We have been babysitting Sam and Sarah's five-year old goldfish while they paint their house. They hate that fish, and so it keeps living through dirty water and other abuses, because it's the only way to get even. Keep living. I plan to use this on my children.
Anyway, I love the goldfish, whose name is Fish, because Sam and Sarah have never bothered to name it. I bought the fish for Elliot and they've never forgiven me. I went right out and bought blue rocks and a little Nemo figure for one bowl and a living plant for the other bowl--Fish has two bowls--and have fed it more than I should and I speak to it, "Who's a good fish? Huh? Who's my buddy?"
Intimate stuff like that. Under my nurturing care, Fish has grown. I kid you not. Fish has grown.
Then Tom and I left for Midway without getting a fish sitter. I know. It's a tad irresponsible. I raised my children the same way, and they're still living.
I worried about Fish more than I ever worried about my children. So I emailed Sam asking him to go to our apartment building and follow someone into the secure entry and feed Fish. Our apartment was unlocked. (This is a call to all sociopaths, who might want to enter our apartment illegally and steal the sterling silver, which is in the top drawer of the small cabinet. Help yourself.)
Sam writes back and says if he has time, he will, otherwise the fish will be fine.
This is from the son who starved two finches in his bedroom.
We arrived home an hour ago to a locked door, so I'm assuming Sam fed Fish at least once while we were gone. I fed him again. "Mama's home. Don't worry," I told Fish. He smiled a cold-blooded smile.
In workshop, we discussed exploiting your family in your writing. Never change the names of the guilty, I told them. I honestly don't remember what conclusion we came to.