I've so often been told that my turtle, Umberlee, seems lonely in her tank… alone. I think people assume too much.
Finally though, after realizing that her tank had not been cleaned in some time, I journeyed to Petco to buy her a new filter, new gravel, a new fake plastic plant, a decorative rock, and THREE GOLDFISH.
I walked around the shop looking at fish. There were fish with big, bulging eyes; sword-like tails; vacuum cleaner mouths; calico scales; all sorts of fabulous little creatures. I decided on the 26 cent goldfish. Something told me that this was a good price. I asked for three big goldfish, ones that looked sturdy and strong of heart. I got them.
After putting Umberlee into the sink and avoiding her threatening little beak I made her tank beautiful. The new gravel is white and it looks very nice with the bright green and blue rocks already in the tank. The decorative rock and new plastic plant were also a nice touch. I put Umberlee back in and introduced her friends. There were no formal introductions. They all swam around... in harmony.
I went to clean my room. I came back an hour later to find one goldfish gone. "How did this fish jump out of a covered tank?" I wondered aloud to myself. I looked for its little corpse but could not find it. That's when I first suspected. Umberlee watched me, looking bloated, looking smug.
I reasoned with myself, "Those fish were quite large, she cannot possibly eat another, and the weakest one is out of the way."
I left and went to do laundry as it was a Sunday.
When I returned I fell to my knees… there was only one left.
"What the hell is your problem?" I screamed at the turtle.
"I'm omnivorous." She mouthed to me through the glass.
I looked at the last fish, I felt happy that goldfish only have memories of three seconds, no one needs to relive what that fish saw.
"You're a fighter," I told the fish, "there is a reason you are the last one left. You will grow to be strong."
I went to the store.
There are no fish left. No trace. They left no mark. The filter likely removed any flesh or scales that once belonged to them.
Life has a memory of three seconds.
What will I do with this goldfish food?