The Demise of Mr. Orange
by Susana Rosende

In the furthest corner of our backyard lies our pet cemetery. Benji and Jeremy, our late yorkies who lived until 15 and 14 years of age, are buried there, as is one of Max-the-cat's victim birds and more recently, Mr. Orange.

Mr. Orange, one of seven-year-old Joey's orange mollies, died last night. The fish had been under duress for days. First, I spied him gasping for air at the surface; next, he was down on the gravel, fins waving, but not moving.

I offered a burial at sea (down the toilet) but Joey was horrified. Lacking a net (I HAVE to buy one soon) I plucked the hapless Mr. Orange from his watery home with my hand.

Joey and I dug a grave for him...not too deep, but not too shallow, to ensure the dogs or cats DO NOT dig him up. Ceremoniously, Joey and I prayed for God to welcome Mr. Orange to Pet Heaven. (Fourteen-year-old Brian did not attend.) Then we ran inside to check on the survivors, our black and dalmation mollies, Blacky and Spot, respectively. They were fine.

Moms must never be squeamish. I hadn't planned the logistics of retrieving "floaters." I hadn't realized the value of a net!

I phoned the pet store and asked what to do. With a tearful Joey at my side, I asked, "Can I scoop him out with a spoon?" Joey's grief turned to giggles when he heard me respond, "With my bare hand? Really?"

Brian prides himself on being responsible, the "man of the house." I offered Brian the job of retrieving Mr. Orange from the perilous waters of the two-gallon fish tank. His response?

"You're the Mom. That's your job."

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