Death to Indie

This week’s Regarding Annie column is part two of my fish post. For those of you wondering how it all ended, here you go. I thought I’d cut and paste again to make the article easier to swallow.

Our fish is dead.

This is particularly sad to me since I’ve never liked fish, never wanted a fish and yet somehow managed to water bond with this surprisingly social kitchen fish.

Last year for Harrison’s sixth birthday my sweet, kind-hearted, evil sister-in-law decided to get my kid a present he would love. A fish. Yes, I kind of wanted to drown her, but when I realized how happy my kids were to have a pet, I got over it.

For the past year, Indie has become more my pet than anyone’s. He sits right next to the kitchen sink and does swimming tricks each week when I do the dishes.

But last week something happened and the fish lost his ability to swim, eat or converse with me. It might have had something to do with the fact that I came into the kitchen and found the lid off the tank and my two-year-old elbow-deep in Fish Land, but I spun it to her brothers as a circle of life thing.

I let this poor fish float around the top of his bowl for four miserable dish-free days, trying to ignore the fact that he wasn’t playing dead, this was for real. Finally Jason decided to set me straight.

“You need to flush the fish.”

“What? He’s not dead, look, his left fin still flutters when I tap the glass!”

“Yeah, you need to flush the fish.”

What to do? Do I tell the kids that their fish is almost dead and we’re going to put him out of his misery? Do we flush him when he’s still alive and remind them of Nemo’s “all drains lead to the ocean” example? It was time to take action, besides, I couldn’t stand watching him gag around in his tank, all wet and sick.

“Harrison,” I said, “I think it’s time to send Indie to the ocean.”


“Well, his tank is making him sick, I think he’ll feel way better and be much happier if he has more room to swim.” Technically this could have been the truth. I’m sure he would have been happier, in his younger months, with more room to swim.

“Is Indie going to die?” Harrison asked with a mildly curious and not particularly sad expression.

“Well, I’m sure he’ll die someday,” like in the next three minutes, “but he’s sick so we’ve got to set him free and let him out of his bowl.”

“Cool!” Not really the reaction I was looking for.

We marched into the bathroom and with very little ceremony (since he wasn’t dead yet), and after a pre-flush to make sure he had fresh sewer water to die in, I prepared myself to dump in the fish.

Of course, right before we flushed him, he tried hard to show me that he wasn’t dead yet, that he still had a few strokes left in him. Also he could have been having a seizure.

I held my breath, lifted the tank, and we sent our fish to that big swirly in the sky.

That’s when it hit Harrison. He pulled up a stool, closed the lid, and draped himself over the toilet to properly mourn. Seventeen seconds later he got out paper and crayons and drew a lovely picture that I like to call, ”The Flushing of Indie.”

Farewell, fine fish. Thank goodness you’re irreplaceable.”


  1. Sounds like his grieving process lasted 2 seconds.

  2. It’s Monty Python all over again: “If you put me down, I think I could walk!”

    I’m sorry Indie’s … umm … liberated now. Believe it or not (particularly in light of my uber helpful comment on chapter one of this saga) I, too, have bonded with a fish from time to time. They really do have different personalities. I’m pretty sure one of them wanted to be my boyfriend; every time I came into the room he turned around and wagged his tail fin at me.

    Come to think of it, that’s showing more class than half the guys I dated.

  3. Annie, so sorry for your loss. I am actually fascinated that he bonded with you. That’s pretty cool.

  4. So glad that your son immortalized the event on paper for you. =D That’s the true way. That’s the right way. It’s what Indie would have wanted.

  5. “Each week when I do the dishes” – You’re an overachiever, sista.

  6. Sounds like a lovely ceremony:) Do you still want to meet for lunch when I’m in Provo? I’ll be there Thursday. I’m staying at the Provo Marriott for the Storymakers Writing Conference and won’t have a car, so I was wondering, if you do want to do lunch, do you know of a place around the hotel? I’d love to meet you, if possible. My husband laughs at me every time I mention I might get to meet you and says I sound like I’m drooling or star struck or something. If we do get together, and I do have a little drool on my chin, please don’t tell him! Ha!

  7. Every time I do the dishes I’ll think of you.

    Every time I flush the toilet, I’ll think of Indie…