How does that happen? I have these fish. I don’t want them, but I have them. My son moved out and left them with me. I don’t know anything about fish. I’m sure I don’t do things the right way. But they just won’t die. I know that sounds bad, but I just don’t have time to take care of anything else these days. I should go back a bit because, in truth, several have died – the really pretty ones – all dead, except one. He really isn’t pretty anymore, either. You see at first, about two years ago, there was a pretty blue one, two yellow ones, a big silver one, another mean silver one, and a few others. The pretty blue one was the first to go. I liked that one. One morning I went over to feed them and there he was – what was left of him. I later caught ‘mean fish’ in the act, brutalizing another one. Everyone said I should just flush him. But, alas, I couldn’t do it. So I netted him, put him in a plastic container, and tossed him into a little inlet of the lake. At least he had a chance, right? Since that time a few more have gone belly up. The pretty yellow one – single now – looks like he has leprosy. And someone’s been biting his tail fin. Poor thing. I’m not sure how he can swim at all. My daughter brought five goldfish home from the Military Ball last year. They were table decorations that she felt sorry for. She put them in the tank. Just when the numbers were dwindling, she replaced the unfortunate creatures with a new set. They’re doing very well. They’re growing all the time. They eat, poop and grow ... and apparently at least one of them is attacking the poor yellow fish. It’s probably the really big one. My co-worker thinks it must be a koi. I don’t know because, like I said, I don’t know anything about fish. He’s just ballooned from a tiny thing to this ridiculously big, bully fish. The ranks are again advising that he needs to be flushed. So every day I feed them. Every now and then I clean the tank, followed by hours of threatening to send them all for a swim down the porcelain bowl of no return. Sometimes I leave the tank dirty and don’t change the filter for months, hoping they’ll just die quietly in their sleep. Yeah, I know. They never sleep. They probably watch me sleep. And taunt me with their perky healthy eyes though the murky filthy water. They’re still thriving. All except poor little yellow guy with no tail. Despite advice from even fish-lovers, I can’t flush him, either. Some day they’ll be gone. And, if I’m still alive when that day comes, I’m never having fish again. Except blackened. Or grilled. Or beneath a creamy wine sauce with mushrooms and scallops.

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