IT’S A LITTLE BIT TEN O’CLOCK AT NIGHT. HAVE A SHORT STORY I WROTE AGES AGO THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE GOOD.
okay, i am calm, and zen, and:
Toothy is lying still on the bench with a pin sticking out of his head, courtesy of my little brother. I’m not normally bothered about dead goldfish, but Toothy is – was – my mum’s prized possession. I don’t expect she’ll be too happy seeing her precious carp resembling a pin cushion. I need to do something. I check my watch. Twenty minutes until mum returns! I rack my brain. How can I get out of this? Then I have an idea.
I leave my brother upstairs and run outside to my bike. I normally wouldn’t leave him home alone, but this is a time of crisis. Anyway, he brought it on himself. I pedal furiously, arriving at the park out of breath, my shirt stuck to my back. I dump my bike on the grass and sprint towards the pond that lies smack bang in the middle of the park. I kneel at the bank, scooping up the water with my helmet. It is murky and I can’t actually tell if there are fish in there. But I’m allowed to be optimistic.
After a good five minutes all I can find are a few tadpoles and some unidentified creatures with too many eyes. I’m no longer optimistic. I walk slowly back to my bike, shoulders slumped in defeat. Where am I supposed to find another Toothy? And then it hits me like a slap in the belly with a wet fish.
Inside the pet shop it’s a deafening chorus of squawks, barks and slightly concerning growls. I approach the counter. ‘Excuse me, sir? I’m looking for a goldfish.’ The man nods and disappears into the storeroom. It doesn’t take long before he comes back with a goldfish swimming around in a plastic bag of water. I don’t believe it. It’s like Toothy’s identical twin has been set before me.
‘That’ll be five dollars, thankyou,’ says the man. I bury my hands in my pockets, desperately searching for some spare change. I come up empty.
‘I’m sorry,’ I say, ‘I’m low on cash. I couldn’t pay you later?’
‘No deal. Although…’
‘Although what?’ There is a flicker of hope.
‘If you’d be willing to clean out a few tanks you can have the fish, no charge.’
‘Yes! Of course! Thankyou so much.’ I walk over to the algae coated pile of fish tanks, armed with a sponge and bottle of spray. I make a face and begin to wipe the gunge from the glass. It is disgusting work, but over quickly. The man hands over Toothy II and I thank him again. I lower the bag gently into my back pack and head for home. I ride faster than ever, knowing that mum will be home at any minute. I jump off my bike and catapult through the front door, tearing off my back pack. I lift out the bag. Panic rises in my chest. Toothy II is floating upside down at the top of the bag. Dead.
That was great. Or was it? (I’ll read over it tomorrow.)
Have a random Joel, ’cause I don’t want to break the ‘always have a picture’ rule.