Now I know how Patty Hearst’s family must have felt the first time they saw her on TV in a beret, fronting for the Symbionese Liberation army.
*Kids, go ask your parents.
Teller Lake in Boulder, Colorado has been overrun by some 4,000 goldfish. Now the ecosystem is threatened by a mass of fifty- cent pets no one ever expects to live more than a week. Scientists can’t believe it.
But I can.
Several years ago, we got a fish tank and populated it with “expensive” two dollar fish. All of them died. Screw that, we thought, and dumped a fifty-cent, garden-variety, orange goldfish in there. Little did we know, that choice would eventually lead to to the end of life in Colorado as we know it. It’s only a matter of time before the hideous half-human, half-goldfish people start flopping around on fingered fins, demanding lattes and saltwater bong hits.
This IS Colorado, don’t forget.
We named him Stone, I think after legendarily-named Newscaster Stone Phillips. Stone turned out to be the little-goldfish-who-could. Every day, he patrolled his tank. He would swim over to greet us when we walked in the room. He came to the surface when it was time to eat.
And he grew.
The thing ate and ate. He outgrew one tank. Then another. He lived on and on. He survived moves to at least three houses and four tanks. After a house fire, he survived two days in soot-filled water before we could rescue him. This fish was invincible.
Until one day, he wasn’t. I assume old goldfish age finally got him.
But what if it got him, but didn’t stop him?
Here’s how I imagine Stone’s adventure, post-mortem: the cold Stone is so accustomed to, being cold-blooded and, you know, dead, is replaced with all-encompassing warmth. He slowly opens his already open eyes (fish don’t have eyelids), the stirring words of John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” filling his nonexistent ears. He is surrounded by dozens of goldfish. “Stone?” he says, since all goldfish look pretty much alike and any one or more of these could be him. (goldfish have pretty tiny brains)
“Am I dead?” Stone asks.
“Better,” one of the other goldfish replies, “you’re in Colorado.”
“Cool.” There’s no need to ask any questions. These are talking, possibly undead goldfish. Just swim with it.
“Hey, man,” one of the goldfish says, “or lady. Hard to tell ourselves apart. Anyway, wanna take over the state?”
“Because the hermit crabs already called dibs on Montana.”
“Okay,”says Stone, failing to shrug.
And just a few short years later, their plan is in full swing, er full swim Today, Teller Lake. Tomorrow, the music store in Boulder that Mork and Mindy worked at.
**Kids, ask your parents about this too.
The hermit crabs, meanwhile, are still caught in traffic in Helena. Also, they’re HERMIT CRABS.
I know this must all be true. I’ve seen the news footage and I’m sure I spotted Stone in that lake. He’s the one in the beret.