Last December I met up with my friend the Scotch to exchange Christmas presents and five months later I got a fish. I thought I should tell you about her.
When we met in December, the Scotch started telling me about a particular experiment with a particular type of fish he was running. Since I do not understand any of the science the Scotch does, I tend to focus on the other more human details. One of those details was that his students named the fish in this experiment. The story so charmed me at least in part because it was about Steve and Steve’s Girlfriend.
It turns out that Steve was for some particular reason beloved by the Scotch’s students. I have no idea why perhaps Steve was particularly attractive or in some way scientifically interesting. Possibly every science experiment needs a mascot. Steve’s female partner was perhaps less attractive or interesting, sufficiently less so that she didn’t get a name; she was just Steve’s Girlfriend. I think I will not be the only person to assert that Steve’s girlfriend clearly had a reasonable quibble with this sort of fishsogynistic crap. It came to pass that Steve’s girlfriend ate Steve and that seems a sort of reasonable response when you don’t even have your own fish(person)hood.
The night the Scotch told me this story, I happened to call Christie. She was particularly down about something Andy had done, so I told the story of Steve and his homicidal girlfriend. Steve’s girlfriend, whom we christened Claudia Jean, became an inside joke.
When Andy bought enough guns to run a banana republic, when he bought and hid the second motorcycle, when he spent 10k on we have no idea what, when he ‘ran away’ from home and the police were at the house to put out a missing person bulletin, Christie and I would look at each other and mouth “Steve’s Girlfriend”. Or we would make gulping motions. It is the sort of grim and dark humour that has always seen us through. We would make jokes about how Claudia Jean was living the life of Riley in the ocean off the south of France.
As Andy’s body began to fail, the Scotch sent me a photo of Claudia. Alone in her tank. There was a piece of tape and the label “Steve/Steve’s GF”. Someone had crossed out Steve. Then, underneath there was another label “Claudia”. Claudia was the last of her kind and the last of that experiment and well, she either found a home or she went to the place all research fish go.
Claudia Jean, having gotten us through some very dark times, is now swimming in a tank in my living room, quite happy. As soon as the borders open up, I’ll get her a snail to clean her tank. I will name the snail Carol.
And that is why I was at Petsmart, digging past the single serving frozen mice to get at the blood worms. Claudia Jean thinks they are a very tasty treat.