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Lox

b57d7003

I've been playing with this story for years as a light-hearted, perhaps even feel-good story. I've written it in tiny chunks, so I never really understood what to do with it. Serialization on Wattpad might just be the ticket. :)

I'd probably do more than one a week, though, because my little snippets are never very long. For example, what I have posted here would be three different posts.

--

When Arthur rescues a goldfish from an untimely death, he has no idea that his simple act of caring will alter the course of his life in unpredictable and amazing ways.

--

Big eyes blinked at Arthur. Its little mouth opened, closed. Pook, pook. The goldfish didn’t swim so well; one fin was malformed.

Arthur hadn’t wanted a fish. It was just one more responsibility when brushing his teeth twice a day seemed like an unattainable dream.

But he had heard his boss: “Just throw it in with the feeders. It’ll never sell.”

Instead, he smuggled it out in a water bottle.

When he arrived home, his giant margarita glass became an impromptu fish bowl. In lieu of flake food, Arthur floated a piece of stale bread on the water.

The fish just stared.

“Lox,” Arthur begged, feeling silly. “Eat some bread, buddy.”

The fish wiggled its good fin.

Arthur pulled out his phone. Surely Google would have some advice on how to care for a fish.

-

Fish supplies occupied both sides of the aisle. The handle of a shopping basket resting in his elbow, Arthur studied the bottles.

“Can I help you with something?”

Arthur turned. The girl’s green eyes sparkled like the ring in her nose and her short blonde hair was styled into the perfect pixie cut.

“Uh.” He looked at the ground. Somehow it was easier to think that way. “Which is better, the sinking shrimp pellets, or the freeze-dried spirulina brine shrimp?”

“That depends on what sort of fish you have.”

“He’s, well. Some sort of goldfish.”

“Then might I suggest...” she trailed down the aisle and grabbed a bottle. “Goldfish food.”

“Oh. Right. I read online--” Arthur made the mistake of looking up. The woman’s smile wiped his mind clear.

“Yes?”

“I need a pump.”

“What kind of tank do you have?”

“It’s not really a tank so much as a...” Arthur bit his lip. “Martini glass. It’s a big one, though.”

The woman’s face darkened.

Even Arthur could sense the judgment in that look. “It’s not like I expected him! I didn’t even want him.”

His protest did nothing to win the clerk over. Instead, her brows knit into angry lines. “Then why do you have him?”

“My boss told me to toss him in the feeder tank. I may have liberated him instead, which also might be why I drove all the way out here to get Lox all set up.”

The scowl faded into a smile. The way it lit up her eyes made his knees weak.

“Where do you work?”

“Whoa there,” Arthur backed up in mock astonishment. “I can’t have you reporting back on my involvement with the animal liberation front.”

“That’s fair, though I can’t help but wonder how someone who works at a pet store doesn’t even know how to care for a goldfish.”

“You’d be surprised how little they teach us stock boys. I got a forty-five minute lecture on how to stack cat cans, and nothing else.”

The woman laughed and extended her hand. “I’m Brie. C’mon, I’ll help you get set up.”

-

The pump ran smoothly in Lox’s new tank. Several underwater castles dotted the all-natural pebbles covering the bottom. Fish flakes, fish pellets, and fish snacks circulated with the current. Lox, perhaps a trifle overwhelmed, hid behind a bubbling scuba diver.

“C’mon, bud,” Arthur said. “I’ve spent $57.50 on all this. And that’s with Brie’s discount.”

Lox stared.

“I know, I know. It wasn’t really right to use her discount, but you don’t have a lot of high-ground to, well, swim on, considering that if I hadn’t stolen you, you’d have been someone’s meal.”

 A large bubble escaped the scuba diver and sent him diving for cover.

“Stupid fish,” Arthur muttered, pulling out his phone. Perhaps they sold calming supplements for fish.

Brie would know.

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