On Friday, my family went to see my grandma, who gave us an old fishbowl and some antique fish supplies. She was desperate to get the stuff out of her house, and suggested we get a pet fish to put in the fishbowl. We do have a cat, so at first my mom just rolled her eyes at the notion of getting a fish. She figured the cat would treat the fish like a take-out box full of salmon teriyaki, and kept saying our condo doesn’t allow residents to have more than one pet anyway. But to be honest, Artemis isn’t too into hunting, or killing things. Sam and I kept mentioning to Mom how fun it would be to have a fish. Mom was convinced after about a day of us innocent children getting our hopes up. On Saturday we went to PetCo to select a fish, having decided that if the cat tried to attack the fish, we’d take it back to the store or give it away.
We ended up buying a new fishbowl altogether, so there was almost no point in Grandma giving us the fishbowl. I guess it was the inspiration for us to get a fish; currently we plan to turn it into a terrarium. Anyway, we also bought some disgusting-looking fish treats (dried worms) and food and water conditioner. The piece do resistance – the fish – was a betta, or Siamese/Thai fighting fish. Supposedly this type of fish makes a great first pet. Its natural habitat is the rice paddies of Thailand. (When Mom first read that off the pamphlet about bettas, I thought she said they lived in rice patties. I said indignantly, “people eat fish in rice patties? That’s just gross! How can that be their natural habitat?” Mom and Sam had to combine forces to get me to understand what a paddy is: it’s like a marsh, right? Yep, I’m a total genius.)
Sam selected the betta, which was a male double-tail betta. He was one of a precious few in the store that was actually alive and not floating at the top of his container. I think it’s disturbing how many of the fish for sale were dead already. As I held him in the car on the bumpy ride home, I kept being afraid he’d be knocked lifeless as we hit a red light or went over a bump or something. Sam kept asking, “is he still alive?” Thankfully, he lasted the arduous journey.
Since Sam got to choose the fish, it was my privilege to come up with a name. (A first name, anyway, Sam had already decided the middle name would be Poseidon.) I searched the web for a while, but nothing seemed right. I wanted an ethnic name of some kind, but nothing I came up with seemed to fit him. Luigi popped into my brain, and I seriously considered that name, but it was too reminiscent of that hyperactive yellow car in the movie Cars. Finally, I named him Francisco. (I was into the Italian-sounding names at that moment.) Everyone in the family liked that name, so it was set in stone (until someone comes up with a better name, that is.)
Artemis likes to watch the fish, but hasn’t made any attempts so far to actually kill him. Despite her name, she’d really rather be playing with a toy than hunting live prey any day. We’re all relieved she doesn’t want to kill Francisco. My mom still doesn’t really trust her around the fish though, and keeps an eye out for any stalking behavior…