Inspiration: From Fish Tank to Think Tank

People are always asking writers where they get their ideas. Truth is, inspiration can come from anywhere. A song, a person, a place, even just mashing two disparate ideas together. Anywhere you look in the world, you can find inspiration.

Even in a fish tank.

My daughter has been begging for a pet for years. She finally realized we were not getting a dog, or a cat, so she settled on fish. She wanted fish. We acquired a free fish tank, so we decided to give it to her for Christmas. Glee!

On January 7th, we got two fish to start with. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I cannot do something as simple as buy fish without it becoming an anxiety-producing drama. So we got two fish, which my daughter named Sparkleshine and Seashell.

Sparkleshine, the inspiration for the fish Mafia

Sparkleshine

Seashell, victim of Sparkleshine

Seashell

 

 

 

 

 

She fell in love. Even ate dinner in her room so she could watch them in the tank. Went on and on about how they were friends and seemed happy in the tank. She went to bed glowing.

And the first thing I heard the next morning was, “Mom, Seashell is missing!”

Great. The fish WAS missing. Not floating at the top, not out of the tank (we have a cover, but I looked anyway). I picked up and wiggled all the in-tank decorations in case she was stuck. Nothing. Could only reach one conclusion:

Sparkleshine ate Seashell.

To my daughter’s credit, she didn’t get that upset. She fake-cried a little bit—you know that cry when you think you should cry but can’t really work up to it. Then she seemed to take it in stride. “Well, Sparkleshine does look a little fatter than yesterday.”

She took it well, but I didn’t, because I could picture exactly what had happened in the morning. My daughter woke up, remembered she had fish, hopped out of bed beaming her smile of joy that illuminates her whole face, ran eagerly to her tank…and found only one fish. The smile wiped away. The joy doused.

I hated that stupid cannibal fish.

But, after losing sleep obsessing over this hurt to my daughter, I carried on. My friends and I joked about it on Facebook. One suggested that Sparkleshine had always secretly hated Seashell, but didn’t have an opportunity to off her until she had her alone in my daughter’s tank. Too many witnesses before. A fish assassination.

My husband bought 3 more fish to add to the one remaining. So we welcomed Seashell 2, Flower, and Gem. Sparkleshine did not seem happy with the new company, although my daughter’s face lit up and she hugged her dad over and over. I went to bed that night expecting to wake up to a bloodbath.

Seashell 2, replacement for the first victim

Seashell 2

Flower, a new fish

Flower

Gem, a new fish

Gem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankfully, four fish still inhabited the tank the next day. But now I watch as Sparkleshine and Seashell 2 seem at odds, constantly harassing each other. Is this how fish play? Do fish play? I don’t know. But as I watch them scuffle, I now hear a dialogue in my head. Two Mafia members joust for top position in the fish Mafia. Back and forth. A battle of wills. Who will win? And will any byswimmers become casualties?

“If you cross me, you’ll sleep with the humans.”

Inspiration can come from anywhere.

Even a fish tank.

 

* While I know the fish we have are male, my daughter insists she wants them to be female, so they are all “her”.

** As of this posting, all four fish are still alive.

***Sparkleshine leaped out of the tank and died about a week after this posting.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] wrote about our newly acquired Fish Mafia a little while ago—including cannibalism and a war for leadership. At the time of that writing, […]

  2. […] had a total of 5 fish, but are down to 3. We lost one (quite literally lost him) the first night, while the second leaped from the tank about a week later and never recovered. How they got out of […]

  3. […] bought our first fish January 7th, 2017. Much drama ensued. (Who knew fish had drama?) A year later, the fish saga […]

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