My favorite fish, a pearl gourami named Captain Shackleton, has gone missing.
What I want to know is: what the hell happened to him?
He was there when I cleaned the algae off the glass two days ago, and I distinctly remember seeing him swimming near the top of the water when I turned off the lights last night. That’s where he always hangs out. The top of the water.
This morning I decided to do a water change. Once I finished, a inspected my little fishies.
Captain Shackleton wasn’t there. Or isn’t there. I checked behind the plants, the intake tubes, everything. I stirred up the gravel, uprooting a few plants in the process, thinking that maybe I’d buried him by accident when I vacuum-cleaned the gravel.
With a heavy heart, I realized I must have sucked him up in the plastic python (a tube used to clean the tank). I hooked the python up again and ran water through it, hoping at least to get his body out of the tube before it decayed.
The python wasn’t lodged with anything. He wasn’t in there.
Where the hell did this fish go? I checked all around the tank for his body. He didn’t jump out. Besides, the tank has a lid. There is only a small area that a fish could jump out of to escape.
He’s not in the filter. I checked.
Even if he died in the night, it’s not enough time for the other fish to eat his body. There would still be a lot of him left. Captain Shackleton is huge. And he looked healthy last time I checked. A magnificent specimen, really.
I call him Captain Shackleton because he lived through everything. He’s over five years old. Three apartments. An assassination attempt by my Ex. Being dropped in the filthy New York gutter by careless movers. Being dropped on the floor more than once (sorry, little buddy). Hurricane Sandy, when I was without electricity for over two weeks, and the cold and lack of filtration caused me to lose half of my stock. He lived through my alcoholism.
I’m sure he’s dead, wherever he is. He’s not in the tank.
I told my friend.
“Did your parrot eat him?”
Impossible. Parrot’s been inside her cage all morning. Besides, I can’t imagine that she’d do that. She’s never displayed the slightest bit of interest in the fish.
It’s a mystery.
RIP Captain Shackleton. You were the best fish I ever had.
|Captain Shackleton surveys his domain|