Soon after the gift unwrapping, Magic Man, lurching around the lounge room in an excess of festive spirit, smashed my table lamp. The hand-blown glass table lamp I had travelled all the way to the wilds of darkest Springwood to purchase from IKEA. That table lamp.
“Oh well,” I told myself, trying to be philospophical as I swept the floor for stray shards, “Some people will lose loved ones these holidays. It’s only a THING.”
As it happens, only a very minor thing. Little did I know, the real horror was just around the corner.
First, a little background. Magic Man decided, back in October, that he dearly wanted a couple of scorpions for Christmas. His doting Grandmother was happy to oblige, and together they purchased a little glass tank in anticipation of the happy event. Regrettably, the Creepy Critters pet store in our town went out of business just before the school holidays – taking with it both the scorpions and, even more crucial, the live food they needed.
Plan B. Magic Man decided that a siamese fighting fish could live in the little glass tank just as happily and Miss Fish arrived on Christmas Eve.
For a brief, golden time, both Magic Man and Miss Fish were as happy as the proverbial weasels.
Early in the afternoon on Christmas Day just as everyone was relaxing, full of prawns and goodwill to all men, Elf Boy wandered into Magic Man’s room. We’ll never know what actually happened next, but allegedly Miss Fish became startled at the sight of Grandpa’s dog and took a frantic, suicidal leap into a nearby bucket of Lego. How the glass lid that covered about 85% of the tank’s surface became dislodged is still a mystery. Grandpa’s dog may strike fear into the hearts of fish, but he lacks opposable thumbs.
A frantic search through 50,000 bits of Lego ensued. Magic Man wailed “Siamese fighting fish can last out of water for up to five minutes. We’ve got to find her!”. But, even after we’d turned his whole room upside down, we couldn’t find so much as a scale of the late and much lamented Miss Fish.
Some say Grandpa’s declared-dangerous dog swallowed her whole. He’s got form, having terminated a couple of cats before his death-spree was curtailed.
I think Miss Fish was a magical Christmas fish, sent to torment me within a hairs-breadth of my ever precarious sanity. Smashed lamps, kamikaze fish and Aunt Irma, too. Merry freaking Christmas!