I got this fish. A goldfish. Originally, it was slated as food for a turtle but after watching the turtle eat one, I couldn't take anymore and put the goldfish in a tank. The turtle soon died, not of starvation; I fed it turtle food, but of a respiratory infection.
Do you realize how hard it is to tell that a turtle is sick? I mean, they're all in their shell. They stick their necks and scrawny little legs out once in awhile, but they drop a little weight, who notices? The poor little bastard. He was alive at the moment I took him from his turtle habitat, and dead by the time I got him to the vet 2 miles away. There was no question of resuscitation. I have never, in my entire life, heard of anyone resuscitating a turtle.
But back to the fish. Ten years later and I still have the goddamn fish. I can hardly fucking believe it. One of them, he's just regular: torpedo shaped, cloudy eyes like any elderly thing. Sometimes, he's got bruises on the top of his head because he gets over enthusiastic at feeding time and bangs his head on the top of the aquarium. Other than that he's a pretty normal fish.
It's the other one who is the problem. He is about 4 inches long and looks like he swallowed a golf ball. You would think this was something a person might see developing over time, but that's not what happened. One day I just looked into the tank and said, "wow fish. It looks like you swallowed a golf ball." Since then, the golf ball has not only remained, but gotten bigger. Now it looks like the fish has swallowed, hmm... maybe a squash ball.
It's horrible. He's all distended. His scales won't stretch far enough to cover his bulk. His anal slit is way distended. If I was going to make up a creature for a monster movie, the only thing I would do differently is make it clay colored. This fish is a marval of survival, and to be honest, there are some days he's almost too much for me. Some days I can't stand to look at him.
But he eats. He swims, although not to the top of the tank. He waits until the food sinks down. And he persistently refuses to go belly up. Sometimes I catch him with my hand. He's, like, easier to catch than a dirt clod, and rub his sides and his belly. I don't know whether it feels good to him or bad. It is very hard to tell what a goldfish is feeling.
Anyway, the other day I couldn't stand it anymore. I just thought to myself, "this fish has got to be in horrible discomfort. He's already lived longer than, like, 99% of the fish in the universe, so maybe I should do him a favor and put him out of his misery." Oh, I'm sure there was a little of wanting to put him out of my misery. I have enough to worry about besides some horrible, mal-shaped fish.
But how to do it? I don't like violence, and I distain pain ever more. I didn't want the poor fish to suffer. I just wanted to help him along to the next world. I could have taken him outside and hit him on the head with a brick, but how is a person supposed to do something like that to a fish she's held in her hand and whose belly she's rubbed? No, hitting it in the head with a brick was impossible. I thought about suffocating it. Hold it out of the water for awhile, but I've seen that kind of shit before, and fish can hold on gasping for breath forever, all the while their gills and blood vessels straining against the oxygen and other diabolical gases brutalizing their breathing apparati like there's no tomorrow. No, holding him out of the water was an impossibility.
But... but... Owing to my rash of bad luck, I've in my possession more pain pills than the pope's had hot lunches, and an idea began to germinate. What if I mashed up a percoset, mixed it in a bucket with water and put the fish in it. Wouldn't it simply breath the narcotic and die? That seemed like a pretty painless method of execution. Don't you think?
I created said mixture, grabbing said fish. Have I mentioned that he's easier to catch than a dirt clod? You would be too if you were only 4 inches long, yet had a belly the size of a tennis ball. I placed him gently in the bucket, put the bucket in the shadows so it would be nice and peaceful, and went away for three hours.
And when I came back, the fish was as alive as ever. Swimming around. All mellowed out and happy. His tank mate however, looked exceptionally depressed. Dorsal fin collapsed, head lowered. Clearly pining for old basketball belly.
There is nothing sadder than a pining goldfish. If anyone can look at a pining goldfish and not have an emotional reaction, then I'm sorry, there's just something wrong with them.
I scooped up old zeppelin belly, which was, like, about a hundred times easier than picking up a dirt clod, and put him back in the tank. I try not to look at him much. He swims, he eats. He does not go belly up. What is a gal to do?