Monday rolls along, and I put in a day at the office. Afterwards, my good friend John Clay ambled his way over to my place for a nice night of beer drinking and Home Run Derby watching. Clay was kind enough to bring over a case of Rolling Rock bottles, unaware of the fact that I'd gone and purchased a case of Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat. The two cases had to share what limited space I had in my fridge, and Clay and I commenced our consumption.
After a while, after what seemed like hours worth of nonsensical crap playing on the television before they let the Derby begin - complete with a fucking 3 Doors Down performance (blecch) - the competition began, and our boy Chase Utley did not put on his best showing and was quickly eliminated.
Not long afterwards, another friend of mine from college, Ryan Stauffer, walked in the front door. Ryan lives just blocks away from me here in Conshohocken, and doesn't go out much during the week as he has a real-person job every day. But he dropped in just at the right time, just in time to see Josh Hamilton of the Rangers go on a spree of homers. The guy hit 28 in the first round, smashing Bobby Abreu's former record of 24. Quite an entertaining show, but nothing compared to what came next.
This, on the left, is Reebok. Reebok is one of more than ten assorted fish that inhabit our living room fish tank. He's a catfish, one that grows very large in the wild (upwards of 100 pounds), and our most expensive fish at purchase time ($50, split between me and my roommate Dave).
Reebok, as you may notice, has another fish sticking out of his mouth in this photo. This was brought to my attention by Ryan, who sat not three feet away from the tank and noticed a big commotion all of a sudden. We get up to look, and the little motherfucker has another fish crammed into his mouth, its head sticking out, its gills still moving and it struggling to free itself from Reebok's gaping jaws. Every now and then it would make a concerted effort to swim free, at which time Reebok would simply bash it against the wall or the floor to shove it further into his mouth.
Before long, a few other fish were starting to throw themselves into the fray. This orange guy pictured here is a Parrot Fish (referred to here as a Habok Fish), which generally doesn't bother Reebok for any reason, as Reebok is usually a bottom feeder and the two don't cross paths too frequently. Here, you'll notice the Habok smashing itself against the head of the half-swallowed fish, either as a show of support for Reebok, as a jealous attempt to get in on the kill (which was not dead, mind you), or a show of protest against Reebok and his fucking fierce domination of our fish tank and everyone inside.
Reebok's appetite for blood has been whetted in recent weeks, when either Ian or Dave brought home two very small fish, both of which looked slightly similar to tiny sharks. One day, we come downstairs and one of them is missing. Reebok, in the meanwhile, is completely engorged, his belly fatter than it's ever been, and sticking out of his mouth is the tailfin of one of those baby sharks, which he was still in the process of swallowing whole and digesting. And the very next day, the other baby shark is gone too, swallowed whole by Reebok, whose belly was so fat that I thought he was going to die. He hadn't even pooped the first one out, and he had already swallowed the second.
But until today, we'd always assumed that Reebok, the timid bottom-feeder who danced in the water for us and who looked too cute to harm another fish, had just eaten those baby sharks after they were already dead. We didn't think him capable of murder.
But here he was, with a live fish in his jaws for maybe as long as 15 minutes while it struggled for its life. And in one grand, climactic moment, the captive fish made one last-ditch effort to break free, and almost made it out. But Reebok flailed, fought, and smashed that little guy against something or just snapped its neck in his mouth. The captive fish went motionless, and Reebok released him just momentarily, allowing its lifeless body to float in front of him for a split second while he repositioned himself, and clamped down on it again, this time onto its head first. He shimmied the fish down its throat, with just the tiniest bit of tail fin protruding from his mouth (as you can barely see on the lefthand side), before swallowing the entire creature altogether.
After his meal, Reebok settled quietly into the corner of the tank, occasionally swiming vertically in place in, I assume, an attempt to get the fish down inside him and the digestion process started. As was the case when we found him after his last engorging, his stomach was the size of a raquetball (see photo on right), thanks to his snake-like devouring of one of his fellow fish. But now we know that, behind that adorable, playful facade that our dear Reebok puts on for most people, he's a fucking cold-hearted killer. He's got a taste for blood, and he's not going to tolerate that fish food crap any longer. It's only a matter of time before he preys on his next victim, and now he knows how to do it himself, rather than just sitting idly by and waiting for something to die naturally.
Beware. Or else Reebok'll fuckin kill you.