Well, galleons, despite my icthytarian attempts at rescuing dear Clancy from certain death in the unforgiving Walmart backroom, the little fish still managed to up and die yesterday while I was sleeping.
His death marks the death of the last surviving member of the Backroom Fish Brigade, a group of bettas purchased by some dumbshit manager and never put out on the floor to be sold, three large boxes of fish that lived in small plastic containers in the backroom for months with no hope of ever finding a new home.
Try as I might to care for them (when I could), the little fish soon began to die off. The dark, the cold, the irregular feeding, and the super cramped confines began to take their toll on the group. Somewhere deep in my squishy human heart, something stirred.
I started visiting with the fish for a few minutes each day, chatting with them and singing to them while I worked near them. I’d pick up their little bowls and look at them, checking for fallen fishy brothers.
One little guy stood out from the rest. A white and red scrapper, the little betta always tried to attack my fingers while I was lifting his container out of the box. I took a shine to the little guy, calling him Clancy and making him my work friend.
For a while, this was our routine. And as the fish numbers dwindled, my heart began to swell with FEELINGS and junk. But what could I do? I already had a fish at home, and despite his one suicide attempt, the Professor didn’t seem to be going anywhere. And I couldn’t put the two together, seeing as they were both bettas.
So, week after week, I’d return to work after my days off expecting to find young Clancy dead, having joined his fellows in early fishy retirement. But Clancy proved resilient, and I grew ever more attached to him.
It became obvious that I needed to rescue Clancy from certain death in the backroom. And so, after all those weeks of singing and chatting and worrying, I finally busted Clancy out and made him an official resident of The Shoebox.
Things seemed great. Clancy had lots of room to swim, fresh water and food, and an angry little downstairs neighbor who hated the young whippersnapper in the tank above him. Everything was great.
Until last week.
Sunday night, I received a text from Ron saying Augustine, the only other Betta to make it out of the backroom, had tragically perished. Tuesday night, the last of the backroom bettas finally shuffled off this mortal coil.
Clancy was the only survivor, the last remaining member of the Backroom Fish Brigade that was once nearly 70 strong.
Apparently, the guilt proved too much for him. Just two days later, Clancy was found dead at the bottom of his tiny Roman ruin, finally at peace and with his fellows.
I’m not sure if it’s acceptable to play Taps while flushing a fish down the toilet, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t humming it while sending Clancy to his final, watery home.
Sleep well, sweet Clancy. I will miss you.