The world is your oyster!: Teacher's Pet        

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My name is Heather.

I am 22 years old.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Teacher's Pet

A blonde walks into Walmart and straight back to the pet section. She examines the bettas, plucks a little red one off the shelf, and takes it up to the cashier.

"How much for this betta?" she asks, and then swipes her card without listening to the price, since the school will be reimbursing her for the fish anyway. The blonde leaves the store, fish in hand, and gets back in her car.

Does this sound like the start of a dumb blonde joke? It's not. It's the start of a very serious life-and-death drama, and it is a true story.

Here's a shocking confession: I am the blonde in this story. The red betta is my class pet, the honorable Brad Rudolph. The cashier will remain anonymous.

Wednesday: I took Brad Rudolph - BR, for short - from Walmart. I placed him securely in Cassidy Jane Carbaby. I brought him to my apartment.

Thursday morning: I brought him to school and slid him into his new home: a beautiful glass fishbowl perched on the windowsill, where he could watch all the kids play at recess. When my kids came in and noticed him, they loved him immediately.

Thursday afternoon: We named him. Aka, they named him.

Friday morning: We wrote letters to Brad Rudolph.

Friday afternoon: I thought to myself: won't BR need to eat over the weekend? I put Brad Rudolph in the little container I had bought him in and got him settled back in Cassidy Jane Carbaby. We got back to my apartment. I poured him into a bigger tupperware container, so he could have some wiggle room.

Saturday: uneventful.

Sunday: uneventful.

Monday morning: Disaster struck. I couldn't find BR's traveling case. I poked holes in a water bottle lid and pretended like that would be okay. I went over to the sink and tried pouring BR into the water bottle. Before I knew it, I had lost 96% of the water down the drain, and BR was still swimming frantically around in the inch of water left in the tupperware container.

I panicked. I tried to facilitate a gentle transfer by setting the water bottle in the container so BR could just swim right in, but that just made all these weird air bubbles rush out of the water bottle and into the water in the tupperware container, and that just made BR thrash around like a sad little piece of red seaweed.

Which was just as terrifying as it sounds! I'm not sure what happened next, but somehow I ended up trying to pick up BR with my bare hands from off of a dirty plate in the sink, and there was no water in the tupperware container, and there was barely a centimeter of water in the water bottle, and when I eventually managed to grab him and drop him in the water bottle, I remembered that he needed water, so I turned on the faucet for about half a second before I remembered that betta fish need special water that has water conditioner drops in it, and tap water will kill them....

So then I snapped off the tap water, appalled at myself, ran over to the shelves where Shannon has her betta fishes, and brought one of them over to the sink. That fish kindly shared some of his water with BR's water bottle. Then the other fish shared some of his water with BR, too.

I felt so bad the entire ride to school. I just kept checking my water bottle to see how poor little BR was holding up.

He seemed a little shaken, but he wasn't dead.  Just to be extra-careful, though, I didn't even turn on the radio the whole way there. I don't want my fish to be deaf any more than I want him to be dead!

At last we got to school and I was able to pour him back into his bowl.

Home, sweet home.

I tell my kids a lot; some might even say that I tell them too much. But you better believe that this is one story I did not share with them.

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