We lost our beloved fishy friend, Stripey, today. And it was Lane’s fault.
Okay, so he wasn’t that beloved, and he wasn’t named Stripey. In fact, he didn’t have a name. Perhaps he deserved one. But in any case, it was Lane’s fault, and she was very upset about the whole thing, but not for the reasons you might think.
To start, I had no idea any of this was going on. Was I in the next room? Yes. Was I conscious? Yes. Was I staring at an electronic screen and/or reading? No. So I should have been golden, but no. Lane was quiet. Super quiet. Preschool ninja master quiet.
The only reason I found out was because Jewel came running into the room holding up something small and jiggly with dark stripes. It was one of the tiger barbs from our 125-gallon freshwater aquarium.
“Lane was keeping this!” Her mouth turned down with disgust, and she held the poor, dead fish as far away from herself as possible. Stripey promptly received a… ahem… burial at sea.
It was time for me to investigate. I donned my imaginary deerstalker hat, clamped my imaginary tobacco pipe between my teeth, and strode the twenty steps into the front room to look for clues. And there they were. The open top, the net askew on the table in front of the tank, water splashed around, pink plastic Easter bucket suspiciously wet inside.
So what did I deduce? Or, rather, what did Lane tell Jewel, who told me? Lane took the net, shoved it in the tank, and nabbed whatever poor schmuck-of-a-fish swam into it. Then she dumped it into the cheery pink bucket and watched. I imagined the little slimy thing, mouth gaping, trying desperately to breathe. It didn’t stand a chance.
I asked her why she murdered the fish (no, I didn’t use that word… she’s four… I’m not completely heartless).
“I wanted to eat it. I like eating that kind of fish,” she said.
My mouth hung open, my eyes wide in a fixed stare of surprise and disgust, not unlike the probable expression of the newly expired fish. I kindly explained that we don’t under any circumstances eat our aquarium fish. At all. Ever.
Poor Lane was distraught. Was it because she had killed a living, breathing creature? Nope. You want to know why she was upset? It was because I wouldn’t let her eat the fish. She simply couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t let her consume the flesh of our doomed aquarium pet.
I’ve been known to say that Lane is my most interesting child. My friend, Mary, asked me just the other day why I so frequently say such things. Well, now you know. It’s because of times like these. Every day is an adventure, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Nor should it.