I had given up trying to talk to him and the routine was once again setting in. Get up. Go to work. Come home. Feed my fish. Watch TV. The weekends were the exact same except I wouldn’t go to work. I’d just sit at home in my underwear and eat hot pockets and play on my X-Box all day. Every once in a while a friend would call and I would go out and drink beer at some greasy pizza joint. About four months after I had given up I was watching TV at three in the morning. It was a work night but I couldn’t sleep and had already decided to call in sick the next day. There was nothing on except for infomercials, ads for Girls Gone Wild, and some show on the History Channel featuring David Carradine talking about cowboy technology. The Kung Fu bastard had even stolen the show from own brother. The jerk couldn’t even let Keith have his own showing without butting in. During the commercials I started flipping channels again, praying that in the last 8 minutes something miraculous would happen and there would be something interesting on TV. No such luck. I started idly watching an ad for a blender called the Magic Bullet. After a few moments of watching some jerk face limey presenter making breakfast for various tropes/houseguest I was ready to flip back to David Carradine explaining about how advanced prostitution was in the Wild West. As I flipped away from the infomercial I heard a voice pipe up from the corner.
“Dude, think you can switch back? I love that commercial. Cracks me up every time.” I didn’t want to jinx the moment, so I flipped back to the previous channel and turned the volume up.
“And all you have to do is put the cheese in the Magic Bullet carafe and blend for four seconds…one…two…three…four. Remove the base and screw on the microwave safe lid. Microwave for 35 seconds then PRESTO, instant nachos.”
“Man I don’t even like nachos, but that looks so good right now.” The fish said.
I was astounded. All I could say was “Why don’t you like nachos? I thought everyone likes nachos?”
“Lactose intolerant. Makes me poo something fierce.”
“When the fuck did you get nachos?”
“Dude, it was before I met you.” And he left it at that. I didn’t want to press it, so my fish and I watched the TV in silence for a few more minutes. “Really what I love in this ad is the characters. You have the know-it-all brit with the non threatening yet exotic accent. His attractive yet not distracting wife. He is showing off his Magic Bullet to a hungover brother in law, his doting wife, a shrill know-it-all Aunt complete with the nasty cigarette dangling from her lips. Its like art. I do not know if the ad writers are making fun of the viewers or if this is just a really clever sell. Is this parody or is it real? All I know is that I don’t have any arms yet I really really really want a Magic Bullet now.”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Why did you sound like Ned Flanders last time, but now you sound like some of stoned college kid?”
The fish laughed that in that gravely, phlegmatic laugh that fish have. “That was on a bet. You should have seen the look on your face. I don’t how I kept it straight the entire time.”
I let it go at that. The rest of the evening was spent watching late night infomercials, critiquing their various sales pitches. He knew quite a bit about George Foreman’s life story; surprisingly much for a fish. He also did not like the Ronco rotisserie machines. He thought the sound stage/test kitchen presentation in front of a live audience was played out. He thought Ron Popeil was a shill.
When I got up the morning, my fish was dead. That was a shame because he was kind of a cool guy if you like talking about late night infomercials. After he really opened up that evening I found out he was a little racist, but then no one’s perfect. I didn’t get too worked up over his death though. He might have been a talking goldfish, but he was still just a goldfish. I flushed him and went about my business. Although to this day I have no idea who dared him to talk like Ned Flanders. That’s going to bother me for a while.