A few years ago, I sauntered into the giant pet mega store in Union Square, in hopes to find an adorable new beta fish to adopt.
As a Pisces I have found that watching fish swim is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable things for me to do (aside from eating them in sushi).
As I made my way down aisle 6B, over fifty tiny circular containers filled with water came into view. Each held a tiny colorful beta fish hoping to be my new pet.
It was very sad to see these flamboyant little creatures trying to move about in 4x4 inch containers, and I couldn’t wait to rescue one.
Choosing my new floating friend proved to take more time than I had originally anticipated. So many of the betas looked like they were near death that I had to sort though the elderly and find an energetic and spry youngster.
My two tests to find out who wanted to come home with me (and which I highly recommend to all future Beta fish buyers) are as follows:
I stand in front of all of the potentials, and shout “WHO WANTS TO COME HOME WITH ME!!!!!!?” Oprah style- and then wait for the most energetic reaction.
In this case one little blue male beta fish started swimming in circles frantically, and a red and pink female fish also swam gracefully to attention.
I pulled the two containers out and placed them next to each other for the dramatic finale vote.
Test two consisted of moving my fingers back and forth in front of the two finalists, to see who had the best response.
The blue fish wanted to be adopted by me so badly that his fins flapped to and fro like Fosse jazz hands on speed.
This fully confirmed my decision that I wanted be his new mom and fag hag.
I grabbed the container holding my new fabulous best friend and paid the cashier $4.95.
I got on the subway holding him in my lap my entire ride back to Brooklyn, hoping he wouldn’t get a concussion from the train stopping to quickly.
Once we were both home safe and sound back in my Bed Stuy apartment I moved him into his new fishbowl.
It must have felt like a mansion compared to that tiny and horrible plastic Petco purgatory he had been trapped in.
After taking an evening of one on one bonding time, I decided to name my new fish Valentino Liberace. He was the fiercest, gayest fish I had ever met so the name seemed fitting.
Valentino Liberace resided happily in a large glass fish bowl on my nightstand for the next two years.
Every morning when I woke up, he swam to my bedside, flipping his fins and spinning in circles to say good morning.
When I got home in the evening he would respond with fishy jumps, and back flips to greet me. He was truly the most fun, excitable and responsive fish I had ever encountered.
When May of 2010 came it was time for us both to make a big move into my boyfriend’s apartment.
Valentino’s bedside spot was quickly replaced by my boyfriend and though he missed living next to my bed, he took a new spot a few feet away on the same nightstand.
My boyfriend quickly became his adopted Dad, and tried to win his approval by buying him a new environment which included a fabulous pink flower and gravel.
Valentino approved and swam excitedly about his new digs with jazz fins.
A few months later my fabulous diva of a fish started to fade away.
He started sadly floating about and was not able to do jazz fins quite as well as he used to.
Then, on a Saturday morning in September, I woke to find Valentino sunk to the bottom of his pink gravel palace. My adorable little friend had finally passed on into Pisces heaven.
I quickly decided that Valentino Liberace had been much too fierce and fabulous to be flushed down the toilet upon death.
I Sifting through my closet, and found a Tiffany &Co little blue box which I decided would be perfect to use as his coffin.
I filled the cushioned box with rainbow bugle beads and sequins to make his final resting place as fierce as he was.
My boyfriend lifted him out of the fishbowl and placed him into the small sparkling box.
I taped it up and transported him lovingly to his burial at sea.
We Drove down to the Brooklyn Heights Pier in our car/hearse, with Valentino in his Tiffany coffin riding on the dashboard.
I stepped out of the car and carried him to the waterfront, where I dramatically tossed the box into the East river underneath the Brooklyn Bridge.
As the waves came, Valentino floated away with a stunning view of the New York City Skyline for all his fishy eternity. I felt as though I had done his life justice with this fabulous burial, and somewhere in fish heaven he was swimming happily in circles doing jazz fins.
I'm certain that sometime in the near future a Tiffany Box will washed ashore, and an excited New Yorker will opened it hoping for jewelry, only to find the most fabulously entombed beta fish ever.