Short Story: The Death of a Fish

Fantail goldfish (Carassius auratus) in tipsy fishbowlTerry gazed into the fish’s eyes. Bubbles stared back at Terry. The dull penetration of those eyes was so reminiscent of his uncle, Mr Felinus that Terry had to look away….

“Ooooh…” wailed the fishbowl as it involuntarily embraced the tiled, kitchen floor.
With only a moment’s hesitation, Terry began shuffling the debris into the nearby trash can. However, a familiar, gnarled hand clamped on his shoulder soon inhibited him from making much progress.
“Stop, you blithering idiot! Stop at once!” cried Mrs Felinus “Don’t mix the glass with the garbage. It needs to be recycled.”
Terry immediately changed his course of action. He jerkily dropped the remaining fragments into his pockets at such a rate that his pocked bounced against his leg as if it had a life of its own.
Mr Felinus clambered down the stairs at a rate akin to his droning voice. “Goodness me, was that the fishbowl that fell?” He spluttered pompously.
“Not fell, dropped! By this mongoose of a boy!” Mrs Felinus responded viciously. She was sprawled across the floor, in a manner that would have disgusted a sloth. “And now where could our Bubbles have gone to?” She whispered with an entirely different tone in her voice.
“It’s no good my dear, even if we did find him now, the fish would be dead,” Mr Felinus said grimly before he dropped his unwilling frame to the ground beside his wife.
He then turned savagely to his nephew “Boy, we heard you were an animal-lover. What do you have to say for yourself?” Terry remained silent as he fished out the last grains of glass from the newly formed water feature. Mr Felinus continued with venom “We thought it was the stray cat that we had to worry about, little did we know, that when your mother requested you stay with us, we were to host a murdering menace in our house.”
Terry left the room and scampered towards the main door. He slid into the doorway and waited, perfectly still. He thought he could hear the familiar meowing sound. Sure enough, a stringy cat emerged and pawed his way nervously towards him. He took something from his pocket, brushed of the shards of glass and laid it in front of the cat. “This came from our emergency supplies, you know,” said the boy as he stared into the cat’s hollow eyes. “Don’t worry, I’ll make a plan for tomorrow,” he continued with a bitter smile. He patted the cat and then skipped towards the recycle bin. The cat purred happily and then started eagerly into the fish.

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