About six months ago, the boy talked me into getting two little goldfish and a little 1.5 gallon tank that wouldn't take up too much space and he'd feed them and take care of them and wouldn't let them go on the carpet, etc.
The boy picked a little black goldfish with big eyes and I picked a patchy gold/white monstrosity with buggy eyes and a big bubble but to match. His name was "bubble butt"***
I never claimed to be a fish expert, but it seemed to me that my brother used to only feed his once a day. Well, the boy fed these things up to four times a day. There was breakfast, elevensies, dinner and a late night snack. Bubble butt liked this. He kept getting bigger and bigger and pooping the most amazing long poops ever. His buddy, little black fish, may he rest in peace (in the potted plant soil on the deck), couldn't compete, and died.
The boy promptly started blaming me and my fish for the death of little black fish. I felt remorse and growing loathing for bubble butt. He got bigger and uglier and made even more of a mess. Through his big ugly eyes, you could now see straight into his head. That is, when there wasn't some strange bubble-within-a-bubble growth thing covering his eye (it comes and goes).
I bought a little adorable yellow snail to live with him and eat the algae. Little adorable yellow snail couldn't keep up and promptly turned green because he himself was covered in algae. He lost his will. Then bubble butt ate him. Not sure how, but he did.
The last two months, I've felt awful walking past the lonely tank. Bubble butt had grown too big for the little tank. He sat at the bottom all the time. Barely moving. My guilt grew.
So, I bought him a $50 tank with fancy new filter thing and a heater. It's big and ugly and takes up a too much space. But my guilt was strong.
I carefully read the instructions. Filled the tank. Dechlorinated the water. Set the temperature. Assembled the filter. Watched and waited. The boy kept asking, "is it time to put the fish in his new tank? he's so excited..." I kept saying, "no, the book says to let it run for 24 hours" or "its not warm enough yet". I kept a vigil by the tank until I was too sleepy and went to bed.
When I got up I found that the overexcited boy had moved bubble butt when I was sleeping. I didn't get to see the look of joy in his freakish parasite infested eyes. But sure enough, he still sits at the bottom of the freaking tank.
Damn you, fish. Damn you.
***I told this same long and uninteresting story to a friend last night and she told me about her series of childhood fish. She had like 5 goldfish in a row that each died after a month or two. What did she name each and every one? "Car Seat". Isn't that WONDERFUL and STRANGE?!?