The other day I was cleaning out our fish tank, and holy crap! There was Jacques!
Jacques is our ottocat, which is a kind of catfish that never gets bigger than an inch or so long. It’s nice to have a catfish because they eat the algae that would otherwise completely coat the inside of the tank, so you can get away with cleaning it less often without looking like a total douche who can’t care for their pets. Appearances are everything when you’re a lazy ass.
Ottocats are the best kind because they never get big and ugly like other catfish. Instead, they remain little and cute and quite adorable. We love Jacques lots and lots and lots. He’s everybody’s favourite fish, the only one with a name.
But boy, does he ever freak me out.
The problem with Jacques is that he seems to have some sort of secret ninja ability to get out of the tank, go on vacation, then return at his leisure.
Either that, or he’s jumping through time like the characters on Lost. Hey John Locke, if you see Jacques, say hi for me!
At least 99% of the time, if you look for him in the tank, you can’t find him. That’s because he’s a dull grey colour and he likes to hide from the light in various nooks and crannies, so he’s very hard to spot. But if we search very hard, and check his usual haunts, we can usually confirm that he at least exists, and is still alive.
Sometimes, though…he’s just gone. We look and look and look and he just isn’t there. We clean the tank, stirring up the gravel and moving the rocks and digging out all his usual places, and still…no Jacques. We rap on the glass and churn the water and throw in fish treats, yet still…no Jacques.
This last time was the longest, I think — three weeks we had gone with absolutely no sign of him. We were completely convinced that he had died and the other fish had eaten him, or that maybe his broken body had been trapped in the filter. Or maybe his last will and testament had specified cremation.
In any case, we turned that tank upside down and seriously, I am not kidding, he was not in there.
Then, this week…pop! There he is, sitting on the bottom, all cavalier like, “What?”
I guess a hip, happing fish like Jacques likes to get out every now and again. Somehow.