The G received a worried phone call from her brother on Sunday because their mother left him a message saying something serious and tragic had happened to us. Not being a fool, he knew that her degrees of "seriousness" and "tragedy" fluctuate wildly and assumed that the situation hovered somewhere around "the dog caught and killed a squirrel and maybe smelled bad some."
Well, he was close as the does dog stink. But the real news is, I am sad to report, that this weekend saw the passing of our beloved fish Meshach. And what's ironic about the call is that my mother-in-law is a notorious fish-killer. Her description probably stems from the fact that Meshach could have won some sort of Westminster Fish Show and hers always looked like a sardine scrapped of an old pizza.
About 5 years ago there was flurry of fish buying in the G’s family and I fell in with the craze. But this was an uneducated purchase and Mordecai soon passed. While his death can be blamed on many things (toxic roommates and their desire to feed him 10+ times a day) I believe he died of boredom. His little bowl was too blah.
So before I bought another $2.99 pet, I went out spent ten times that on a new home for him. That included a fish tank bigger than our TV, colorful rocks and glass, a fake mountain range, an expensive filter and the most glorious underwater action figure battle that has ever been witnessed.
With character spanning just about every Sci-Fi movie of the past 30 years, it featured Ninja Turtles fighting The Predator, several G.U.T.S. attacking a medieval-armored Batman, Godzilla brawling Vader, hot Vulcan on Hobbit action, and a Comic-Con Dream Battle of the X-Men vs the Justice League. My roommate ever contributed a Buddha statue he bought in Asia. Stinkor never knew what hit him. And then one small fish was added into the mix.
This affront to God himself sat atop our equally garish TV console. Meshach swam happily around the carnage, interceding where he saw fit (the Gobot vs Construx Astronaut was particularly one-sided) and eating what turned out to be 3 times he daily recommended intake of pellets. His high calorie diet caused him to grow quite large and his fins were long et luxurious. He spent hours admiring his own reflection in the Silver Surfer’s back.
Unfortunately, Meshach’s wondrous life began a slow decline on March 15, 2003: Engagement Day. As the G and I began planning our lives together it became clear that his giant, gaudy home did not fit into her interior design schemes. Shortly before the wedding he was moved into a smaller, classier bowl. The bottom was filled with more tasteful polished stones. Out was Major Blood, in was a small wreath made of fake autumn leaves.
Then came the dog.
While BD left Meshach alone, he stole all attention. But Fish would exact revenge by daily faking his death. He sat motionless on his rocks or floated on his side on the top, not moving until you tapped on the glass. Then he glared and demanded his food.
A few months later, we think, he had a stroke. Or some other form of fishy paralysis which resulted in only one fin working. He had to swim in circles to move around. A trip to the top of the bowl took several revolutions and he would just let himself sink when he was done eating.
It was terrible to watch this once glorious specimen deteriorate but I could not bring myself the euthanize him. (Un)Fortunately, Meshach’s nemesis Brown Dog stepped up where I could not. On Friday, after deciding his breath was not wharf-like enough, he ate the whole can of fish food. By the time I got to the store to buy more on Sunday it was too late. His once beautiful blue scales were now grey and his eyes were dull.
There was a brief but touching ceremony in the bathroom, including an attempt by the dog to eat Meshach before the Flushing. His bowl now sits empty on the window sill, almost as empty as our hearts.
RIP Meshach. RIP.