It all started with a birthday party. Secondo went off to a Halloween themed party to stuff himself with candy and damage some other parents' eardrums for a while. When I picked him up, I was not at all surprised to see the large bag of candy clutched in one had. What did surprise me was the small goldfish bowl in his other hand. The bowl was occupied by an actual, alive goldfish. I looked around and saw that each and every party guest also had a live fish to take home. Now, I may not be a member of PETA or a vegetarian, but even I balk at the idea of passing out live creatures to seven year old boys and (even worse!) expecting the parents of those boys to provide some sort of home for those creatures. Nevertheless, we had a new pet.
Let's call him Party Favor Fish. That's not what Secondo named the fish. The name Secondo gave his fish wasn't nearly as cool, and anyway, I can't remember what it was. Prima and Terzo fell in love with Party Favor Fish too, so I had no choice but to dig up the old fish tank and make a real home for Party Favor Fish. Luckily I'd
Party Favor Fish wasn't happy though. He alternated between lying motionless on the decorative pebbles at the bottom of the tank and darting crazily around in circles. He refused to eat. Sometimes I felt like Party Favor Fish was watching me, even if I was in another room. I tried to tell Party Favor Fish that I was sorry he'd been bounced around in a small plastic bowl at a birthday party and that I, personally, don't agree with the practice of giving live animals as party favors. Either he didn't speak English or was too blinded by scaly fury, but he didn't seem to see the depth of my sincerity.
So, Party Favor Fish died.
The children sadly gathered for Party Favor Fish's funeral to say their goodbyes as we flushed the tiny corpse away.
Little did I know, we hadn't seen the end of Party Favor Fish. He waited until I was alone, and he struck in the bathroom. He must have watched some horror films before he became a party favor. Anyway, there I was, blow drying my hair (but not in the nude, so I was pretty sure I'd survive the story), when suddenly the cordless phone jumped off the bathroom counter and landed in the very same toilet that served as Party Favor Fish's watery grave!
At the time, I wasn't that suspicious because it seemed as if maybe the cord from the hair dryer had knocked the phone into the toilet. However, after several minutes of loud swearing and scrubbing my hands with anitbacterial soap, I began to wonder...
A few hours later, after I'd cleaned the phone and let it dry, I made a phone call just to see if it still worked. Success! My joy at the abilities of modern technology to survive a dunking in the toilet were short-lived. As darkness shrouded the land and the children went to bed, I found myself alone in roughly the same part of the house as Party Favor Fish's now-empty tank. Suddenly, I heard a strange beeping, over and over. Beepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeep..... What could it be?! I fearfully made my way into the kitchen and saw the phone lit up and beeping, as if someone were pressing a button over and over!
With a horrified look on my face, I picked up the phone and nearly screamed out loud when I saw the number 5 flashing over and over on the display! That's only one less than 6, and kind of similar to 666! Party Favor Fish clearly possessed the phone! I rushed over to the wall and ripped out the phone cord (am I the only person who's always wanted to do that?) to finally stop Party Favor Fish's eerie message from beyond.
But how to exorcise the restless soul of a vengeful goldfish? His tiny fish brain couldn't understand that we hadn't meant to kill him. How could I redirect his wrath to the mom who callously handed him out as a party favor in the first place?
I'll tell you how. With the power of the Internet, that's how. I typed the birthday boy's address into Mapquest and printed out some driving directions from our house to his. Then, I folded it up real small and tossed it into the toilet with a good handful of fish food. I flushed, and crossed my fingers that Party Favor Fish's vengeful spirit could read maps. Apparently it worked, because we've had no further haunting incidents. I like to think Party Favor Fish went on to become a happy little angel fish.
But I sure hope he haunted the hell out of the birthday boy's family for a while first.