When Claudia was in elementary school (4th grade?) she “won” a goldfish in some kind of school fair. Congratulations, kid, but there’s no way you’re bringing that thing home. You won’t take care of it.
Of course, it (he?) came home, and “Kevin” became a part of our household. That was at least 4 years ago; and who knows how old he was when she got him. I just looked up the average lifespan of a goldfish. Surprisingly, they can live 10-15 years and more. But the key to those lifespans is “proper care”. Based on level of care, Kevin should have been flushed long ago.
Did you ever read Black Beauty? That’s what this poor fish is – he’s Black Beauty. Except he’s gold. And, instead of a hard-working, useful horse, he’s a basically useless fish. But the many-varieties-of-Dickensian-level-suffering part is spot on.
Kevin’s first stop was in Claudia’s room. It was a dark, lonely existence with sporadic feeding and non-existent bowl cleanings. Eventually, the rest of us forgot that Claudia even had a fish down there. When we finally discovered the crusty, murky bowl, it was decided that maybe the fish should live upstairs in the kitchen.
That began the next stage in Kevin’s ongoing tale of woe. He was fed more often, but now he had to contend with the cats. The cats would “play” with him and drink his water down to the point where the poor guy looked like a character in one of those Animal Planet documentaries about the watering hole in the dry season.
Finally though, the cats “went to find a new family” and it’s just been Kevin in the kitchen since then. He doesn’t get fed regularly. His bowl doesn’t get cleaned regularly. (It’s on Claudia’s chore list for every Friday. But that doesn’t mean anything. Until “lay around and watch Netflix” gets written on her chore list, life’s going to be a struggle.) But Kevin’s still kicking, patiently waiting for his chance to be retired and live out the rest of his days in a peaceful pasture… Or whatever the fish equivalent of a peaceful pasture is.