Ella jumping up and down holding a sparking, pink, plastic whatsamagig "Ooooo, can I get it? Can I get it? Can I get it?"
"How much is it?"
"Do you want to spend your allowance on it?"
"Nah, I don't like it that much. Never mind."
Recently at the We-Have-Everything Store, she decided to spend her allowance. She started by making a list; One gallon fish tank $10.00, Fish food $2.00, Three Tiger Barbs $6.00.
The following pay-day we made the trip, but after reading tiger barbs are aggressive and will nip each other, she considered other fish. She settled on glow light tetra who are docile, only a dollar and promptly died in the little fish tank next to her bed that night. The next morning, I told my tearful child there was nothing we could have done for those little fishes, they were doomed from the beginning. I assured her fish don't feel much because they're just fish and in fact we were going to be eating fish for dinner... talapia not tetra. She didn't think it was as funny as I'd hoped.
After washing the tank, refilling it and letting it run for two days, we ventured out to the pet store and talked to the fish guy who assured us we were doing everything wrong.
"Tetra! Why would you do that? They are delicate and hard to keep."
"A one gallon tank!? Oh boy, you are already stressing any fish, you should just get the ten gallon instead."
"Plastic coral?! I recommend a live plant."
I smiled and explained about the allowance while he continued to talk over me, then we went ahead and bought three little tiger barbs. We're keeping them in the kitchen for three days before moving them to the kid's room and giving them names.
Yesterday, day two, the littlest tiger barb swam in circles and did flips. I announced he was a goner and the kid disagreed, claiming that he just liked adventurous swimming. Last night he was floating at the bottom. I scooped him out before realising he was still trying to breath and put him back in the tank where he just floated at the top.
In 2001, this happened to our long time self-sustaining-cube-guppy, Spike. He was two years old and dying of old age. His floater wasn't working right, he couldn't get off the bottom of the tank and for two days I hand fed him with a toothpick, a half a food flake stabbed onto the end. When he started looking bad and no longer eating, I fretted and made Dan get Spike out of the cube and chop it's head off with a pairing knife. It was the quickest thing I could think of. Later a biologist pal informed me Dr. Kevorkian would put Spike to sleep in the freezer.
So now, I have a tiny tiger barb flavored fish-sicle in my freezer next to the talapia.