The Fish Who Came to Dinner

So there I was, minding my own business, one frosty night just after Christmas.  My kids and I were cozily watching a movie from among the many DVD’s we exchanged as gifts this year, and we were having a dandy time at that.  When suddenly, what should appear at my doorstep?DSCN6843

A mysterious stranger in the form of a goldfish in a bowl, seeking refuge from the darkness of the night.

Now, before you ask, what’s the big deal with a goldfish appearing at my door late at night, I will tell you: I know nothing of the care and feeding of goldfish. I never had a pet fish in my life, though once, when my son was but a boy, I got him a turtle, followed by a lizard, and both perished within days of being under my care.  Frankly, I just couldn’t keep up with the demand for live crickets and such.

But, back to the fish.  It seemed, my neighbor was heading out of town that very evening, and had forgotten to make plans for the fish while away. Since we were the only ones home at the time, lo and behold, it fell upon us to take the fish in.

Much to my horror, for ten days this critter has invaded our home, and, if truth be told, I feel, ahem, like a fish out of water. What if the fish dies on my watch? I’ve heard it said, you can kill a fish simply by overfeeding it. For all I know, looking at it sideways will cause it to pass out. I’m doomed!

And, why oh why, did I forget to ask my neighbor for the name of said fish? I don’t even know its sex! Shall I call it Jack or simply Jill? Or, should I take a page from Henry, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who descends from royalty, and refer to the fish as Lady Guinevere? Don’t even ask.

Ten days! This was supposed to be my holiday, which I was using to spend time with my son and my daughter, and catching up on all sorts of activities, like organizing the closets, baking, reading, and doing pretty much as I please when I please.

In other words, I had other fish to fry. But now, I have to worry about just one fish and making sure it stays alive for at least 10 days.  After all, I don’t want any animal welfare groups to come after me.

Should that happen, one would hope that Henry would vouch for me in a pinch, but, alas, with Henry, you just never know. When push comes to shove, if the police were called in to investigate the mysterious demise of a certain goldfish, Henry would probably feign silence at first, and act as if he didn’t understand the language at all.

Perhaps, after the detective’s persistent queries, he might just say,  “Is Cook a friend to animals? Why, I wouldn’t know. I did see her once do something horrid to a spider, and then there was the time she forgot to give me my dinner, so you decide.”

And, that would be enough for the detective to surmise foul play and take me in, handcuffs and all.

It’s been three days now. Thankfully, Jack/Jill is still alive and we are all holding our breath that it stays so. Even Henry, who has little faith in my fish-caretaking abilities, sighs in relief whenever he passes the bowl and sees the fish still frolicking about.

“All’s well! Seven o’clock and Lady Guinevere is still kicking,” Henry exclaims loudly.

Seven more days. And yet, with each passing one, the water in the goldfish bowl seems to get a touch murkier and I can’t help but wonder, who’s going to clean that bowl out? Will Lady Guinevere (aka, Jack/Jill) be blinded by the dense gunk within? Should I do my best to procure a fish tank and all those fancy supplies that are used to keep the tank clean? And, while I’m at it, does Lady Guinevere need a Sir Lancelot for companionship?

Oh dear. I’m fretting so about this one-inch fish, and praying it survives life in my abode. Oh dear!

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever had to care for someone else’s pet, without a clue as to what to do?

Well, that’s my fish tale. Any advice is most welcome. In the meantime,

Happy New Year, friends!

If you have a moment, please check out the results of my Fifty/Fifty Challenge!