They never noticed.
The lovely husband and I deliberated: what should we do? We pondered the wordless replacement vs. the fishy funeral. I pondered the emotional equilibrium of the household vs. the teaching moment. The lovely husband pondered who'd be cleaning the fishbowl.
I asked you on my Facebook page, and you all, mighty sigh, were not helpful. What's with the conflicting opinions? Don't you know that in this time of acrimonious partisanship we're supposed to be consensus-building?
Oh, wait, that's going suddenly in the direction of my foaming rant that pizza is a vegetable. No, wait, pizza still isn't a vegetable and we're veering into the territory of my spittle-flecked rant on the rampant sensationalism in our mainstream media, which started forming with the comment my brilliant friend Stephanie made the other day on her Facebook page:
I find myself irrationally enraged by the use of the term sex scandal in the press re: Sandusky et all. Clinton had a sex scandal. Anthony Weiner had a sex scandal. Sandusky raped kids.to which I replied, "I don't find that irrational at all" and great conversation ensued in the comments and you guys**, why are you distracting me like this?
I have to go hide a body.
(**When will I feel like having lived in Maryland for more than a decade makes me Southern enough to pull off a good y'all? Because sometimes I need a good y'all, but it doesn't roll off these Yankee fingertips.)
So we did it: we bought a replacement fish, because the prerogative of parenthood is deception, right? We're good people, I swear.
I brought Sally v.2.0 home in his plastic bag and carried Sally Senior to meet his final fate in the powder room. I leaned his bowl on the sink and started to pour him carefully into the toilet bowl
--only to realize that the lid was still down and I poured dead-body water and a half-dissolved fish body all over the lid, bathroom walls, and my bare toes.
Okay, so that didn't really happen. But for an instant, I saw it happening, in a foreshadowing vision (or fool done lost her mind) kind of way. I think it was a split-second panic attack. I had to lean the bowl against the sink again, and pause, and breathe, and check the lid (which was open the whole time), and then, finally, pour Sally the Original into his final water slide.
Maybe I felt a little badly about tricking the kids, after all.
Or maybe I just know exactly how big a klutz I am, and was protecting myself from myself.
Either way, meet New Sally:
He looks happy enough, don't you think?
I mean, you know,
for an impostor.
His shape is a little flatter and his colors are a little darker.
The kids didn't notice a thing.
But just in case, I was prepared, having learned a wise lesson from L's best friend, whose own betta fish recently underwent a covert replacement. Upon that occasion she commented to her parents, "Look! My fish is so happy today that he changed colors!"
Ketchup was once a vegetable, too. So anything's possible.
A comment directed at my beloved feed reader subscribers: I messed with the design of my blog a bunch today. Would you be so kind as to click through, just this once, and let me know what you think? xoxo