It’s Week 8 of the More Odds than Ends prompts. Being a part of these eight weeks of prompts has been a voyage of self-discovery for me. Who knew I had the ability to write stories? Not me! I am having so much fin with these prompts and this new path for me.
So, here for your reading pleasure is my contribution to the Week 8 prompts. I got my prompt from Sanford Begley: Guy buys a funny looking fish tank at ye old curiosity shop. Takes it home and fills it with water. When it shows no signs of leaking he goes out and buys some goldfish. Comes home and sees the bottom of the tank brighter and more decorated. assumes that the water washed enough dust off to account for the change. Dumps the fish in and sits down with a cup of coffee. Kerplunk, something splashes his coffee. Looks down and there is an unhappy goldfish looking back. Glances up at the tank and sees another goldfish loaded in a catapult…
Mark backed up a couple steps and looked carefully in the window of the vintage thrift shop. Yep, it was a fish tank. Looked kinda funky, with an odd sheen to the glass even under a coating of dust. Assuming it didn’t leak, it would be the perfect addition to his living room. Low maintenance, stress-relieving, very little extra work. He considered fish to be the perfect pets.
The bell jangled as he pushed open the door and walked into the shop. An old man, unkempt white hair billowing around his head, scurried in from the back.
“Good afternoon, sir! May I help you find something?” His voice was at the high end of the scale, but not unbearable.
“Good afternoon. Yes, please. How much is that fish tank over there?” Mark had hoped to get a closer look before committing, but that was not to be apparently.
“Oh, well. Yes, that’s a nice piece. It’s 25 dollars, sir. Are you planning on using it as a fish tank? I do not have any of the equipment for that…” the old gentleman trailed off looking a bit uneasy.
“That’s fine. I have all of that. I’ll take the tank.”
“Very well, sir. May I recommend that you let it sit with water for a few days before adding any fish? There may be some reactions once it’s been cleaned out.” The old man stared at him intently.
Mark nodded, but he was puzzled. What kind of reactions could glass have with water? It was a perfectly ordinary looking fish tank. It did have that odd sheen to the glass, but that was probably just because it was old.
Once back at home, Mark rinsed and cleaned the tank in the laundry room sink. He placed it on the kitchen table on top of a couple of old dish towels. If it leaked, it wouldn’t cause any problems. He filled it with water and left for his midday shift at the restaurant.
After a busy and stressful shift, damn, it’s a diner, not a Michelin 5-star restaurant! Why do people have to be so picky?, he finally got home at midnight. A glow caught his eye before he turned on the light as he walked in the front door. It was coming from the laundry room. What’s that?
Mark walked into the laundry room to check on the fish tank. The cleaning had obviously done it some good; the glass was clear and the odd sheen was even brighter, and made the whole tank glow with suffused colors. He rinsed out the water wiped it down and added more water. So far, no leaking, but he’d see what things looked like in the morning. Just for fun, he added in the castle and a couple of fake plants he’d bought to decorate the tank for its future occupants.
The next day he decided it was safe to use the tank and went out to buy some goldfish. He was looking forward to setting up the tank and enjoying the peaceful experience of watching his fish.
Returning home, he put the baggie with the fish in it into the kitchen sink and went to fetch the tank out of the laundry room. Wait a minute. Did that castle have shiny gold paint on it? He shrugged. Must not have noticed it before. He carried the full tank into the living room, set up the aerator and went to get the goldfish. After he introduced the goldfish to their new home, he sat down with a cup of coffee to enjoy the serenity.
Coffee splashed out of his cup and onto his shirt. Jumping up, he was startled to see a struggling goldfish in the hot coffee. He quickly scooped the poor thing out and dumped it into a glass of water he’d left on the coffee table earlier. He turned back to the fish tank and saw a small catapult. Standing next to the catapult, holding a struggling goldfish was something that looked like…a sea monkey?? Those aren’t real!?!
The creature turned and stared at him as it heaved the second goldfish into the bucket of the catapult. Another one was winding back the arm of the catapult. Where the hell did they come from?
“Wait! I’ll take the fish out! Don’t hurt them!” Mark wasn’t sure why he was so worried about the goldfish, but he didn’t really want any more fish flying around the living room. He grabbed the small net and fished out the remaining two goldfish and added them to the water glass. The first sea monkey nodded once and the two creatures disappeared back into the castle.
Mark shook his head, staring at the seemingly empty fish tank. I’ll figure it out later. He looked at the three fish in the water glass.
“OK, guys. Sorry about that. Let’s go look for that old fishbowl and I’ll get you a new tank…from the pet store…in the morning.” Was it his imagination, or did the fish look grateful?
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think.