The fish had been passed on to my friends Justin and Justine before their owners left town. The fish owners had been reassured that Justin was going to stay, so they felt better leaving the fish with him while they headed out of the way of what looked like a killer storm. Eventually, though, Justine convinced Justin they both had to leave...and the fish were not included in their evacuation plans.
So the fish stayed in their humble tank for what everyone thought would only be a few days.
Three months later, Justin and Justine came back to a small miracle: though the tank was grungy, all the fish were still swimming. Life was good...
...except, in the coming year, my friends decided to pass the fish on to the little guy's preschool teacher, who wanted a tank of fish for her classroom. The transfer to the school happened a couple of months after the kid began his first year in his current school, and he and his class learned about the care, feeding, and enjoyment of fish in captivity beyond Finding Nemo.
The next year, the tank was in the classroom again - minus the fish. I heard about the mishap in which my son's teacher, in trying to clean the tank, accidentally caused the deaths of the fish.
In horror, I blurted out,"But...those fish survived Katrina!"
It may have contributed to my son's teacher refraining from getting any more fish for the classroom for the next couple of years (well, my outburst and the crack that developed in the tank), but she decided to give it another go this year. Although the little guy has moved on to a different grade, a different classroom, and a different teacher, he still comes back for visits - and he helped his now-former teacher with preparing a new fish tank for a new set of fish.
All of which promptly died shortly after their introduction to their new home.
No matter there...even if I had to repress some sick giggles at this latest twist of fish fate, as well as the impulse to call my son's former teacher Darla the Fish Killer...she purchased another three fish. Two goldfish and one pretty black fish with telescope eyes.
I came in today to find a distraught teacher. The poor black fish was slowly dying of ich. This would make the fourth fish in a month's time meeting its demise in her classroom. I had to scoop out the dying creature and hold a short fish funeral in the bathroom.
I don't know if any of us can take much more of this ichthyian carnage, so please help me pray to whatever gods might help watch over the remaining goldfish in the tank....more for our collective sanity, actually, than for the physical health of the fish.