when i bought him from a dodgy little aquarium along jalan besar, he had one good eye. along with four of his mates from the same tank, he came to my previous office as a tankizen. these five babies brought me alot of joy, and alot of weirdass stories revolve around them. but that's for another time.
this is a tribute to nemo. whose friend ate his single eye, but soldiered on to be one of the best pets i've ever had the joy to keep.
so one monday morning, i rocked up to work and fed the tankizens. i would always keep an eye out for nemo to make sure he was eating along with the rest, since he was the smallest and had half-vision. could not see his face in the pushing crowd of hungry faces gobbling up pellets. looked all over the glass bowl and found him stumbling around, upside down, bumping into seaweed and filter pump etc. all over the place. looked closer and realised with horror that his eye is gone. and there, a perfectly round cavity where it used to be.
panicked and gibbered to my chairman who was walking by. he calmly told me to go get nemo his own private lodgings. so a small glass bowl was purchased and nemo lived right on my work desk for a year. he was my constant companion, an unfailing entertainer who loved to do somersaults for me. i fed him by hand everyday... fish flakes broken painstakingly into a certain size range within easy munching-capacity for him. the flakes have to be soaked for a few seconds in the water to reach a certain consistency, then deftly flicked into his mouth with a toothpick. i became very good at doing this weird acrobatic feat.
he always rushed to the front of the bowl when he sensed my arrival in the mornings, though i'm not sure how he could? must have had some super-hyped up senses of another kind to make up for his lack of sight. vibrations through the bottom of his bowl transmitted from the desk, from my footfalls on the wooden floor. odd thing is, how he could always tell it was me. on lazy sunny arvo's, he would sometimes zip around the bowl for fun, follow the curve of the glass walls up the sides and do a few somersaults to entertain me. sunlight glistened off his shiny coat like droplets of gold dust.
his tail was deformed. i wonder if it was from swimming in one direction all the time assuming that the first eye he lost had been awhile back. he had this kink in the tail which was actually quite pretty. this was why he was named nemo, by one of my designers. a spunky little orange one with deformities.
a friend who studied vet science once commented that nemo was probably insane, upon assessment of his behaviour.
that's probably why we got along so well. :)
long hours seemed shorter with my friend on the desk blooping at me. it didn't seem very hard to work till midnight, 1am or 2am.
a year later, nemo fell prey to illness. caused by intense temperature changes to his little bowl of water because the office gets too damned hot during the weekends. not sure why it only happened a year later. and when we realised this problem, it was too late. he had gotten sick once before but got well in a flash when i gave him some antibiotics. but this time, it was fatal.
i fought for 4 days to save him. on the second day, he showed signs of improvement, righted himself and swam around with some glee. i breathed a sigh of relief, and left him with the medication alloted for the night. but on the third day, i had a shoot in the morning. when i finally rushed in to the office, he was belly-up and it all went downhill from there...
thursday arvo, he left me.
i froze his body in the freezer and conducted a funeral for him at the merlion, along with his twin brother tatters. tatters survived attacks from the other tankizens, his tail half eaten away. i found him in time, quarantined him in a net, fed him chopped peas and he recovered. his tail even grew back some. :) but he developed swim bladder disease a few months later... :(
tatters also loved doing somersaults. :)
my biggest regret is not bringing these two babies home to keep. they might still be alive today.