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The Messages: Doom Of The Betta Fish

I get a betta fish and accidentally cause his untimely death.

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it's hot as hell and the air conditioner in my bedroom is broken

the fan is just blowing hot air around

it's impossible to sleep

i've been wondering how Bill's doing

last we spoke, he was still upset about that accident

i do sympathize

but air traffic controllers have bad days like everyone else

i hope he realizes that

please, send him my best

anyway. . .

it's weird

lying here, i keep thinking of this fish i had in high school

Bachelor, his name was. He was a betta -- you know, the red and blue kind whose fins flare out when they feel threatened?

i was dating this boy at the time.

he was crazy for fish. Even worked in a fish store

looking back, getting Bachelor was probably his idea

i'd have done anything for this boy


here i was with this fish

"Betas are very sensitive to temperature," my boyfriend told me. "Bachelor's water has to stay between 76 and 82 degrees at all times. Whatever you do, don't go outside of that range. It could be fatal."

fatal? Jesus. i'd bought the fish for $4.99

doubts reared up, but i couldn't turn back. i had to provide Bachelor a suitable environment

it was mid-July. Scorching hot. All i had for relief was a fan in my bedroom window

nights, i tossed and turned, just like i am now

tortured, i stared at that fan

if i turned it on, would Bachelor's water fall below 76 degrees?

lacking the proper instrumentation, i couldn't be sure


late one night, marinating in my own sweat

i got up and looked into Bachelor's bowl

there he was, fins gliding through the water with comfort and ease

and i realized i was jealous of the fucker

he was rested



while i was peaked, short-tempered, and hallucinating from sleep deprivation

i hated to pull rank

but food chain-wise, i had the advantage

there were too many species between us

just. too. many.

that night i honored my cerebral cortex and opposable thumbs and turned on the fan

and you know what?

Bachelor's water may have dipped to 75.9 degrees, but he fared just fine. For months

. . .until my aerosol hairspray finally caught up with him

it was the '80's, big hair and such

the atmosphere in my bedroom, i realized too late, was toxic

my hair held firm, but Bachelor grew weak

died a slow and untimely death

perhaps he'd have survived Paul Mitchell or Sebastian products, but i couldn't afford them

regardless, i've decided i'm not cut out for a pet fish

i do better with cats

they're more interactive and less vulnerable to airborne poisons


i should let you go

thanks for your ear

again, please send Bill my best

hope your rash is better

talk soon,


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