Gone Fishin’

Fidel or Armando. Not sure which one.

My son spent the weekend with my brother and his wife in the Big Apple. They are, without question, the best aunt and uncle a teenager could ever have, and his trip was an awesome whirlwind of fun.

As the best aunt and uncle ever, they also made sure he didn’t come home empty handed. When I went to pick him up Sunday he had company: three fish he won playing a Coney Island carnival game. It’s a miracle that these tiny things, two goldfish and a blue tetra, survived all the way from Coney Island to Albany, but there you have it.

The other morning their water appeared to be a little cloudy, so I carefully poured it out into the kitchen sink. Not carefully enough. One of the fish, not sure if it was Fidel or Armando (they are named for Grand Theft Auto characters), crested the top of the bowl and plopped down the drain.

Oh, crap.

This was one of those moments of truth where, to paraphrase Yogi Berra, you reach a fork in the road and take it. The sink has a garbage disposal, so there’s a wide opening. I carefully wriggled my hand down into the drain.

There is no way the garbage disposal can turn on all by itself, but since I’m the one who installed it, anything is possible. The mental image of mangled fingers swirling around with a ground-up goldfish was not pretty. Imagine the conversation at the hospital. “So… How did this happen Mr. Madeo?”

As gently as possible, I scooped Fidel or Armando into my fingertips and lifted him out of the drain.

24 hours later the fish appears to be in good health and fine spirits.

My wife’s instructions to him before leaving for the weekend were simple: Don’t let their dog hump you — and call if you need something. Now those instructions will be, don’t let their dog hump you, call if you need something, and don’t bring home anything alive.

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