Our family has an unquenchable need for pets. We have Jezebel, our black Lab. You’d think a big dog would satisfy the “animal need.” But you’d be wrong. Luke has a parakeet named Ralph, and Matt has a hamster named Grover. (Yes, Grover’s the hamster that likes to rub noses with Jezebel and has been known to kick hamster food out of his cage so the dog can eat it.)
At one point, Jacob had a hamster as did Ariel. Ariel’s hamster Oswald was ill-tempered and blind—he bit everyone who touched him. Ariel thought he was misunderstood. Yeah, right. Finally, Jake and Ariel’s hamsters died. Both of them chose not to buy another hamster. So we went from five animals, plus the koi in the pond, which makes six, down to four animals. I’ve always been glad we’ve never lived on a farm or a couple of acres, or we’d have ended up with a goat, chickens, and maybe even a cow (Matt loves cows).
After the death of Oswald, Ariel’s nurturing instincts needed to be expressed. Last week she set up our old fish tank in her room and bought fish. She asked me to come with her to the pet store, but I said, “Nope. I’m too busy.” That was a mistake. Ariel came home with fish, but only four, so that sounded great. I asked her what kind she bought.
Ar: A Chinese algae-eater.
Me: Oh, good. What else?
Ar: Some kind of whitish fish.
Me (squinting from across the room): Looks like a tetra.
Ar: Could be.
Me: What else?
Ar: Two mollies. (Apparently two were purchased so they wouldn’t be lonely.)
Me: What?! You bought Mollies!
Ar: They come in such pretty colors.
Me: Ugh. Mollies. I can’t believe you bought mollies.
Me: Mollies are live birth fish. They don’t have to lay eggs. And they are very productive.
Ar: I’m sure the pet store doesn’t keep the boy mollies with the girl mollies.
Me (with raised eyebrows): You can’t be serious.
Ar: Oh. I guess you’re right.
Me: And not only that, dear girl. But mollies store semen so they can have babies whenever the urge strikes them.
Ar: Oh, dear.
Me: You will have a school of mollies.
Ar: Uh, Mom...
Ar: The mollie just had babies.
Me: You’re not serious.
Me: How many?
Ar: And she’s eating them.
Eight babies have survived thus far. Ariel sits at the tank watching the babies hide under plant leaves, in rocks, etc. She’s cheering for the babies to survive. (Yeah, Mother’s Day means something different for mollies.) Ar thinks that when the babies are full-grown we can just bring them to the pet store like we did when Matt’s hamster had babies. Maybe. But more likely the pet store people will tell us to flush them. I’ve mentioned that to Ariel, and she scowls.
Anyone want any mollies?