One Fish, Two Fish? Dead Fish: Goldfish.

English: An image of a Common goldfish

RIP Jamie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jamie, the kitchen-dwelling goldfish, is no more. He is no doubt at the gates to that great goldfish bowl in the sky, finding out if he will spend the afterlife swimming around Paradise Plaice or grilling with the despicable small fry in the Deep Fat Fryer.

I found him flapping around his tank in distressed circles yesterday morning, bumping clumsily into his Easter Island statue. He then went into a slow tail spin that ended in a soft landing on his pottery fish. Neptune looked on with compassion as Jamie wallowed helplessly on his side like a drunk marooned on a park bench.

As I strode over to check him out, something viscous squished between my toes. Suffice to say that MM now has irrefutable proof that it is indeed unlucky to cross the path of a black cat, particularly if it has confused your kitchen floor with its litter tray overnight. With the relative hindsight of a whole day, MM can also assure French readers that walking in la merde with your left foot does NOT bring you good luck. Even (-or rather, particularly-) if the foot is bare.

Jamie was as off colour as a vibrantly orange goldfish can be, and I prepared myself to inform Little My that her finned friend was in his final death throes. I’m sure that the sensitive readers are no doubt already dewy-eyed, muttering “poor kid” and grabbing a box of paper tissues before continuing this post. Don’t bother. Little My has a very candid approach to life, hence her nickname. I was already sure that I wouldn’t have to deal with histrionics – a fish is a fish. A dying fish, however, is fascinating.

I called my daughter and brought her to the patient’s bedside. Her eyes widened in surprise. She put her hands on her hips, then stooped over the tank and bellowed with authority, “Oy, you! You can’t die now, we just gave you a bigger tank!” The kid is reality on legs. I had to agree with her. He had a groovy tank with fake plants, Neptune and his sidekicks to keep him company, a gravel bed to sleep on, regular food and water changes, and a REAL Easter Island statue (albeit a little one). It was downright ungrateful of him to try to die on us when he had the goldfish equivalent of Bucks Palace all to himself.

Whilst I ruminated about ichthyic ingratitude, Little My scooted over to the cutlery drawer and returned with a spoon. She carefully prodded the prostrate orange comma on the gravel bed. “There! That’s better! See, he’s straight!” Jamie flapped his fins bravely for the sake of appearance, then bellied up like a walrus, eyes bulging and gills heaving.

With the help of her faithful spoon, Little My transferred the patient to an improvised intensive care unit – the kitchen sink, filled with cool water. She gently sprinkled fish flakes over the surface, a little akin to a fisherman’s widow throwing flowers over the choppy black waters of the North Sea.

Operating room in the Elliot Community Hospital

The tender beginnings of goldfish surgery. (Photo credit: Keene and Cheshire County (NH) Historical Photos)

Meanwhile, a rapid diagnosis by a friend online had revealed that Jamie had a problem with his swim bladder. (Bladders are becoming a recurrent leitmotif on this blog.) Thanks to the link she provided, I discovered that all was not lost. The solution was easy: I could feed him a frozen pea to help him digest. I kid ye not. Pea sorbet for bloated bladders. Having no frozen peas available, the only other solution the website proposed was to take the fish to the vet for an operation. I was amazed. Do they operate under water with the help of a surgeon fish? Does the goldfish get the equivalent of an oxygen mask with water in it instead? Or does he have to hold his breath out of water, like in “Finding Nemo”? One day I will grow up. But not now, I’m having way too much fun.

Rugby-boy turned up, and they coached Jamie with enthusiastic fish physiotherapy. Aided by high-tech spoon support, Jamie swam a labourious lap of the kitchen sink, encouraged by raucous applause from my offspring. As Rugby-boy and Little My downed tools, victorious, Jamie rolled his flank sideways and bit the dust. Or rather, chewed gravel. (He’s a fish. Or was.)

“Mum,  I think he’s dead. Can we bury him in the garden?” Two enthusiastic little faces turned towards me. “Can we, Mum? Pleeeease?”

“Of course you can. Just make sure you bury him deep enough, or the cat will find him”.

They appeared satisfied. That was that, then – and family life immediately returned to normal. “What’s for lunch, mum?” The answer was automatic: “I dunno, kids… Anyone for sushi?”

31 thoughts on “One Fish, Two Fish? Dead Fish: Goldfish.

  1. Maybe it was the move to the bigger tank, perhaps Jamie couldn’t cope with it, too traumatic… goldfish don’t like change 😦 Loved Little My’s hands on hips, “Oy, you! You can’t die now, we just gave you a bigger tank!” brilliant! I remember winning a couple of goldfish at the fair when I was little, carrying it home in it’s little plastic bag (along with the tank, gravel and food newly bought from the stall it was won from!)… don’t think those fair ground stalls are allowed now… poor goldfish, they never lived long!

    Poor you, treading in the squishy stuff with a bare foot… especially whilst dealing with poor Jamie’s demise!

    • Hi, TAC, glad to see you! I must get round to your pad to catch up on Mutley’s adventures- school holiday blogging is difficult, roll on the new term 🙂
      Jamie moved in there three months ago, so he has no excuse. His history is complicated, and started in a water glass at my brother’s wedding on the other side of France. I think he (the goldfish, not my brother) died to spite us because we went away for a few days. The worst part was definitely walking in Murphy-poo.

      • He took sulking because you went away to a new level then!
        Have you seen the new O2 advert yet?… ‘Be more dog’ if not, you should have a look on youtube, so funny… you made me think of it with one of your posts about Murphy a while back, I think I mentioned it to you then but don’t know if you got around to looking it up?

        Had a week in Devon a couple of weeks ago and took Mutley with us this time… she loved it! Haven’t got around to sorting through the photos yet but hope to post some soon. The school holiday period is definitely difficult for blogging… I have so many bloggers to catch up with, let alone doing any of my own! Yes roll on the new term! 🙂

      • I did check it out, and I had a good laugh 😀 Devon is beautiful, as long as it’s not raining! Did you go for a wander in the heather and gorse on the moors? (not. jealous. not. jealous. Repeat until symptoms subside.)

      • Heh heh yes we did lots of walks on the moors and up tors, by the river and also took a drive to Mevagissey in Cornwall and spent some time on a beach I love down there… Mutley was scared of the waves but eventually ventured in after a stick… she can resist anything apart from a good stick, or a sausage! 😉

  2. Frozen peas? How are you supposed to administer frozen peas to a dying fish! I suppose you are supposed to feed it to him, and not try and stuff it up where the sun don’t shine? Intriguing.

    If it’s any consolation, I came home the other day to find my cat had crapped on my duvet, and sufficiently early on in the afternoon for the smell to impregnate every porous surface (and I have internal crepy…).

    I was going to throw the whole room out but then pulled myself together and chucked the duvet in the washing machine, then when it had finished, all the bedding. The mattress pong was treated with Sanytol (didn’t work), extra strong white vinegar (brave effort) and finally bicarbonate of soda (done the trick). My cat was less than popular… felixa non grata perhaps?

    • For the cats:
      Step one. Build rocket (your garden). Step two: strap in cats. Step three: Countdown to blast off, then open bottle of Languedoc rosé before heading off to buy new bedding (you) and delicate slippers (me).
      As for the pea, it’s supposed to float in the tank and the goldfish is supposed to nibble at it delicately. After three days and three peas, it’s supposed to work. How they are supposed to nibble at a pea whilst floating upside down is a mystery to me.

      • 3 days was a rather optimistic timescale for your goldfish given it’s expiring state. Oh well. 🙂

        Kittypoo (pun intended) was lucky not to be strapped to my son’s compressed rocket (soda bottle) and fired at speed into the wasps’ nest! He wouldn’t have forgotten that experience in a hurry although I’m sure he had forgotten that he crapped in my bed 5 mins after he’d done it and wondered what that dreadful pong was… 😀

  3. Poor fish… 😦
    My older sister (Genghis Khan and I are both scared of her) was once left in charge of her nephews goldfish. She decided the bowl was dirty and needed a good clean. After transferring the 4 fish to a bucket, she cleaned their bowl with Domestos, a bleach that is know to kill 99.9% of all germs including fish.

    Needless to say they went belly up after she transferred them back to their sparkling, shiny and deadly bowl.

    She bought 4 new fish but the nephew was not fooled.

  4. Could be the change of tank, or its cleaning. I remember Grande-Mamie, years ago, doing the same as your sister, cleaning her aquarium with “Eau de Javel” and all the fish quickly going belly up when transferred back to their tank…

    • Hey ho, Papounet 🙂 I remember that story! Her guppies would have had the whitest teeth in the tank, if they had survived… 🙂 We never clean, or rather cleaned, the tank with anything chemical – PF knows his way around fish tanks, and Mamie’s exploits have never been forgotten!

  5. I’m feeling a tad guilty that I have never googled “what to do when my goldfish appears to be on his last breath”–but you and your crew are way ahead of me. That, and you don’t appear to be overly sentimental. 🙂 I don’t like peas, so I’ll probably never have them on hand, but if I find out they are good for my own bladder health, I might reconsider. R.I.P. Jamie.

    • Hi there! If it makes you feel any better, it wasn’t me who googled it, it was a friend who sent me the link when she read of Jamie’s impending doom on Facebook. Her goldfish, Cheese, had suffered the same tragic destiny, and was too far gone to try out the pea potential. I think you can escape from peas, as it’s for the swim bladder, and you don’t have one. (Unless you are a mermaid. That would be sooooo cool, having a mermaid follower. But I’m delighted that you’re following and commented – even if you’re not a mermaid.) Cranberry juice is excellent for bladders, though, and it’s scrummy too. Particularly when mixed with gin. But forget it if you’re a mermaid, you’ll never be able to swim to Tesco’s.

    • Hi there! thanks for popping by. I must get back to reading the stuff everyone’s published since the school holidays started, and life as I knew it stopped… sniff. Jamie’s aquarium was fab. It was obviously so upset about Jamie’s death that it has just committed suicide by throwing itself out of Little My’s hands on to the kitchen floor. That’s Little My and Rugby-boy’s version, anyway. Sigh. Where’s the dustpan and brush?

  6. Hats off to you. If you can make a funny story out of a dead goldfish and cat poo you can do anything! I’ve even learned a new word. Ichthyic. I wonder if I can work it into a sentence in my next post. Maybe not. There aren’t too many fishes in the desert.

    • you’re in the DESERT? Hang on, I want to come too! I need to catch up on all the real life that’s happening on everyone’s blogs – can’t wait for the kids to go back to school (MM loses horrified readers… yes, you can have too much of a good thing. So there). Ichthyic is a great word, you never know when it’ll come in handy.

  7. Pingback: Poems for Boys (and Girls) Fish and Other Questionable Things for Dinner | Which Way Now 101

  8. Little My sounds like a true chip off the maternal block, MM. 🙂 Poor Jamie, his sad demise took me back to the various fish that succumbed to my tender but ill-informed ministrations over the years. Did they have a nice funeral for him?

    • Little My is a miniature MM in many respects, but has added features that make her much better (must be the French DNA).
      Jamie’s funeral was an absolute humdinger of a send-off, orchestrated by Little My and her Best Female Friends. I will be posting on it as soon as I have time (MM refrains from jumping up and down and whooping with joy at idea of Autum term next week).

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