RIP Captain Shackleton

      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.

          No dice.

           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.

The Captain

Captain Shackleton surveys his domain        

4 thoughts on “RIP Captain Shackleton”

  1. So sorry.

    Over here there was an old amateur steeplechase jockey called Lord John Oaksey who once opined that one of the worst things about life is the number of absolutely splendid animals one outlives.

    So true.

    If you’ve been around animals a lot, you know enough to hate the religions of the Abrahamic tree for denying them any kind of soul, and Descartes for categorically denying them consciousness.

    1. Thanks, Tony. I received a nasty email from an anonymous internet bully telling me “It’s just a fish so get over it.” Yes he’s just a fish, but I liked him and for being a fish, we actually had quite a few little adventures together.

      It’s driving me crazy that I can’t figure out what happened to him. If I could just find his body, I’d have an answer.

      The Abrahamic religions are total assholes when it comes to animals…but I think Western Civ has redeemed itself (just a tiny bit) by having some of the only contemporaneous societies with humane/animal rights laws. Other religions afford animals with great spiritual power, but treat them atrociously…even worse than we do. Japan’s one of the worst, with their selfish stupid whaling “for research.”

      A good book: “Dominion,” by Matthew Scully. The only right-wing animal rights book I’ve ever read. I hate the man’s politics, but this book changed my life. You have to put up with a little God-talk, but it’s only a few pages. His takedown of big game hunters is epic and he walks the walk as a vegan.

      Thanks for the comment. And I liked the nightengale recording!

  2. Dominion. you are full of surprises.

    i attended one of his promotional speaking engagements and bought an autographed copy. he seemed like a very nice man. the god stuff is hard for me. i still haven’t read it.

    1. I hate the God shit too (though not quite as much as you, it seems), but there’s just a tiny bit of it in the book. Mostly in the first and last chapters. You can skip it easily.

      The book is worth reading. I found Scully’s arguments to be very compelling, and interesting because he frames them in a way AR people almost never do: instead of talking about the rights of animals, he talks about the moral obligations of humanity. And wow, does he ever name names and take people to task. He TORCHES bad guys. And he’s got the inside scoop on them, as a fellow member of the torturing class.

      Scully is also a very good writer. Bummer about the politics.

      And yeah, they often seem nice. I went to a Republican fundraiser in Oklahoma City. It doesn’t get much more backwards than that. Oklahoma is probably the most right-wing state in the Union.

      They were all warm and very nice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.