The Tank

Submitted into Contest #58 in response to: Write a story about someone feeling powerless.... view prompt

7 comments

Funny Drama Kids

Bubbles felt refreshed. The water was cool and clear; Mr. Ronald had taken to emptying it that very afternoon. Cleaning day was never the most comfortable – Bubbles really hated that bag – but it was worth it. Not a speck of dirt in the tank, no sir.


The tank was small. Just some purple and green rocks, a couple pieces of seagrass and a tiny stone castle. Bubbles had nibbled on the seagrass first-thing when Mr. Ronald dumped him in the tank. He was furious to discover it was plastic and proceeded to spend the next few minutes giving Mr. Ronald a piece of his mind. He supposed that’s why the man had named him Bubbles.


Plastic seagrass. How embarrassing. The fish at the store would be teasing him for days if they knew.


In all honesty, Bubbles missed the fish at the store. Good old Ken, and his horror stories about the fish farms. Those were bound to keep a fish up at night. And Angel, who would tickle Ginny with her long fins while Ginny slept. Bubbles loved a good prank.


And how could he forget Oscar, with his red and black scales? Bubbles would pretend there was a maze in those colors; he could spend hours trying to find the route from one end to the other.


Even Ruby, who would flash her scarlet fins at the customers and pout when they continued walking. She loved to complain, that one. Bubbles shook his head. He was missing Ruby. Things had really gotten low.


It was a common myth that a goldfish had a three-second memory. Bubbles wished more than anything it was true. Things would probably be more exciting, then. But he was cursed with a memory, and therefore cursed with extreme boredom.


Sometimes, Bubbles fantasized about jumping from his tank. Mr. Ronald would lunge across the room, tears streaming. He’d fling Bubbles into the water, who would slowly (and very dramatically) sink to the bottom. Please, Bubbles, please! You must not die, I’d be nothing without you, nothing-


And then Bubbles would gasp and cough. He’d twirl and roll and maybe even spin like a ballerina, while Mr. Ronald danced around the kitchen with joy….


It was just all a bit redundant, really - the swimming and the eating and the staring at absolutely nothing. Mr. Ronald didn’t decorate much. Bubbles would have loved a painting to ponder. Or the TV! Bubbles would have killed for the TV. But that was in the living room.


Bubbles sighed, and a few bubbles trickled out of his mouth. Death would be better than this.


Oh, yes. Bubbles had thought about death every single day since he left the fish store. But Mr. Ronald wouldn’t even give him that opportunity; the tank had a lid.


Bubbles had nothing.


What had he done to deserve this? He was the perfect fish at the store; never talked back, ate his food without complaint. He supposed he wasn’t particularly beautiful, but his gold scales were at least shiny. His fins were neatly trimmed. His head was… symmetrical.


He wished he was born in the wild. How he loved the stories about what was out there – like the plants. More than just seagrass. Corals and kelp and algae in every color. Bubbles had only ever seen green plants before. He longed to see swaying red anemones and bulbous blue corals.


And the millions of fish! They were supposed to be all shapes and sizes; Bubbles wasn’t sure if he believed that. His tank neighbor, Willy, told him about fish the size of a car, and bigger. Whales, Willy had called them. Not technically fish, he said, but they lived in the ocean. Bubbles wasn’t sure how that didn’t make them fish.


The most amazing thing, though, was the water. Miles and miles and miles of the stuff, Bubbles was told. It was deep, too. An open road in all directions. Bubbles closed his eyes and tried to imagine it, but all he could picture was his stupid tank.


Perhaps he was meant to live like this, a useless creature that ate two times a day and jumped when Mr. Ronald tapped his fat finger against the glass. What was the point of that?! It just didn’t make much sense to Bubbles - or to the fish at the store, for that matter. They had talked about all sorts of things, and that was always the big question: what was the point?


Bubbles often wondered about the other animals. They seemed to be having a better time, at least. There was the cat – that’s why Mr. Ronald kept the tank closed – who was always sleeping on the windowsill. That made Bubbles irrationally angry; she had the whole house to herself, and she spent all her time laying around? Ridiculous. Bubbles almost wished Mr. Ronald would open the tank so he could give her a piece of his mind, but something told him he’d end up in her stomach.


Mr. Ronald also had a dog, a hyper little thing with a tail that never stopped wagging. He was always running around and knocking things over. His ears perked at the slightest sound and he howled when Mr. Ronald left for work. He seemed to be enjoying life, at least. Bubbles liked the dog more than the cat, even if he’d almost knocked the bowl over once.


It could be worse. He could be the crickets – he’d seen them in the store when Mr. Ronald carried him out. They would be fed to frogs and snakes and the like. Not the longest life. But at least they’re useful, he thought.


Bubbles groaned. He was feeling jealous of crickets now.


This was it. Watching the cat stretch in the sun. Listening to the dog’s howls. Wondering where his friends from the store ended up. Flinching at the tapping on the glass.


Bubbles wedged himself into the castle and waited for the next day to start.

September 09, 2020 04:38

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7 comments

Lina Oz
04:50 Oct 23, 2020

I absolutely love Bubbles! This is such a cute story and you have a knack for taking a fun, light-hearted topic and writing it maturely and descriptively. This is the cutest story and I want it to be transformed to a picture book or children's book!

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Lani Lane
14:02 Oct 25, 2020

Thank you so much!!! This one was one of my favorites to write. :)

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Lina Oz
00:53 Oct 26, 2020

I can tell––it's awesome :)

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Karen Kinley
13:43 Sep 13, 2020

I love this story! So cute and simply told. Definitely a point of view I had never considered before!

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Lani Lane
14:15 Sep 13, 2020

Thank you so much, Karen! I appreciate you taking the time to give it a read, as well as comment. :)

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You give so much emotion in this story, from disgust to annoyance to longing.

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Paige Mackey
18:49 Sep 17, 2020

This is such an adorable story! Very well written. Thank you for sharing!!!❤️

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