Goldfish, Gabriela Williams

Today my sister swallowed a goldfish.


She did it because Mom wouldn’t let her take Enrique to school for show and tell. Tess threw a tantrum, then glub glub glub— swallowed Enrique whole.

Tess has a sensitive stomach. I remember we’d go to Costco back when Mom couldn’t really afford to feed us right before payday. We’d go, and have samples for dinner. But there were these fish sticks once, amd Tess had a hundred of them. Then she got it into her head that they tasted like the ocean, all brine and salt and burning her tongue, and she puked her guts out. Puked them out right there in the seasonal aisle.


But Enrique was not from the ocean, so he must not have tasted like it. He was from the pet store on Linus Street that went out of business last month. So when Tess swallowed him, she didn’t throw up. In fact, she was perfectly okay, and that’s what got Mom worried.


Mom took Tess to the doctor. He did all these tests and looked down her throat and stuff, but in the end he just told Tess that she should drink lots of water, so Enrique wouldn’t die.


I was watching reruns of “I Love Lucy” instead of doing homework when they got home. Tess ran straight to the kitchen and drank down all the water from Enrique’s old fishbowl. Mom was telling me to turn down the volume when Tess yelled. I thought it was the start of the puking.


But it wasn’t, because there was Tess, sitting on the kitchen floor with her Winnie the Pooh shirt pulled up and her tummy showing. And there was Enrique, swimming around and around inside.

Found in Volume VIII (2009-2010)

 

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