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I have a beautiful blue beta fish I’ve named Mikey. Well, really he is Mikey II as the original Mikey passed away several years ago but they look so much alike that I was hard pressed – which is like ironed but without the steam – to find a more suitable name. So Mikey he became.

Now Betas are also called Siamese fighting fish but not because of their accent or eye shape which are not that noticeable, but because Betas are aggressive by nature. In fact, you cannot put two Betas in the same bowl unless you have sadistic tendencies and a wager on the side.

I got Mikey last spring when I was still living in Sonoma County. I was renting a room with a very nice family who had as pets a black, aging rabbit and four, as they say free range, parakeets. In other words the bunny and parakeets were not caged except at night and had free run of the house.

Why is this important you ask? Their unfettered lifestyle meant that I could not get a pet dog or cat. You see the implications. In either case, death was on the agenda for one or more of the residents. When I cast around for a pet (no pun intended) I soon realized my best alternative was a fish. Outside of their watery environment they pose no threat to anything, plus they are clean and usually quiet.

Forthwith, which is like quickly but with more detours, I set off for Pets Mart where I soon found Mikey sitting quietly on a shelf in a little plastic tub. I snatched up said denizen of the deep and took him home. Wanting to keep things simple, I took a small glass cookie jar, threw in some rocks and a plant, and voila! Mikey had a new home. After the plastic container he was in fish heaven.

Which brings me to today. I was rummaging – which is like searching but without an objective – at the local thrift store when what do I see but a magnificent fish bowl. This glass bowl was of the low, round variety and would easily hold twice the amount of water Mikey current bowl had, and at $2.98 it was a steal. Posthaste, which is faster than forthwith and has nothing to do with mail delivery, I popped it in my cart.

It is now sitting on my desk where both Mikey and I can admire it and plan for the future. It offers expansive decorating
opportunities. In fact, its large circumference puts me in mind of the racetrack at the Roman Coliseum or the Hadron supercollider in Switzerland or the rink for the roller derby in downtown LA. Instead of the periodic spin around the aquatic plant, Mikey will soon be able to swim laps at incredible speeds.

In addition to the aquatic plant and rocks, Mikey has suggested I add an ominous crumbling castle, a charming treasure chest that blowsbubbles, or a mysterious helmeted deep sea diver with harpoon to the tableau. This evening we will let these and other ideas percolate while watching Richard Basehart and David Hedison in reruns of “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.”

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