THE HAIRY GOLDFISH
When he opened his eyes he was confused and felt so alone. How on earth did I get here he thought.
He knew not his worth and place in the bowl, actually he didn’t even know if he was a goldfish. When he saw his reflection in the glass he saw a layer of brown course hair covering his whole body. He gasped at his apparition, for he frightened himself. It also seemed the other five goldfish were avoiding him.
Do I not have parents? He thought. Which one is my mother, and which is my father, do I have other relatives? He was thinking and he was feeling so alone when he saw all the other goldfish swim around in circles as if on a merry-go-round. What is the purpose of that? He thought-what kind of life is that? They are like a bunch of sardines side by side, heads up in a small can. I guess I am sort of lucky, I could have been a sardine right? dying little by little cramped in a can with sardines that I dislike or would never have been seen in their company.
Shouldn’t I have a name? He thought-I don’t know any names-but yes i think i know the alphabet. He drew the letter B on the murky side of the fish bowl with his left fin. Then out of his hairy orange head came a name
Benny. Yup he thought I will be called Benny the bowl, no rather he wanted to be called Benny Bowl, that suited him just fine.
He turned around wondering if he had spoken his name out loud. He had obviously done something because four fish were looking at him. The snail stuck to the bowl was oblivious to him. One fish with a dull silver skin was lying in a pink shell with a mask and oxygen tank, with rubber hosing that went up to the service.
One fish in particular had a menacing look-he was wearing a leather jacket and chaps pulled over his tail, his scales were pocked marked and he had a red bandana half way over his head. On his left fin was an exquisite fish with shimmery scales and narrow head and slanted eyes. She spoke softly.
“Good morning I am Glam short for Glamorous nice to meet you-she extended her left fin,” and this is Daddio.”
“Watch it Glam or you’ll be right back at the hatchery if you commiserate with other fish. He smacked her head with his tail. She shrugged back and let out a few soft bubbles.
“Stop that!” Bubbled Benny, “that’s no way to treat a lady.”
“Oh who says?” The big fat fish came face to face with Benny, a menacing look in his grey eyes.
“I say so; said Benny, you can’t treat people that way,especially a beautiful fishette like that. Where’s your respect?”
“You have got to be kidding; do you know who I am?”
“An big fat asshole!” laughed Benny
“My name is Daddio, and don’t you forget it.” Benny lashed out at him with his tail and bumped his belly, making Daddio spin into a whirl, choking on the waves created on top of the bowl. He eventually banged against the grimy glass. Making his head spin like a top.
“Put up you dukes,you ugly son-of a bitch, you don’t belong here anyway you freaking looking fish.”
Benny shrunk back feeling intimidated and said. “I apologize I just hate to see females of any species mistreated.
“I’ll punch your lights out if you don’t shut your trap, you scrubby freaky fish!”
“I am a goldfish just like you,I just look a bit different that’s all, so leave me alone you bully.” A watery tear spilled down his hairy face.
Glam went to say something and Daddio told her to shut up too. She complied.
Daddio muttered under his bubbly breath “Ripley’s believe it or not.”
“Don’t think I didn’t hear that!”
A large yellow fish dressed in a suit and a bow tie with a polka dot shirt, a vinyl briefcase
velcro-ed to his fin came up to them.
“I heard what just transpired and if you ever need a lawyer from Stein Stein and Stein I’m your man.”
He handed Benny a plastic coated business card. Stein Stein and Stein was embossed in silver. Address: The fish bowl”
“ Very impressive, thanks Mr. Stein, which Stein are you?”
“Ha ha very funny-the middle one.”
“Get off my turf now.” Said Daddio smacking Benny again.
“Do you want a lawyer now Mr. Benny?” Said the middle Stein.
“Well maybe sometime soon I might be in need.” Benny took a sideways glance at his opponent. Daddio was fuming, bubbles were coming out of his mouth. He swam to the surface for air.
Benny went to the bottom of the bowl to recoup. When he got to the bottom he saw a sleek looking dude diving off a fake rock. The fish didn’t see him, so Benny tapped him on his broad shoulders.
“Nice to make your acquaintance I am Benny Bowl.”
The diver took one look at Benny’s wild hair and shuddered. Woah he is freaky looking, he thought.
But out of respect he said it was nice to meet him too.
“My name is Willy, I am training for the fish Olympics, I practice diving most every day for many hours. It can be quite tedious.”
“So do you really like diving being it’s so repetitive?”
“No come to think of it, it’s rather monotonous.” I don’t think I’ll enter again, thanks Benny, you have set me straight, my wife is inside our house over there, he pointed to a medium sized pink painted shell, with pearls streaming down the door, and a “welcome” doormat.
“Come on out Sabrina and meet our new fella Benny.” He yelled through the pearls.
“Coming.” Said Sabrina, “Just got to set the time, I am makings stuffed clams.”
“Not fish again.” Grumbled Willy.
She shimmied out, a graceful middle aged fish with a green house coat and oven gloves over her fins.
“Oh.” She said upon seeing Benny and all his hair.
“Nice to meet you, I also am a hairdresser if you ever need one.” Willy jabbed her side, and said “Shush,that’s rather rude.”
“Oh no I meant it out of respect.” Sorry if it seemed otherwise. What sort of fish are you Mr ummm?”
“I am not sure, maybe a goldfish.” He said shyly, feeling suddenly insecure.
“That’s okay everyone seems to think I am a freak, but I am not really. I have little memory of how I came to be-I am looking for my parent’s but there is no-one in here that looks like me. My name is Benny Bowl.”
“Not knowing your identity must be so hard. Tonight we will all celebrate your “being here”, there will be great food and libations and Wendy, whom you haven’t met yet, plays a beautiful harp, perfect for under water music. Please do join us?” She asked.
“I’d love to but what about Daddio, he has it in for me.”
“He is just busting your chops, he may look menacing but he is fine when he doesn’t drink. You’ll see.”
Benny thanked them and swam back to the grimy glass. He wet his hair and slicked it down. Now I look like Fabio Fish he chuckled to himself.
A large goldfish with wild glasses dragging a piano swam up to Benny.
“Hello who might you be strange fish?”
“Benny the Bowl,and you are?”
“Elton, I am from overseas, and I am famous!”
“Yes I know who you are, you are Elton of musical fame,am I right?”
“Indeed you are,I will catch you later at the party.”
Benny noticed a bloated fish floating upside down at the top of the bowl. He wondered if the fish had died of natural causes. He shuddered.
The party began at 8pm. Everyone came in their finery, Stein had bought Stein and Stein who popped out from other crevices, bearing sushi.
“Oh I can’t be a cannibal and eat sushi,it is totally against my principles,that would be inconceivable.”
” You’ll love it with horseradish,you’ll never know it’s sushi.”
“We’ll if you say so,I am quite hungry come to think of it.”
All the Steins looked alike, Benny tried to differentiate, but couldn’t.
He popped a chunk of pink sushi in his mouth.
“That’s Tuna!” laughed Wendy as she set up her harp,wedging it between a treasure chest and a small ladder upon which was a small fake pirate.
Daddio had Glam firmy on his arm she was wearing a dazzling sea green cocktail dress and long silky gloves on her fins. They bought imitation crab legs (because they were a bit tacky) Daddio shook Benny’s fin and apologized for being rude. He kept a close and watchful eyes on Benny.
“Oh look, here comes Elton, he’s been re-writing that song over again for another celebrity who has passed away. Elton was wearing a pink silk suit and mauve glasses.
“And who might you be?” He asked Benny
“Well I am Benny Bowl. I just got here.”
“He’s trying to find out where his Ma and Pa are.” Sabrina whispered
“Look at him, there is no doubt, he is the son of Sea Hag and Sea Horse-they went searching for the “Big Ocean.”If I recall they were placed here in fresh water by accident and were dying, your Mother is Sea Hag the ugly one and sea horse the most desired man in the ocean. You were born of them Benny Bowl. But you seem to have the antibodies to sustain in fresh water. Sadly to say they didn’t and got very ill fast.They left in a great hurry to save their lives, but they forgot you,oh dear,what a terrible shame that is.”
Benny began to weep,suddenly there was silence,as the tears rolled down his hairy face.
“So I am not a goldfish then after all am I?”
Daddio feeing bad said,”You might be just a little, let him stay.” Daddio passed him a beer. “If he defies the natural order of things, he does look like an ocean fish, he can stick around if he wants to. He may be of value to us, well would you be Benny?” He raised his thick eyebrows.
” Yes I’d like to stay and become part of your fish bowl, I could stay for a while,then I must go and look for father and mother, I really must.”
They then all piped in saying Benny must search for his parents,it was the right thing to do, and since they were all peace loving they gathered around.
“We don’t care about your breed Benny.” They all said in their different ways.
Willy and Sabrina cheered,they both seemed outgoing. Then they all started to sing sea-faring songs. The headliner for the party was non other than the famous Elton.
Elton finished tuning up his piano,his stage hands were rushing here and there.
He sat back quietly on his piano stool made of polished hand carved river stone and flicked his gleaming tail sideways with a flourish. He cleared his throat.
Everyone was quite as they listened in awe to Elton’s musical twang.
So they all drank and ate of the bounty.
Glam served a rich creamy cheese cake that was shaped like an ocean whale.
There was much merriment and laughter, the booze was copious,spilling out of a pretty orange shell.
Other fish swam out of the crevices to party. It was the best time Benny could remember. Glasses clinked.
Elton cleared his throat,a signal that his concert was to begin. There was a hush,except for the rubber tube leading into the bowl, which every fish was fearful of, wondering if it was a suction hose.
Elton sang “The candle burned out long ago, but you never will” and many of his other hits. He received great applause, whistles and cheers.
That night there was much merriment, and joy. Benny Bowl was welcomed in, and his hairiness was never bought up again. Never again did he stare into the grimy glass afraid of himself, wondering about his parents. He had finally found peace,and all that mattered was to have harmony as it was in the bowl. He sighed and his eyes teared up,what a wonderful crew they were he thought,as he forked the luscious cheese cake.