Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Oscar comes to visit

No, he's not related to this Oscar. Or even this one (for which he gets down on his pectoral fins in gratitude every morning). Oscar is a cichlid and the house pet of our friends the Wilsons (Christine and her two sons). They are on the road at the moment, still moving away from the summer of 2006 in which her husband drowned himself rather than deal with his alcoholism and the breakdown of his marriage. Their house is sold, their belongings stored, and all that remained was to find a place for Oscar the Big Honkin' Fish. A fish, by the way, which had the temperment of a rhino with a toothache and the appetite of Jaws the shark. His bloody past (swallowing his first tank-mate; biting through a hapless mouse) was gleefully described by his two young masters, who considered Oscar a sort of Godzilla in a tank only twice as cool.

The Peeper was entranced with the idea that he could become the Fishmaster of Oscar the Big Honkin' Fish. He explained in great detail how he would feed Oscar, show him where everything in his new room was and keep the cats out so they wouldn't try and catch Oscar the Big Honkin' Fish.

Miss Lily, who knows that fish are best found in small aluminum cans, was skeptical of the project, as you can see.

So was my bride. As you can also see. Note Miss Lily is displaying some mild interest in the new resident of the Fire Direction Center. But not so much as to be vulgar.
The whole Oscar Project turned out to be a circus of such intense death-defying thrills as to make Barnum and Bailey pale with envy. The wretched fish fought violently at being transferred to his moving bucket (his tank being too large to move full) and broke the tank heater. Christine and I both forgot to unplug this gadget, which then arced in the water, throwing Oscar against the glass with a spectacular sizzling. Apparently unfazed by this, the ginormous bastard fought being caught up in the little fish-net-scooper and got himself entangled.
After a wild melee in which the fish was traumatized and my fingers repeatedly poked by his sharp little dorsal spines he was transferred to the bucket, the tank drained and moved, and the Big Honkin' Fish himself replaced in it. All the while three boys 4, 6 and 11 rioted about and Mojo tried to clean up after the fish move and control the furred-pet detachment. Worst of all, Oscar quickly began looking rather shop-worn, lying dazed in the bottom of his tank in a decidedly getting-ready-to-shuffle-off-his-mortal-coil way, and I began dreading explaining to a bereft four-year-old about how little pets sometimes die even when we don't want them to. (N.B. - scroll down to "the raccoon story" for the reference)

Jesus wept.

But...happy ending! Oscar the Big Honkin' Fish was just to big and mean to die. Sunday morning saw him still with us, and by Monday he almost took the tip of my finger off lunging for his Cichlid CibbleTM. Yay. Death, where is thy sting, or, the Fish Too Mean to Die.
So Sunday everyone stayed in bed late and had a nice snuggle. And then we went to the new organic coffeehouse in St. Johns and had some lovely jamoke (with a milk chaser for the Peep).
Miss Lily agreed - Saturday had been a very tiring day!


atomic mama said...

OMG, he survived an in-water electrocution?! He *is* Godzilla, isn't he!?

walternatives said...

Fried fish? It should have been Friday, then. (I crack myself up!) Great story and charming Sunday morning photos, Chief.

SBird said...

The Fish Too Mean To Die. Heh.

Actually the fish sorta matches the cat. They both seem to sport the rusty tortoiseshell look, no?