Mommy says my goldfish ran away today. She says she’s sorry as she makes dinner in the kitchen and that I can put up posters but that no one would turn in goldfish, especially those goldfish. She says it like that, those goldfish.
I tell her it isn’t possible, those goldfish with their bowlish trustworthy gelatinous eyes would not run away. They are probably just hiding in the garden. They didn’t like the cats, who’ve been very swoopy lately.
She doesn’t say anything else about the goldfish because Jake, my brother’s terrier, steals a piece of raw chicken just then, prehensile monkey tail snatching it right off the counter. The little dog runs for it, the piece of chicken clutched high in its long tail like a flag. Mommy tears after him screeching and cursing my father, my brother and of course Jake, who still has the chicken.
That gives me an idea. My daddy is the smartest man who ever lived, and I know that because he says it all the time. And he’s the smartest man who ever lived, so of course he would know. I find him in the tower. He is talking with a ferret, except the ferret is being quite rude and I can see daddy getting very upset.
I ask him if he’d seen my goldfish. The ferret responds that he hadn’t and that my frizzy hair was the color of old boogers. I tell the ferret that I hadn’t asked him, about my goldfish or his opinion on my hair. The little animal huffs, adjusts his collar primly, and darts off behind an old stack of canoeing magazines.
Daddy reaches over and picks me up, asking if I’d like to help with an experiment. I say yes, but only if the experiment is one that finds my goldfish, and not one that involves ferrets as they can apparently be hurtful with their words. We agree and begin setting little bits of paper all over the floors of first the tower, then the stairs, then the foyer, not the kitchen because Mommy was already cross and making dinner, then the patio. The goldfish, my daddy explains, will walk over the paper and their little sparrow feet will get stuck.
I ask about the cats, as they have been swoopy lately. My goldfish, with their bowlish trusting eyes, will never see the trap coming. But they won’t see the cats either. My mother thinks the cats are molting and my brother blames the weather for the swoopiness, I have no guess. My father sits down to think the problem through and I set more pieces of paper just in case.
Dinner is called. Jake is not allowed to attend and my brother comes in with pieces of paper stuck to his feet. They all laugh but I am quiet. My goldfish have not walked in with paper stuck to their feet, just my brother.