I was asked if I would mind fish-sitting while one of my friends went to Florida. It’s a deep purple betta fish, or Siamese fighting fish, named ‘Lil Four Four. Of course I said, “Sure!” I mean, I’ve done some pussy-sitting for my friend’s cat (yes, I went there) and I had some fish as a kid. How hard could it be? I suppose if I’m really honest, my mom had those fish since she maintained the tanks as well as being the fish undertaker when they went belly up. Interesting piece of trivia: did you know the Siamese collected these fish and specifically bred them for sparring? Seriously. They’re like the cocks or pit bulls of the sea. Take that, J-Simp. None of that Chicken of the Sea business over here in the land of betta fish.
When I was a kid I had two bubble-eye goldfish named Charles and Diana. Yes, I am a product of growing up in the 80s. Charles was orange (known as ‘red’ in the fish-fancier world) and Diana was white. Basically, Diana got mad at Charles and started nibbling on his tail and fins, and he eventually died from her abuse. If Charles the bubble-eye goldfish was anything like the real Prince Charles, I can’t say I’d blame Diana the bubble-eye goldfish for being angry. That tank was nowhere near Buckingham Palace-size and being in such close quarters with a cheating cad might make me go bonkers as well. Thankfully ‘Lil Four Four rides solo so I didn’t have to worry about any scorned spouses nibbling on his bum.
The Fish-Nanny Diaries
Day 1: I picked up ‘Lil Four Four and discussed his feeding schedule with my friend. Apparently ‘Lil Four Four enjoys the concept of grazing throughout the day to keep his metabolism speedy. Perhaps I should try ‘Lil Four Four’s method instead of chugging coffee beverages to provide energy and replace meals. I carefully transported ‘Lil Four Four home and placed him on the window sill near my seashell collection. I thought being around shells might help him acclimate. I then got scared because he was moving slowly. I decided maybe he was sleeping so I would play some music really loudly to wake him up. I discovered ‘Lil Four Four doesn’t particularly dig the song, “Good Feeling,” by Flo Rida, but does enjoy Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire.” He perked right up then. He also is unfazed by my post-shower naked time, which means I really do need to get back in shape. I even tried starting a conversation but he ignored me. As it turns out, he’s not much different from other males.
Day 2: I woke up and opened the blinds for ‘Lil Four Four so he could enjoy some Vitamin D. I also took his picture. He didn’t seem too thrilled. I might not be happy either if someone woke my ass up and shoved a camera in my face. I decided he should get to eat before he gets subjected to my post-shower naked time again. I began to wonder if flashing a fish could be some type of To Catch a Predator subject that Dateline’s Chris Hansen could cover. I resolved to be more modest around my new finned friend. I also resolved not to cook or ingest any fish in the home while in the presence of my guest. Five days without fish could pose problematic for Lady Sensory, but I could not have him thinking that I’m his version of Hannibal Lecter. I was grateful that this evening’s birthday-dinner establishment was a sushi restaurant so I could enjoy fish outside the home. There happened to be a black bubble-eye goldfish in the indoor fish pond at the restaurant. I wondered if the goldfish were offended by all the sushi being served up in their surroundings. I also wondered if I could set them free by charging the restaurant on a horse like Mel Gibson in Braveheart, screaming, “Freedom!” I determined these thoughts were a result of too much Relax Riesling and made my way home to hit the sack.
Day 3: I relocated ‘Lil Four Four to the kitchen island so he could stare at two bottles of nail polish, various MasterCard receipts that need to be shredded, a pot holder, and a box of foil. I decided that wasn’t a good idea and that I needed to clean up the pigsty better known as my apartment in the very near future. I moved him back near the window to stare at the snow and question why he lives in Upstate New York. Later, I contemplated doing a Rosetta Stone French lesson with ‘Lil Four Four, but decided I would simply subject him to several boring episodes of Grey’s Anatomy since I needed to catch up. Dr. Webber’s wife and the Alzheimer’s situation is starting to remind me of my previous life in senior housing. I felt compelled to sell an apartment to him so I turned it off. I also determined that ‘Lil Four Four’s new French name would be Petit Poisson Quatre Quatre for the remainder of his stay.
Day 4: I woke up earlier than usual to do laundry. I’m sure P.P.Q.Q. (Petit Poisson Quatre Quatre) didn’t appreciate getting up so early while vacationing. After giving the credit card a good workout at the mall, I continued to be more concerned with P.P.Q.Q.’s slow movement, mainly because an R.N. scared me at work by telling me a tale of how she wound up killing the Medical Director’s betta fish and replaced it before he returned from vacation. I didn’t like that story. I thought perhaps I would have some wine and ‘Rick-Roll’ P.P.Q.Q. That’s right, I tried to trick him into exercising around the bowl through copious amounts of Rick Astley, followed by other late 80s/early 90s Stock Aitken Waterman treasures like Samantha Fox and Bananarama. I believe there might have been segue of some Exposé and Cover Girls before moving onto some Lisette Melendez’s Goody-Goody. I stopped the nonsense before tapping into some Stevie B. P.P.Q.Q. appeared to have had enough of the shenanigans. I was very grateful not to be doing any of this on Spotify. God forbid anyone ever finds out about my cheesy dance-music nostalgia.
Day 5: P.P.Q.Q. was still alive and well so I started the day by dropping my car off at the shop for a squeaky wheel and shoving an almond croissant in my face with a friend. I don’t know why I even bothered wiping the crumbs off my thighs since that croissant will inevitably wind up there. We spent the rest of the day enjoying lunch and getting pedicures in snowy 30-degree weather. Flip-flops were definitely a smart choice. We discussed my last post about having a well-stocked pantry. I revealed that I have diminished most of my stock in the past two weeks so the next trip to the store will be a ‘big-shop’ where I spend a ridiculous amount of money stocking up on fresh produce and replacing my basics. We also discussed her amazing friend’s food and wine blog over here. I mean, I’m writing about a frigging tuna melt and canned goods and this man is making some fine art in the kitchen. Then the man at the car shop called to tell me that he fixed my squeak but that I would need to replace my brakes for the bargain price of $450. I told him he was a nutter. A bill like that could put me on an involuntary cooking furlough. I discussed it with P.P.Q.Q. and he agreed that a second opinion is in order. He also promised he wouldn’t die in my care if I promised not to guzzle Kim Crawford and play bad music in his presence ever again. I’m so glad we could work out a deal before he went home to Momma.