My fish Doug and I have lived together for about a year now. We've had some good moments. We've had some bad moments. Overall, though, my relationship with Doug has been pleasant. He's the size of a pen cap and hangs out in his tiny space, and I feed him and occasionally change his water. It works. Or so I thought.
It was around 10pm last night when I noticed that Doug's water had grown murky. I imagine that living in a pint of murky water can't be especially enjoyable, so I thought it might be time to give him a change. I took out a cup to put Doug in temporarily while I performed the operation, and prepared to pour him in.
Doug hates being poured from place to place. He thinks the world is ending every time there is transfer, and always frantically tries to stay in whatever vessel he's currently in. So when he swam furiously against the current as I poured him from his bowl to the cup, I thought nothing of it.
Until he flipped up out of the bowl, over the cup, and into the drain of the sink.
I looked down and saw him caught in the rubber flaps of the drain, one false flip away from plummeting down into the disposal. Heart racing, I knew I had to think quick. One more convulsion by Doug and he'd be toast. I grabbed a spoon, and decided I'd use it to pin him to the rubber, and then lift him out.
I carefully lowered the spoon to where he was, and moved it over to try to hold him in place. As soon as I got close though, he jerked his body.
And fell down into the disposal.
"FUCK!" I yelled. This was not good. I opened up the rubber of the drain with my hands and tried to see into the disposal. Pitch black. I ran around looking for a flashlight, to no avail. Back to the drain. Still pitch black.
There are times when a man must rise above the normal call of duty, and perform the unthinkable. It is in these times of extreme peril, that the ordinary man shows himself to be extraordinary. It is in these moments that a man becomes a hero.
And so, looking down into the dark, frightful depths of my hideous disposal, I knew what I had to do.
I took a deep breath and reached down into the drain. I felt soggy, slimy, moldy food. I felt razor-sharp blades cutting my hand. And then, I felt something convulse. A slippery little pen cap-size object. I felt around furiously trying to discern Doug from the slimy food. And again, something moved! I clasped my hand around it, and he slipped out. No! I felt around more, and more, and felt a slight movement once more. I clutched onto him tight this time, and lifted my arm out, holding Doug's slippery, slimy, pathetic little body.
I thrust my fist heroically from the drain, reached over, and dropped him into his bowl. I looked in nervously, to see whether he had made it.
And there he was-- swimming. He was alive. The little fighter had survived the disposal. "Doug!" I screamed. It was a joyous occasion.
I stood there, beaming, for about 15 seconds. Then I realized that it was difficult to celebrate anything with a fish, and became bored.
Today, Doug's flipping around his tiny space happily. For Doug, this is a new beginning. We were chatting this morning and he mentioned that he was going to treat every day like it was his last. I'm happy for him. I even gave him a few extra flakes of food today.
As for me, I've gone on with my day, an ordinary man once again.