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A Fishy Tale - Writing of the Week


We've all heard the expression, 'a fish out of water'. Well, this week's memoir piece from Jasmine Monk is a life story 'extraordinaire'.


A Fishy Tale My sister’s goldfish ultimately didn’t die of lack of care or even old age. Maybe the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death will forever remain a mystery or even seem meaningless to some. But if you look a little closer, there might be a message in this story especially for you. After about a couple of weeks of settling into her new home – a plastic spaghetti jar – my sister’s new goldfish was officially named Miss Trippi, given that her first experience with drugs came at about the same time.

There was a party at our house in full swing. One of our friends thought it would be a funny joke to blow marijuana smoke into her spaghetti jar. So, I guess it would have been a strange Tripp for Miss Trippi when only moments later, her spaghetti jar was accidentally tipped over by a drunken guest. As she lay there, flip flopping around on the wet carpet, I ran to the kitchen tap to refill her jar.

Miss Trippi had survived her first night of horror seemingly unscathed. She couldn’t have guessed that her next few brushes with death in a sequence over several months would be a lot worse.

One evening, I walked into my sister’s bedroom to discover Miss Trippi once again a fish out of water. Our neighbour’s cat Nelly had decided Miss Trippi would make a tasty meal, so she pounced on her. Miss Trippi leapt about between Nelly’s paws, in a choreographed dance of death. I was able to intervene in the nick of time.


On another occasion, Miss Trippi was accidentally tipped into a hot bubble bath, so my sister could use her as a prop during one of her photography sessions. Yes, once again, Miss Trippi survived a dangerous situation, after I frantically scooped her up from the bubbles.

Another day, my sister returned home to find Miss Trippi lying bone dry on the carpet, inches away from her upright spaghetti jar. The heater, not far from where she lay, was turned up to high. Shocked, my sister automatically presumed Miss Trippi was dead, but followed through with her immediate reaction, to put her back in the fish water. How long she had been there was anyone’s guess, and whether she’d leapt out of her jar in an act of bravery or from darker motives, we’ll never know. To our amazement, she survived. By then, we’d grown very fond of Miss Trippi since it had become apparent she was a real fighter. No matter what life threw at her she would live to swim another day, up and down inside the jar, darting this way and that, blowing bubbles as she happily ate her fish food.

Eventually my sister decided Miss Trippi deserved a better home than a spaghetti jar.



So, there she was, Miss Trippi in her big new flash fishbowl with all the trimmings, even a little whale ornament to keep her company.

That evening, when my sister checked to see that Miss Trippi was settling into her new home, she found she was not her usual self. Almost stationary, Miss Trippi hovered beside the ornamental whale at the bottom of her fishbowl. There she stayed for three days with no change in her condition.

On the fourth day, Miss Trippi was no longer looking all mopey at the bottom of her fishbowl. She was floating at the top, struck dead.


Copyright Jasmine Monk. Photo credit Wix.

This SSOA writers' blog is made possible by grant assistance from the City of Sydney.

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