Feb 15, 2011

The Eccentric Mr. Fish

Mr. Fish, usually being an in-your-face sort of chap, suffers from a bit of camera shyness as he swims away from his nearly constant face-pressed-to-the-glass pose.

Mr. Fish's actual name is Mr. Sparkle Fins (whose brother is named the rather unfortunate Senor Rainbow Fish Sparkle Fins II), but for obvious reasons I prefer to call him simply "Mr. Fish." He lives in a small tank in a sunny spot on the kitchen counter as he found it too cold in one of the bedrooms upstairs where he briefly lived. This is actually his second tank, the first one having been knocked off the counter by Maia Louise at 4 am one morning as I showered the day's art filth off of me. I heard a muffled crash, leaped out of the shower and ran dripping and naked through the house, only to find a broken tank, an insane amount of smelly fish water covering the entire kitchen floor complete with gravel and plastic plants floating lazily around in it, and Mr. Fish flopping madly while being volleyed about by an ecstatic Maia Louise. I managed a quick pick up to make do till a more reasonable hour and followed it up with a second shower. But I digress.

Mr. Fish is a very weird little fish. Unlike every other fish I've ever encountered in a tank anywhere, Mr. Fish never simply goes about his fishy business unaware of the humans doing their own personal things around him. Mr. Fish watches everything you do. And I mean everything. He constantly moves from one end of his tank to the other, following your every move, never once taking his tiny black eyes off of you. He's enthralled by ordinary kitchen-y type objects (utensils, food packages, et al) placed on the counter near him. He's especially fond of things that are yellow, though why he is is anybody's guess. I've discovered that if you stand in front of his tank while he's staring you down, and you wave to him, he gets so excited he spins in a circle like a puppy.

As I'm not a big fan of keeping any creatures that require a cage and loss of their freedom, I admit I feel bad for Mr. Fish and talk to him quite often when I'm in the kitchen, and I even take the lid off of his tank so he can see up and out the top for a change of scenery (I just have to make sure I remember to put it back before I leave the room, lest I give Maia a free shot at scooping him out and gobbling him down). And one day I felt compelled to reach in and touch him. Now honestly, what are fish supposed to do when you stick your hand into their water? Freak out and swim away in terror, right? Not our Mr. Fish who loves to have his back rubbed, so much so that he'll roll onto his side and wiggle around like a dog rolling in some sweet, cool grass on a summer's day. He's only big enough for a one-fingered rub and a very gentle one at that for fear of hurting him, but love them he does.

I dread the day he passes as Mr. Fish is unlike any fish I've ever known, seen or even just heard of. It's like there's another, more knowing creature inside his tiny fishy body, one that hates being trapped in a little tank full of water and yearns for interaction with the world outside. This is a thinking fish, a lonely fish and to be frank, a very, very strange fish that makes some people, who find themselves spending more than a few moments in my kitchen, quite uncomfortable.

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