I Killed My Son’s Fish

You read that headline right. I killed JD’s first pet—a 5th birthday gift from my work-wife, aunt Jemma. 

This unfortunately wasn’t Leo’s first brush with death. Read about that here. But it was his … final demise.

Here’s how it went down.

JD and I were sitting at the kitchen table, chatting and finishing up breakfast yesterday morning. I looked up at Leo, the Betta fish and thought: Ew, his water is murky and gross.

“If you finish all of your breakfast, you can help me change Leo’s water, OK?” I said.

JD scarfed his waffle and fruit down.

I moved the tank over to the sink area. I hoisted JD up on the counter. Like every other water change, I scooped Leo into the green cup (by chasing him with the cup and not using a functional strainer tool), placed him on the counter and then dumped the contents of the tank. I even decided to change the colorful rocks, because the tank just needed it. Trust me.

JD poured some new neon rocks in. I added fresh Poland Spring water—”A bath of luxury,” I said … “Time to put Leo back in!”

The green cup had yucky water in it. I decided to slowly pour the water into the sink, down the drain. That’s when Leo … fell to the drain. I couldn’t help but scream, “Ahh! Ghah! Leo!” JD burst into hysterical tears and screamed, “Leo is stuck in the drain!”

“I’ll get him, buddy!”

I looked down at Leo. He was flopping around. With my thumb and pointer fingers pinched together I went to grab his tail … or fin … but it was over in seconds. As soon as Leo felt my touch he disappeared. Down the drain. Poof! “Ghah,” I screamed.

JD lost it.

I cupped my hand over my mouth. I was half in shock and half about to burst into laughter … no tears.

I quickly moved JD away from the crime scene. I wiped his tears away, but they kept coming. Sh*t! Thinking fast, I began what is now known as … “Leo’s Prevailment Home To His Mom.” (I am using the word prevailment … because I am.)

“Remember in the movie Finding Nemo when Nemo was stuck in the fish tank at the dentist’s office? Remember when Nemo escaped.”

JD looked at me with bloodshot eyes. “Yes,” he said. His cheeks were tear-stained.

“He swam down the drain and the drain led to the ocean and eventually Nemo met up with his daddy. Buddy, Leo is fine. Our kitchen sink drain leads to the ocean. Leo is going to find his mommy,” I said.


“What about his daddy?” JD swiftly asked.

“Leo’s dad lives in the Pacific ocean. Leo is going to live with his mom, who lives in the Atlantic. One day he might visit Hawaii to see his dad,” I said. “For now, he’s in the ocean by Uncle Carlo’s beach.”

“Does he have a brother?” JD asked.

“Ah, he has a sister named Lucy,” I said.

Next thing I knew we were in PetCo and JD was telling this story to Trevor the fish guy who had bleach blond hair and those stretch earrings that make giant holes in your earlobes (never got that trend). Trevor was kind nonetheless. He completely played along, leading JD to the “Betta Lounge.”

JD selected a red Betta. “Let’s name him Jingles for Christmastime,” he said.

“OK,” I said. The child could have named him John Gotti and I wouldn’t have cared.

“Can I get this superhero for his tank?” JD said holding up a figurine.

“Yes,” I said. I would have purchased him 12.

Jingles settled in well. “I’m keeping my eye on him, mom,” JD said over and over.

This morning Uncle Carlo FaceTimed with JD. He told him he spoke to a fisherman on Bradley Beach who spotted Leo, Lucy and their mom … prevailing in the ocean.

And I believe Leo truly is. Yes.

After that lovely, heartfelt FaceTime, my jacka*s big bro, Carlo, texted me this:

 Feel free to share your pet fish stories! 

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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