Saturday, February 02, 2008

Earl tries to be a Babel fish

Earl has been sent to his room and the door taped shut!

Earl, the jerk. I bet he was just having the time of his life and didn't intend to cause mental and emotional trauma to us humans who love and adore him.

What happened a few nights ago is a fish owner's third to worst nightmare (the boiling fish event would be a close second, I'd say). I attribute it to my good luck and occasional light-sleeping skills that he's even alive today.

I believe it was around 3am (i.e. after midnight) that I was woken by a clattering somewhere in the apartment. I lay there in bed suspecting if it was just something that had fallen off a shelf because of bad placement, or an invisible breeze, or if someone was trying to break in, or . . . I eventually figured we'd find out what fell in the morning, so I let my eyes drift closed. . . .

And what seemed like 10 minutes later was again woken by a muffled crash and multiple involuntary thuds and shuffling. Wouldn't you figure, this thing making all the noise was alive. I was convinced it had to be none other than Earl leaping up beyond his world and straight into destruction. The typical Babel story. It took me three tries to shake my boy awake (he sleeps deep, man!). "Did you hear that??" "No." "I think it was Earl!" "No it wasn't." "What else could it have been?" "I don't know." So I screwed up my courage for the sake of my oscar fish and said, "I'm going to go check it out."

So I edged my feet to the office where the fishtank is (didn't want to accidentally step on anything remotely wet or slimy), flashed on the lights, and peered into the room expecting the worst. I have to say, seeing your favorite fish's 10-inch body like a slab embedded in the carpet is a very sad thing. Even from afar. My heart leaped in my chest, and like a normal girlfriend, I yell "Earl is on the FLOOR." and wait for Pete to drag his butt out of bed and fix it.

It was especially tough because I couldn't figure out when he had jumped. My mind was racing -- was it the first time I heard the clatter? Or the second time when I heard the shuffles? And how long has he been out of water? 1 minute? 10 minutes? Oh god, is . . . he . . . d-e-a-d-?? Pete pokes Earl's body a couple times with a fish net. He's a goner, I know it. "Little buddy's dead. Get me a plastic bag."

I double bag it.

After sliding Earl's body around on the carpet (apparently he's one heavy s.o.b.), Pete reels back as Earl starts flipping around like crazy -- one last attempt at omnisciency? "He's alive!!" Pete grabs the bucket, gets Earl to flip directly into it, and dumps him back into the tank, carpet fluffs attached and all.

We immediately duct tape the lid shut and that was that.

I lay in bed on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and Pete was out for the count again. So much for support.

Earl didn't eat for a day or two, but he's almost back to his usual self, chasing Monty and Succubus around, attacking his reflection, and poking his mouth out of the water during feeding time.

Every now and then, I succumb to the great urge to yell "JERK YOU AIN'T NEVER COMIN' OUT AGAIN" at him for scaring us like that. Honestly.

The jerk.


Monroe said...

he's always been a jerk and always will be.

mobyus said...

Mebbe he just wanted to crawl into bed with you & Pete. Poor guy.

The Pearl said...

I think, like his namesake, he was going in for a slam and got fouled on the way up. You can't keep a good fish down.