The Traveling Fish

27 08 2011

People talk about what great companions their pets are.  Mine is no exception.  Fun to talk to, great for roadtrips, my little fish has covered more miles than many people I know!  Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t even THINK of leaving him behind.

On a trip to Bend a couple months ago, my sister and went to Pet Smart and bought a pair of Betas.  Her’s is blue, mine red.  After much deliberation, Brea named her’s Amadeus, the middle name of Mozart (she’s so artsy).  I picked my fish in the store based on his name.  Picking up different cups of blue water with the feisty little fighting fish floating inside, I would watch their reactions.  One particular fish, bright red and feisty, had tons of spunk and energy.  Any time he caught a glimpse of another fish, he would flare up and go crazy, much more so than any of the other fish.  I gave him the voice of a warrior going into battle.  When I said (too loudly of course), “I Am SPARTACUS!!” that little fish went nuts!  So there you have it.  The story of how Spartacus the Beta came to be mine.

Beta Fish in Bend OR

Newly adopted!

Since this was in Bend, Spartacus lived in a cup for a day.  Then he traveled 450 miles to northern Washington to live with me in my apple orchard.  I already had a wonderful vase for him and helped him settle in with a few rocks borrowed from Bab’s vase (she’s just the nicest little bamboo stalk).  I’ve been collecting rocks for him everywhere we go, so he now has a nice collection.  Rocks from Twisp Pass, Canada, the Methow River, Lookout Mountain, St Helens, and Black Lake.  A few days ago I added a beautiful sea shell from the Oregon Coast (he loves it).

So this last week when I went to Bend to visit family and attend our company cook-out (free bar-b-que in the park with my pals? of course I made it), the choice was clear: Spartacus would go, too.  Justin would be gone most of the time, and I couldn’t have Spartacus starve to death.  Gear, suitcases, snacks all loaded, I broke the news – “Spartacus, we’re going on a roadtrip!”

Flapping his little fins excitedly and flaring out his gills for me, he swished back and forth.  We’re a perfect pair, I tell you.  And I don’t think he had a clue what he was getting in to.  I filled his little cup from the pet store with water, dumped out most of the water from his vase (at which point he started FREAKING OUT) and scooped him up with my hand to plunk him in his travel home.  I picked out a few of his favorite rocks to travel with him, and off we went!  It was like he had a little fishy RV to travel around in!

With my iPod blasting, I sang my lungs out, giving Spartacus the most amazing performance his little fish ears ever heard.  He nestled nicely in the cup holder, rocking gently to the rhythm of my unbalanced tires.  When I had to stop for gas or a pee break, I would set him up on the console so he could take a look around.  A few people walking past my car gave me strange looks when they saw me talking to him, so I stuck my tongue out at them.  RUDE.

Once my throat was worn out from belting song after song, I starting talking with Spartacus.  He is SUCH an amazing listener.  We told stories, talked of upcoming events, and vented about things that were bothering us.  He really helped make the long drive go by much faster.  As we approached Madras and the land started rising and falling again, and the peaks of Jefferson, Washington and the Sisters started appearing, Spartacus and I enjoyed a beautiful sunset together.  The sky was slashed with oranges and pinks and glowed brilliantly as the sun dipped below the lovely volcanoes.  So romantic.   🙂

Spartacus was mad at me most of the week in Bend.  He didn’t like his mobile home after getting used to his castle.  He sulked, he rarely flared out his beautiful fins for me, and wouldn’t even blow bubbles for me.  Sad indeed.  Finally on Sunday, I told him we were going home.  I nestled him back in his cup holder and set out, but the mood just wasn’t the same.  The trip took longer (hey, I was hungover, what can I say) and we missed our turn twice, having to backtrack and flip a couple u-ies.  Finally arriving, I carried Spartacus and my computer inside, filled his vase with water, and scooped him back into his home.  He was super excited to be back and instantly forgave me.  I’m pretty sure I caught him regaling his rocks with tales of his adventures…

I would love to be able to have Spartacus go back to that pet store and give other little fishies-in-a-cup some hope.  There’s a big world out there, guys, and you can see it, too!  Dream big and never let someone tell you it can’t be done!  I should sell the movie rights of Spartacus’s story to Disney……





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