A Fish Asleep
by Will Bailey
We’re in mourning. A pall has fallen over House Nailthbailth, and only time will tell if the dark veil is ever lifted. It all started when I was returning from an afternoon jog and received a phone call from Wife. “Where are you? Something terrible has happened.” My heart sank to my stomach as I immediately assumed the worst: “She burned the macaroni and cheese balls.” I’ll never forget how walking down the back steps seemed to take an eternity, mostly because of how lazy I felt after my run. As soon as I stepped inside, I could smell it: Cat’s litter box – it needed to be changed. Making a mental note of this, I continued into the living room, where I found Wife curled in a ball on the couch, covered in blankets. But then I realized that was just a ball of blankets, and Wife was actually sitting in front of the fish tank, not saying a word. Before I could ask what happened, Wife slowly turned to face me and whispered, “He’s dead.” I whispered back, “Are you sure?” then cleared my throat and said it again in a normal voice. I glanced at the bottom of the tank. Sure enough, our fish, Fish, was belly-up. I grabbed the fish net. Wife fled to the bedroom – she couldn’t bear to watch. But then I remembered what happened in Terminator 1 when they thought the Terminator was dead, and it wasn’t. A glimmer of hope flashed through my brain. Or was I severely dehydrated? That’s when I nudged Fish with the net. Nope, definitely dead.