Thankfully Beanie wasn't a dog or a kitten or a human baby, but Beanie was a betta fish, and for a full month he was alone in a dorm room. Probably the dorm room, anyway. They couldn't be sure they didn't set his container down in the parking lot while packing up their cars.
So of course, the girls were fully expecting to return to a dorm room that smelled somewhere between sway-inducing and ferocious. Imagine the shock when roommate arrived this afternoon to find Beanie swimming in his bowl, right on the dresser where they left him. How is this possible, people?
While I was wondering if this was some sort of alien or zombie fish, my friend Shelli Cornelison suggested on Twitter that this could lead to a fun picture book idea. How did this heroic fish survive on his watery island during his month of neglect? Did he leap into the air out of desperation to grab a packet of Ramen Noodles? Scrounge for crumbs from Little Debbie Snacks?
Just as we were discussing this, Daughter called to tell me that Beanie the Wonderfish had the nerve to DIE. Yes, after all that time, he died as soon as he was given his first flake of food.
And now I'm really intrigued. How could he die now, after all he'd been through? Perhaps the food was a shock to his system, but I couldn't help but think of possible motivations Beanie had for hanging on for so long, just to die as soon as help arrived:
- Closure: Maybe Beanie was clinging to life for weeks, but couldn't bear to leave without saying goodbye. As soon as the companion he'd been waiting for arrived, he embraced the sweet release of death. Very Barbara-Hershey-in-Beaches of you, fish.
- Despair: I'm sure he assumed that something terrible happened to his humans. Certainly they wouldn't abandon him for so long, leaving him helpless and hungry. And then they walk through the door and he realizes, "Oh. There you are. You're all right. I guess you would abandon me. I don't think I want to be a part of this anymore."
- Passive-aggressiveness: One can't play the victim without an audience, so Beanie refused to succumb to starvation until he could look into someone's eyes and say, "Thanks for the food, bitches. Peace out."
What other reasons could there be? 'Cause I'm baffled. Obviously, it's perfectly acceptable to attribute human characteristics to a fish in any explanations you can come up with.