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Thursday, November 10, 2011

And to Think I Had the Eulogy Half-Way Written…


I’ve been watching the tank for a good 20 minutes.

And Cuddy hasn’t moved.

Cuddy, AKA The Pleco, AKA The Itty Bitty Fitty, AKA Sixth in Line for the Presidency (Leon Panetta?  HA!  Let us not speak of Leon Panetta), lay atop one of two available rocks, motionless.

I peer into the three available sides of the fish tank – the back having been obscured by the double-album cover currently serving as backdrop, Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy – looking for signs of life.  No movement.  Not a fin, not a gill. 

Nothin’.

And suddenly it all fits:  the algae build-up, the listless movements of the goldfish, the eerie feeling I had the other day after eating my weight in Shepherd’s Pie…

My eyes go wide as my mouth opens in a disbelieving “O”.

Cuddy is dead.

I frown.  Less than two years old. 

That fish cost me four bucks!

Lady G’Agua stares at me from behind the glass, iridescent ornamental fins rippling in indignation.  Impertinent fish!  Does she hold me responsible for Cuddy’s death?

From my place on the couch, I lean back.  So many arrangements to be made.  Cuddy was, as so many fish are, a Unitarian, although non-practicing.  And there should be music, of course, and a memorial with proper lamentation…

A memorial.

I run to the fridge.  Surely Cuddy would want me to pour a 40 for him?   There are no 40-ounce malt liquors in the fridge, although I do find a Fox Barrel Pear Cider and the last four of six-pack of 12-ounce Miller Lites.

I pour three Miller Lites into the kitchen sink.

I twist the front of my shirt in agony and lift my face to the kitchen ceiling.  “Cuddy!  Ah, Cuddy, we hardly knew ye!”

I return to the living room, where Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) sits atop the fish tank. 

“You smell of confusion and cheap beer,” she purrs. 

“It’s Cuddy,” I say, returning to my seat on the couch and twisting the top off a beer.  “He’s dead.”

“Mmm,” she says.

“Well look at him!” I say.  I turn, point to the tank.

The fish is gone.

Liza Bean chuckles, stands and stretches, one back leg jutting straight out behind her, then the other.  “Those Fox Barrels still in the fridge?”

I sigh.  “Help yourself,” I say. 

44 comments:

jenny_o said...

"The fish is gone."

But WHERE?

Was Liza Bean's arm a wee bit damp?

Sausage Fingers said...

I will use the excuse of the death of Cuddy to drown my sorrows this eve....drinks up...tae Cuddy
R.I.P. wee fishy

nixabn said...

*Lowers flag* I'll join you, will you pour?

Teresa Evangeline said...

Cuddy, the Unitarian, RIP. At the bottom of Liza Bean's tummy, I presume? At least for awhile. Using Fox Pear as a chaser was a nice touch, though. Dear Liza, dear Liza.

"You smell of confusion and cheap beer." Ah, this is good stuff.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

So much for the memorial.
Little fishy in the tank, Looks like you done gone and sank. Call the kitty over here, Go and pour another beer. It's Miller time.

Nessa Roo said...

Was Liza Bean lickin' her lips when she said, "Mmm..."?

vanilla said...

You can always depend on that Liza Bean in times of distress.

Leenie said...

Cats have no remorse.

Simply Suthern said...

I spose that was the 4th option after flushing, burial and cremation.

Shelly said...

I'd smell her breath. A cat with fishy smellin' breath has been up to no good.

Joshua said...

I'm only grieving because it was a plecostomus. Best damn fish ever.

Friko said...

You heartless pair!
You have me in tears of mirth.

Eva Gallant said...

You had me roaring again...Cuddy was a Unitarian! I love, love your posts!

Gary Baker said...

No idea why but it reminded me of: "Last year I went fishing with Salvador Dali. He was using a dotted line. He caught every other fish." Steven Wright

Suze said...

Very cute. Excellent voice, Pearl.

lgsquirrel said...

I really enjoy your fishy tales.

bill lisleman said...

I have a theory on this one. You had that great line, “You smell of confusion and cheap beer" and built a story around it. With the right actor that line could win an Oscar or maybe another round.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Oh, Pearl! What a great way to start the morning. I love your writing and this post! Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) is a sly one, indeed. RIP, sweet Unitarian fish!

Susan in the Boonies said...

That CAT!!!!

Do you not get a little frisson of anxiety, from time to time, as you turn your back to walk away?

Douglas said...

Dogs show guilt, cats display attitude,


Can I hire you now to write my eulogy?

Belle said...

Poor Cuddy. :(
And poor you since he cost you $4! That made me laugh. I guess the goldfish were listless because they were grieving or the smell got to them. I'm going to miss your fish stories. Go buy another one! Well, unless you think the goldfish have a few tales to tell.

Sioux said...

Liza Bean...the great recycler.

jenny_o said...

Is it just me or does the title hint at a lack of deadness on the part of Cuddy?

Yes? No? Waiting with baited (heh) breath.

Pearl said...

jenny_o, I have to admit that I didn't spend enough time with this one and you are RIGHT. :-) Cuddy is not dead -- I found him suctioned to a corner of the tank! I just didn't have time to write more this morning!!! AAAAAAAARGH!!!

If only I'd had more time. :-)

jenny_o said...

And here I thought the ambiguous ending was intentional!! We may need Instalment Two.

Matthew MacNish said...

I think fish are only Unitarian in Minnesota. In California, they're Buddhists. In Georgia, Baptists. Texas, Methodists. Or wait, that might be people.

AllenTesch said...

Ha. As a fish keeper I can relate to this. My Oscar recently died. We had a nice funeral for him in the back yard.

Slyde said...

Last month, we went thru the death of our beloved "killer whale", the small beta fish my son had. He cried for an hour :(

Joyful Things said...

Next time give him a little nudge with the handle of the net. or a really long pencil.

R. Jacob said...

I think given the opportunity, most self respecting fish would pass on life in the tank!

Silliyak said...

Cuddy why you little....

Linda O'Connell said...

Bet Cuddy is playing possum or nipping the algae.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

I often smell of confusion and cheap beer.

alwaysinthebackrow said...

That cat can smell cheap beer anywhere. Poor Cuddy-an obit writ too soon? Liza will be waiting for the next opportunity.

NYEMT said...

There's that context-lacking obscenity again. Your spammer is back. :)

Julianna said...

I had a 25 cent goldfish that lasted three years. In the end, he was too big to flush.

*raises a glass in memory*

Laraine Eddington said...

Curses upon you for the update. I've had to cancel the wake

Gigi said...

Oh for the love of Mike!!!!

Hmmm, seems Cuddy was in cahoots with Liza Bean to trick you. But the question is - why?

Jonas said...

I love this - "a non-practicing Unitarian." Hey! Me, too!

Vapid Vixen said...

"That fish cost me four bucks!"

Some fish have no consideration whatsoever! Should have been a dollar a year. Cheapskate lazy fish.

WrathofDawn said...

Oh, Pearl! You're going to be the death of me! At "Cuddy was, as so many fish are, a Unitarian, although non-practicing." I laughed so hard I almost joined Cuddy in that great aquarium in the sky.

Why is my cat looking at me like that?

HermanTurnip said...

Why do I picture you standing out in the rain, arms raised to the heavens shouting "WHY!!??" as lighting cracks in the background? The camera slowly pans away. Dramatic music leads us into a slow fade of black.

And then Liza Bean saunters in and ruins the entire scene.

River said...

"the fish was gone"

Dissolved in the water.

The Jules said...

When I was a kid I revived a seemingly dead goldfish by holding it under the cold tap for a moment so it got re-oxygenated. It lived for another few weeks, so happily got time to say goodbye to it's loved ones, and to finish that really long poo it had been doing for a month.

And that's how I knew I wanted to become a paramedic.