Monday, June 4, 2012

Greta was a Bad Kitty

The other day Unni brought home a single, solitary goldfish about the size of my thumb, in a little glass jar with a plant floating in it. I objected that the fish would be lonely all by itself, and wasn't the jar a little small for it? Unni said there was a reason why this fish was by itself, but she wouldn't say what it was. She did agree to transfer the fish and its floating plant to a larger ceramic bowl.

I then reminded Unni that we have a Japanese cat, and cats and Japanese are both known to enjoy sushi. Before leaving for work, we sternly instructed Greta that the fish was to be a friend and not a meal. Greta has never been very enthusiastic about food or climbing up on the counters, and the fish was so well hidden in the roots of the floating plant, I think in our hearts neither of us actually thought anything would happen.

When I came home that evening,  the fish was not in its bowl. There was no sign of any kind of violence or splashing. I looked around in all the places Greta hides her treasures but could not find it. Greta was sleeping up in her cat tower. But a little later on, she came down and started sniffing around the bed. With an awful sense of foreboding, I went over and discovered the dead goldfish under my pillow, stuck to the blankets by a wad of congealed fish blood.

Menace to society

I called Unni immediately and told her what happened. She sounded sad, but philosophically remarked that it must have been that fish's fate. When she came home I pointed to the counter where I had wrapped the fish in a tissue, but she said she didn't want to see it. She asked me to take it somewhere and bury it.

Unni explained that she had heard from a friend that there is a Buddhist saying that if a lady keeps a single goldfish in her home, she will find her soul-mate. That was why she had bought the fish that Greta had so hastily dispatched. We sat in silence contemplating that for a while, and then I pointed out that Unni is Christian, not Buddhist.

The next day I took the fish out to the grassy area behind our apartment and buried it. I said a few words over the grave and marked it with some stones and pretty flowers.