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My Goldfish Horror Story


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  • Regular Member

I've had a hard time sharing this, but I've been blaming myself ever since it happened, and if I don't get it off my chest I may have a nervous breakdown over my 47 cent goldfish. (They were supposed to be $1.88, but that's a different story. :D ) It's just, this has been haunting me for months, and I really need to talk about it.

When I first got the fish, I lived in a dorm with three other guys. Honors floor in the scholars' dorm, right? So you'd think they'd be all pretty nice kids. And they were nice most of the time, but for some strange reason, two of them had the greatest time torturing my goldfish, and there was nothing I could do to stop them. The never put anything poisonous in the tank (Thank goodness! I heard a story once about someone who killed a "friend's" goldfish with nail polish.), I think mostly because the goal was never actually to hurt the fish. It was just some sick power trip they got from having absolute control over a poor defenseless animal. When I found out they had been abusing them it broke my heart. I mean, I was literally on the verge of tears. Yet, I was furious at the same time. I wanted to stop them, but when they found out that abusing the goldfish gave them power over me, too, then they liked it even more. They'd put their hands in the tank and try to catch and "pet" them, or they'd get them with the net and "jokingly" test how long they could keep them out of the water without killing them. Of course, in all of it, the poor fish were swimming and thrashing desprately to get away, but it didn't matter. For some reason, these guys who you would never have taken for animal abusers had no compassion at all on the four little goldfish. But what hurts me even more, what I imagine will haunt me for as long as these little guys are with me, isn't what my roommates did. It's what I did. I looked away.

I felt like it was the only thing I could do. Sure, they liked having power over the goldfish, but they liked having power over me even more, and so after about three weeks of trying almost desperately to convince them not to hurt the fish, I just started shrugging my sholders, acting like I didn't care. I remember one incident especially well. It was later in the evening and I was gaming on my computer. One of the abusive roommates had been studying by the goldfish tank. Then the other abusive roommate, who had been gaming too, goes in there with the first abusive roommate, and the two start talking. It comes to the point where they're chasing them around with the net and the first abusive roommate catches one. He says to the second abusive roommate, "Hey, you know how we held it out of the water 30 seconds last time? Let's see if it lives if we hold it out of the water a whole minute." My heart stood still. I literally began to feel dizzy. But, while I kept on evesdropping, I did my best not to blink. I certainly wasn't paying any attention to my game anymore, but I did my best to make it look like I was.

So they held the fish over the water. I couldn't see it, because I was pretending to still be playing, but I could hear it thrashing around, trying to get away. I tried to count the seconds that it was out of the water, but I was so terrified that seconds seemed like hours and counting wasn't doing me any good. I think it was at about 15 seconds, but like I said, I was a little off on the time element, the second roommate called to me across the suite. "Hey, aren't you going to stop (Roommate 1)? He's killing your fish." I responded, forcing a smile, "I'm going to kill you guys if you make me miss any more sniper shots in RO. I'm playing Danzig as Allies and my team is way behind in reenforcements." "So you're not going to do anything about it?" "Dude, I told you already. It's just a goldfish. I really don't care." And it's like those were the magic words. The first abusive roommate put the fish back in the water and went back to his homework, and the second abusive roommate went back to his computer game. I'd said it before, but going from being so protective of the fish to being so nonchalant, it took a few rounds before they started to believe me. But apparently that was enough. They certainly didn't leave the fish alone afterwards, but they never were quite as mean to them as they had been when they were able to bother me by bothering them.

I'm sure you're thinking by the end of reading all of this what a terrible fish parent I am that I did nothing to stop them, and honestly, there are times when I feel like that, too. But I really did do a lot more than you realize just reading the story. First, I talked with, pleaded with, and occationally even fought with my roommates, trying to convince them to leave the fish alone, for three entire weeks before "playing possium". Second, even while I was pretending not to care, I was still doing everything I could to give the fish a sporting chance. I found a ridiculously heavy and awkward piece of glass to put above the tank that they had to move every time they wanted to bug the fish. I conveniently "lost" the net several times. I added plants to the tank, not so much for decoration, but so that the fish could swim around them to avoid being caught. And let me tell you, the plants really worked. I think they were more help to the fish than anything else I did. I wanted to seek some sort of recourse through my school, but the only option available to me was to file for a transfer to one of the dope dorms, and of course there was no reason to think the situation there would be any better. I had to deal with it or leave. They said that they allowed fish in the dorms, but they certainly weren't overly supportive.

The bright side to the whole episode, if you can really call it a bright side, is that I seem to be the only one with any lasting trauma from what went on. The fish all survived and seem reasonably healthy, although I doubt that the stress they were under for those months helped them in any way. They used to try and get away any time I put my hand in the water for water changes or whatever, or when I used their net for picking up uneaten pieces of food, but they don't do that any more. Either they've forgotten about my roommates abusing them or they've chosen to put those memories behind them. I know that they have memories, regardless of that stupid 2 second myth, but I don't know if they can reach that far back or not. I still have some uncertainty about Tolstoy's "lucky fin", whether he was born that way or if it was broken while he was being abused. It certainly could have happened either way. The fact that it's such a clean, neat crease makes me think that it was a birth defect, but I'll never really know. What I do know, though, is that if I ever have roommates who try to abuse my fish again, I will find a better, faster way of stopping them. Or, if possible, a way of preventing them from hurting the fish in the first place. That's my promise to my goldfish, and I need you guys to keep me accountable. Thanks.

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  • Regular Member

you are an incredible person to share..I tell you..I was holding my breath through your whole story!!!...I belive when we are young on the verge of adulthood we try and want to fit in but the other have of us are letting go and want to break free of that burden ..you possibly trying to do somthing could of and most likley would have brought more harrasment on you and the fish ..like you said to get a rise ...I personally would of drowned every roomate you had in the $%$$# tank!!!!!....but I'm going on 30 and drowning roomates is wwwaaaayyyy more mature :blink: .... :ignore ..we all have done somthing that we have done that we wish we can change ....you know now that you will not let it happen again ,as it has bothered you that much ..start new ..forgive yourself but never forget ;)

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  • Regular Member
I've had a hard time sharing this, but I've been blaming myself ever since it happened, and if I don't get it off my chest I may have a nervous breakdown over my 47 cent goldfish. (They were supposed to be $1.88, but that's a different story. :D ) It's just, this has been haunting me for months, and I really need to talk about it.

You don't have to blame yourself over it, try to put it behind you, like your smart fishies did :hug

Edited by Quasi
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  • Regular Member

Oh drkslvr your story gave me the shudders. What I wouldn't give to go back in time and kick each and every one of your good-for-nothing roommates right where it hurts!

I'm so sorry that you had to go through such an awful experience. I don't blame you for your actions at all-- you, and your poor fish, are the victims here. Those #@%^@#$@!@)^!!~! are the ones who intentionally hurt your fish and intentionally hurt you.

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  • Regular Member

you know, i realized that i forgot someone when telling this story. originally, all three of my suitemates were harassing the poor fish, but my third roommate's girlfriend found out about it at the same time that i did, and even though i couldn't make the first and second roommates leave the goldfish alone, she did make the third roommate leave the goldfish alone.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Kayla's Goldfish

It's not your fault, I would of done the same thing. It was acting like that that made them leave your babies alone, and it's not like you meant it.

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  • Regular Member
It's not your fault, I would of done the same thing. It was acting like that that made them leave your babies alone, and it's not like you meant it.

Thanks Kayla. :) It means a lot to me to hear everyone's support.

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  • 2 months later...
Guest stitch101

its good that u didnt act sad or any thing when they were hurtin yr fish (but they shouldn't been such ***** retards anyway :wall ) cause then then they would stuff around and try to make u scream

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  • Regular Member

People are idiots sometimes and when they learn they can push your buttons they will keep doing it. There are two ways to handle it when people push you around like this. Scare the bejesus out of them or act like they aren't bothering you. I tend to go for the acting like I don't care route except for once in a while when someone really pushes me. I remember one huge guy one time when I was out walking my dog came up and kicked my dog. Now I was out all alone by myself and this guy was huge and I didn't know him. But somehow I went into pure adreneline mode and instead of being scare I was pissed. So all 5 foot 5 of me got up in his face and threatened to mace him in the face. I don't even think I was carrying mace. He tried to argue with me and I just kept pushing against him screaming at him until he backed up and eventually took off running convinced I was crazy. Now that routine is a bit harder to keep up with people you live with especially when they are idiots. And it takes time to figure out how to best handle things in life. That is part of what going to college is about. What you did worked...eventually. And for your fish and yourself that is what matters. But I bet you will handle it a bit differently next time, because that is what growing and learning is all about. Thanks for sharing with us.

BTW, I would love to see all of the Kokonuts fly out there and literally scare these guys to death. They would be the ones thrashing around!

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Regular Member
I remember one huge guy one time when I was out walking my dog came up and kicked my dog.

He kicked you dog? :o I would have gotten pissed right away as well.

Drkslvr, you aren't rooming with those jerks again are you?

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  • 2 months later...
  • Regular Member

I would have acted a WHOLE different way. I guess I'm confident because I'm a bigger guy, but I'd call the police or security guard the first time. "The fish are my property and they are DAMAGING my property" I'd say ((Even though I dont think of them as things)) THEN I'd lose it, I'd attack to kill!!...umm...maybe thats more of a mental response HehHeh...heh...

No I'm not really that violent, but I would never let someone hold family, my pets ((Or my plants, I love my garden!)) as hostage to me! I'd get physical about it.

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Guest Kalei's Chubby

Wow, you shouldn't blame yourself at all. In some situations its very complicated to know what would be best to do, but you did figure it out, and along the way you tried and tried to help your goldfish the best that you could, and I bet they would be very thankful of that. I also believe that goldfish have way longer memories than just two seconds, that's just not true. If something like that were to ever happen again, I would try and get the roommates kicked out as soon as possible, throw them on the street :P lol, just joking but you get my point.

You did a great job and shouldn't feel guilty :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

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