A few years ago – the summer before we moved to the east coast – Zach and I went to the Clark County fair with my mom. We walked through the rides and games on our way out and I paid a couple of dollars to toss a few plastic balls into some water-filled bowls. Every shot you made won you a goldfish. I didn’t actually get any of my balls into any of the bowls, but a couple of young girls across from me got one of theirs in. When no one – not the girls and not the game officiant – noticed that the girls had made a shot, I claimed it for myself (I know, I know… how could you?) and took home a handsome goldfish whom we named Frank.
When Zach and I decided to move across the country to the Washington, D.C. area we put Gibson and Troy in the bed of Zach’s Toyota Tacoma, put Frank in his bowl under my feet in the cab, and drove for 3,000 miles and five days across the country. It was the end of December and very cold and we carted all of the animals into cheap hotels with us every night so they wouldn’t freeze outside. Everyone survived the trip and we changed Frank’s name to Frank 3000 in honor of his survival skills.
Frank 3000 lived with us through the winter and well into the following summer when I got a call at work from Zach telling me that he had accidentally bumped Frank’s glass bowl and it had shattered, spilling water and the fish onto our kitchen floor. Zach was able to recover Frank and re-home him into a large drinking glass until we could get to the store for a more proper container. That glass would have to do for the afternoon, though, because Zach was heading out for an appointment.
Unfortunately, Troy had a penchant for knocking glasses to the floor when left home alone. While Troy and I lived together in my studio apartment on Queen Anne, he was known for knocking one glass out of my cupboard for every night I spent away. And, although he wasn’t left alone for the night, he was left alone that day and Frank’s glass was spilled onto the counter. Troy had no interest in Frank 3000 himself, and left our fish alone on the counter to be found by Zach after his appointment.
I made a tribute image for Frank 3000 that day that hung in my cubicle in Maryland until we moved to L.A. and we haven’t had another goldfish since.
Until last week.
Last week Zach and I went to the Clark County fair with my parents. I love the fair. My family used to go every year when I was a kid and now it holds a certain nostalgic tone for me. We ate as soon as we got there – giant turkey drumsticks, gyros, elephant ears, corn on the cob, and nachos – and then we walked through the commercial booths, met all the animals, had milkshakes from the Clark County Dairy Women barn (something we never miss), watched the amazing Dock Dogs, and finally exited through the rides and games area.
I paid $5 for 20 little plastic balls and threw them all at the water-filled bowls. I hit one, was given credit for two, and went away with two lovely goldfish whom we named Tula and Reuben.
It turns out (according to the all-knowing internet) that goldfish really aren’t suited for life in bowls and unless we want to find room for a five-gallon tank with a filter, Tula and Reuben will probably need to find another place to live. I’m considering asking the woman next door if they can join her koi pond, but if anyone else has suggestions for them I’m all ears!