I decided to start off the New Year by taking on the challenge of owning a new pet. I felt like my pet fish, Baby Drac Drac, was getting a bit lonely and he needed a companion to keep him company during the day.
In the beginning, Dracula was sort of a test trial pet, since he was so easy to take care of.
Until I almost killed him.
A few weeks ago, I was cleaning out his tank, and filled it back up with warm water. To me, it felt fine, plus I read that betta fish like their water a bit hotter than usual. When I dropped him back into the tank, he became disoriented and started swimming completely upside down.
As he launched himself across the top of the water like a skipping stone, he embodied what a fish scream looked like. In this moment, I will admit that he was spectacular in every sense of the word. For a few seconds, he appeared to be doing a disturbing impression of Shamu from SeaWorld, which I knew was not really something a fish should be doing, but wow, good for him.
Even though he was very clearly seeing the light and going towards it, I still hadn’t actually done anything to help him, because I was mesmerized by all the weird shit he was doing.
I snapped out of it, as soon as he began trying to JUMP OUT of his tank. He’d swim completely upside down, gain some momentum, rocket all the way to the top, and then shoot himself out of the water at 720 miles per hour.
My fish was turning himself into a North Korean missile.
This is when I started to get alarmed. His failure to launch told me I better act quickly before he shot himself out onto the kitchen floor and died in the most dramatic way possible.
Like son, like mother.
I filled up a glass of water, caught him, and threw him into the cup. He looked like he was having an asthma attack. Finally, he calmed down and started breathing normally.
Poor guy. 😦
At the pet store, I had to consider my track record with Dracula.
Although I hadn’t completely committed to the idea of having a new animal, I decided to browse by the cats, to see if there was one that I’d immediately fall in love with. I’m allergic to cats, so I knew there wasn’t much of a possibility of me getting one, but just in case, I’d better go check.
At the end, there was a huge orange tabby cat named Red.
“Interested in playing with one of the cats? They probably need the attention,” an attentive older gentlemen asked me.
Red did look pretty cute…
I walked into a small room behind the cages, and the two cat guardians let Red out. He came to me immediately, and began rubbing up against me. It was apparent that he definitely enjoyed being out of his cage. The poor thing was so sweet, until he tried committing multiple cat felonies.
After a few scratches behind the ears, Red decided it was time to attack everything within eye sight.
He looked over at the cat in a cage standing in front of him.
“WRRRRREEEEEENNNNNNOOOOW!!!!!!” he screeched, hissing and swatting at another cat through the bars of its cage.
The other cat didn’t even flinch. She was apparently used to Red’s mood swings.
“Red!” the old man yelled at him, appalled by his behavior.
“He’s not quite been socialized with other animals yet. He really needs to be alone,” the woman who was also helping said, as Red proceeded to scale the wall with his claws.
Inside my head, I imagined him tearing my couch into 9,000 tiny pieces of fluff.
“He’s a good climber,” I dryly pointed out, as Red reached the corner of the ceiling like a possessed person.
“Oh, wow. Yeah, he’s not really supposed to be doing that,” the man expressed, watching as Red struggled to get himself back down to Earth.
After doing a nails-down-the-chalkboard type of exit, he landed swiftly back on the ground and quickly got back to attacking more of the cages.
Granted we are in a 3 x 6 room, so I’m trying to guard my vital organs, knowing my own attack was imminent.
Running full speed ahead, he was clearly about to go for one of my legs, like one of those German Shepards that attack people in full body suits. Thinking quickly, I said a quick prayer and kicked a jingly ball across the room, thus creating a distraction between us.
He went for the ball, thank God. That would’ve been a war story for the ages.
“Yeah, we also have a small dog. Pretty sure Red would try to kill him,” I said joking, but also totally serious.
If I decided to adopt Red, we’d be plotting Bear’s funeral within three days,
“Understandable. He had a rough kitten-hood. We’re still working out the kinks with him. He’s actually gotten a lot better over the past few days. This is actually the best I’ve ever seen him behave,” she said, still trying to make a hard sell.
Adopting a cat does not fall under a basic-bitch Marilyn Monroe quote.
I’m almost positive that I couldn’t handle Red at his worst, if this was his best.
The two attendants then began having a conversation about fostering cats. I didn’t want to be rude and interrupt them, so I stayed in there, listening and occasionally saying things like “oh, wow” every now and then to show I was paying attention.
“Yeah, I told her that I would take the cat, because that homeless man can go walking down the Santa Margarita Trail, but that cat is not going to be walking the Santa Margarita Trail,” the man passionately retold his account of his latest foster cat.
“Really? Oh, wow,” I said back.
My focus was more on Red, than anything else. He was about two inches away from me, freaking out and hissing at another cat. Every so often, he’d veer away and attack my shoe string, then go back to physically assaulting the other cats.
Before saying goodbye, I turned to see him using the wall as a scratch post. I hope he gets adopted by someone with the patience of Mother Teresa, God, Jesus, the pope, the Holy Spirit, and 800 kindergarten teachers.
After that brief moment of terror, a snail seemed like a much more logical pet for me. Low maintenance, less stress, and would have no effect on my physical well-being. No one wants to live with a bully.
I carefully picked out a snail, which I later named Lord Snellington, since I’ve been watching an unhealthy amount of Downton Abbey lately.
I brought the snail home, and introduced Dracula to his new tankmate.
Remember four sentences ago when I said no one likes a bully?
Okay, apparently I raised my fish to be a bully, because the next day, Lord Snellington was nowhere to be found.
I scanned the tank for his tiny shell before I went to work, but he was not in there. I assumed the worst and decided Dracula had probably eaten him during the middle the night.
Sounds like something a fish named Dracula would do, right?
Great. There goes $1.50 down the drain. I hope he at least tasted good, but considering he had royal blood, I’m sure he did.
When I arrived back home, I checked for the Lord again. He wasn’t anywhere in sight, until I found him hiding in a small hole at the top of Dracula’s fake root.
The Lord was alive, but terrified.
It didn’t seem like Dracula was really messing with him, but either way, he did not really enjoy being his friend.
Well, this morning, I’m proud to announce, Lord Snellington of Newport Beach is officially unafraid of his brother, and was out and about this morning, grazing on whatever snails graze on.
Also, I’m not sure if snails can be both male and female? So the Lord might be a lady?
Stayed tuned, as I research this topic more intently.