Tucker didn’t believe in aliens from outer space. He had more immediate and pressing concerns; like how to get rid of all the flies that invaded his house over summer. Each autumn would be spent with a squirt bottle of window cleaner in one hand and a rag in the other, clearing walls, windows, and cupboards of little black specks.
He didn’t like using chemical fly spray much. To be honest, he wasn’t a Greenie; he didn’t avoid fly spray because of environmental concerns. He avoided fly spray because he had a fish tank and life in an aquarium doesn’t appreciate lethal chemical weapons. The fish were safe.
But enough is enough! The day was hot and sticky. Tucker was cooking some corned beef to have cold with a salad in the sultry evening. Flies came from far and wide. Tucker grabbed an old can of fly spray and let the flies have it.
“That’ll teach you… you… you…” said Tucker.
The fish in the aquarium died. Its last words were, “I had told my boss back on the home planet that I didn’t want to be a fish.”
The doorman’s real name was Paddy, but everyone knew him as Grumpy Crotch; Grumpy because he was grumpy and Crotch because he walked as if he had sand in his pants. Somehow the nickname made sense. His job was to welcome tourists to the town’s popular aquarium.
There was never a “Welcome” from his lips. Instead it would be a gruff “Don’t tap on the glass” or “Don’t throw food to the alligators”. One day he caught some kids tapping on the glass of an aquarium to try to get the plecostomus to move. He told them off in no uncertain terms so they pushed him over the railing into the alligator enclosure. This was despite his warning not to throw food to the alligators.
Heather and Peter had been married for eleven years or so. Heather had learned to put up with Peter’s eccentricities. In fact, she went further and knew that if she whole-heartedly and enthusiastically entered into the spirit of his latest eccentric enthusiasm he’d quickly drop it and move on, hopefully, to something less crazy.
Peter’s latest eccentric enthusiasm was to build a tank that could be lowered into the nearby river. The tank had a glass side and enabled a lover of the environment to sit in the tank and view the fish and all the goings on deep down in the beautiful clear waters. Of course, one wore swimming attire because the tank wasn’t water proof so one breathed through a tube that went up above the surface of the water. (Peter’s inventions were rarely perfect).
Heather feigned her usual enthusiasm. After giving careful instructions, Peter lowered the tank deep into the river with Heather inside breathing through the tube.
To be honest, once the sand on the bottom of the river had settled there wasn’t much to see. In fact, Heather didn’t see a single fish. She pulled the rope which was the sign for the tank to be raised. Once Peter opened the tank and Heather stepped out she explained as nicely as she could (so as not to dampen his enthusiasm) that she hadn’t seen a single fish and maybe the invention wasn’t the best thing he had done.
“Oh but you simply must have been lowered at the wrong time. Try it again!” declared Peter. “I promise you you’ll see a fish or two.”
Heather was once again lowered. Once again there were no fish. Heather pulled the rope to signal to Peter that she wished the tank raised. She should have waited longer. Peter blocked the breathing tube.
Basil’s job was to design labels for fish food packaging. He had worked for Fins and Gills Fish Food Company for eleven years. Being a graphics designer, the Fins and Gills Fish Food Company was the last place that Basil would have thought he would end up. But the fish food company produced such a variety of aquarium products that a permanent packaging designer was called for.
As you can probably imagine, eleven years working for a fish food making establishment would drive anyone crazy; even thick, boring people. And drive Basil crazy it did. He was thick. He was boring. Now he was crazy. At first his idiocy was almost imperceptible; for example on the packaging for an aquarium thermometer he coloured in the picture of a Siamese Tigerfish so that it looked like it had pink stripes. Pink stripes! But things went from bad to worse. Oh no! Oh yes!
Everyone noticed. You couldn’t miss it. In every packaging picture the fish were naked. Completely starkers. Not even a fish wearing skimpy underwear. Responsible parents could no longer purchase Fins and Gills Fish Food for their children’s goldfish bowl. The fish food business went out of business. Basil was left without a job. Meanwhile, little boys sniggered at the fish food packets that they kept hidden under their iPads. Even the fish food display at the International Fish Food Museum had to cover up the Fins and Gills Fish Food packing boxes. As Ms Myrtle Browningham of the Fish Food Manufacturers’ Union said: Disgusting! Nude fish! What will they think of next? It’s sickening.