* No cycling,
no water changes, no heater, nothing except a tiny hanging filter and
a lightbulb. I'm amazed these fish survived and thrived the way they
did. But they lived... Miraculously.
Now for the point of my story, and the reason I have such a passion
for fish as I now do. Out of those three comets, one was a lovely sheen
of gray. I promptly claimed 'him' as my own, naming him Nemo after the
Nautilus Captain in the Jules Verne novel. Yes, I was 10 and reading
Jules Verne. *Has a moment of three cheers for her advanced reading
level* No, I'm not self-centered. Not at all. But I digress. ANYWAY.
One day, I woke up and scrambled over to the fish to give them their
daily dosage of tropical fish flakes. But wait- there was something
amiss. Something rotten in the state of... um, the state of Fish Tank.
(Pretend that made sense.) Nemo was missing! At first I checked the
filter tube, fearing the worst. But I couldn't find the little gray
comet anywhere, not even his eyeless corpse. (I'd seen enough dead fish
by that time to know.) So then I figured he'd somehow gotten out, seeing
as how my sister had a bad habit of leaving the feeding flap propped
up. And indeed, there was my beloved Nemo's corpse laying on the carpet.
He had a terrible mess of that yucky loose carpet hair all wrapped around
him, like a tiny death shroud. Wiping tears from my eyes, I picked him
up and rushed to the bathroom to give him a ceremonious funeral down
the toilet. But I noticed something... the tiny bundle was moving! Nemo
was alive! But not for long if he remained wrapped in that suffocating
fiber. I hurriedly got a bowl of water, dropped in a tiny drop of dechlorinator,
and dunked Nemo's form into the water. But he didn't swim. The carpet
didn't fall off. If I wanted to save Nemo, I'd have to take action.
I spent almost an hour hunched over that bowl, painstakingly untangling
poor Nemo from carpet of death. Finally, the task was done, and all
I could do was put him back in the tank and hope for the best. And the
best came. Nemo lived for months afterward, finally succumbing, along
with the rest, in the great Little Brother with Chocolate Ice Cream
fiasco. But Nemo lives with me forever- I had saved his life. -I- had
saved his life. I had a special bond with that little guy, even getting
'kisses' when I dipped my fingers in the tank. Of course, now I realize
that those 'kissies' were forages for food. But still, do you realize
what an imprint that left on my mind? One day, when I'm a famous ichthyologist
discovering breakthrough... um, breakthrough discoveries about fish
(I'm not sure what just yet), I'm going to dedicate all my life's work
to Cluny, another of my fishy friends, and Nemo- the fish that got me
hooked on fish. .