Finally

My fish would not stop talking. The fish tank is in my bedroom and I was trying to sleep and the fish would not shut up.

“I can’t stand the castle. It’s too small. I go inside it and I can’t see behind me to back out. I try backing up but my back tail fin gets stuck. I try to spin away and my head gets caught in the turret. Why did you buy such a small castle? Are you trying to save money? Am I not worth the extra 5 dollars?”

I said, “Please, I’m trying to sleep. Can you just stop talking?”

Things were quiet for a few minutes and I almost fell asleep. Then the fish said, “What the hell’s up with the Parthenon back-drop? Is this supposed to be some kind of underwater Atlantis? Didn’t the pet store have any deep sea images? I’ll bet that you bought it because it was on sale. You are such a cheap-skate. You know the problem with living that way? You keep thinking you are saving money, but you think cheap, and you can never be satisfied. I have to suffer because you have this compulsion to save a few pennies”

I turned on the light and said, “Seriously, I need to sleep. I have to get up early and go to work.”

The fish said, “You’re always thinking about yourself. It turns out I’m not the only fish in this house. You’re self-fish. Selfish, selfish, selfish!”

I got up and went to the kitchen. I got out a glass vase. I put water in it. I went back up to the bedroom. I reached into the tank and grabbed the fish and put him in the vase. I left my apartment, walked down the stairs to the laundry room, and put the vase on the counter where the other tenants put their laundry detergents. I took down someone’s ad from the bulletin board and picked up a pencil from the counter and wrote, “Free Fish.”

My fish said, “You’ve got to be kidding me. You can’t leave me down here. Bring me back to my tank this instant!”

I went back to my apartment. I laid in bed and turned out the light. For the first time in months there was silence. I thought, “At last.” I laid there but couldn’t fall asleep. I figured it was the adrenalin. But then hours passed. And then I realized, I missed my fish.

I ran back down to the laundry room. But the fish and the vase were gone. I was distraught. I slowly walked back to my place.

I passed one of my neighbor’s doors. I heard my fish’s voice through the wall, “Where’s my tank? Are you kidding me? Do you expect me to live in this glass turd? This is ridiculous. I expect better than this. You can’t treat me this way. I demand to be treated with respect! Are you listening to me? Hey, I’m talking here. Waaake up!!!”

I skipped down the hall. I jumped into bed and was asleep within seconds.

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