There once was a vampire who worked in an office. Of course, as one would assume, he despised working in the mornings with that god-awful sun lighting up the sky, but even vampires have to pay bills. He always kept the blinds tightly shut and did his best work with a desk fan blowing softly on his face. His office space was located way in the back of a larger office, and he liked it that way. But one day, this vampire realized he was kind of lonely, so he bought himself a beautiful goldfish. He had never had a friend, let alone a pet to call his very own. He bought a fish bowl for his new fish because that’s where you put a pet fish. You put it in a bowl. He put the bowl on top of his mini-fridge, whose contents consisted of a jar of Miracle Whip, 3 Kikoman soy sauce packets, and a wrinkly orange. There sat the bowl. The perfectly spherical, glass bowl, the water and the fish. He bid the fish goodnight when he left at 5 pm, and exclaimed a cheery “Hello, Fish!” in the morning upon his arrival. This made the vampire feel good. He had someone he could talk to, someone he could care for, someone who felt like a friend.
But after a week, or maybe two, the vampire’s work began piling up and he became cantankerous and discontented. He no longer paid any attention to the fish, and was only reminded of his existence when his phone alarm went off every day at the same time, to remind him to feed the pet fish. He would begrudgingly push aside the binders piled up on the floor and drop a pinch of TetraFin flakes into the bowl, grumbling under his breath about the good-for-nothing fish and his good-for-nothing fish food.
The fish began to sense that he was all alone in the world. There was nothing in his bowl but cloudy water and a few specs of debris. No castle, no plastic seaweed, no rocks. He would let himself sink to the bottom of the bowl and lay there perfectly still, thinking that this strange behavior might get the vampire’s attention. It did not. Then he played dead on the top of the water thinking that this, definitely, would get the vampire’s attention. But, alas, it did not. He tried staging a disappearing act by placing his body in a spot that made him invisible if one looked right into the bowl. He was convinced this would work. He’ll think I’ve somehow jumped ship and dived to my imminent death and he’ll feel bad that he didn’t care about me when I was alive and then he’ll love me again when he realizes I’m still here and he’ll say he’s sorry and that he’ll never ignore me or take me for granted again. But this did not fool the vampire, who was smart enough to know that the fish would never propel himself out of the bowl.
After attempting every attention-getting scheme he could possibly think of, the sad fish simply gave up. He didn’t look longingly at the vampire when he walked by anymore. He stopped eating, and food flakes began to gather like confetti at the bottom of his bowl as if he had thrown himself a party to which nobody came. Eventually, the sadness and loneliness swallowed him up and sucked what life he had left in him away. His body lay limp at the edge of the bowl.
The alarm rang. ‘Damn fish,’ griped the vampire as he launched his rolly chair out from his desk with his bony little legs and grabbed the food container. He pinched some flakes between his index finger and thumb and hastily dropped them in the bowl. “Shit,” he said, “I really gotta clean up these binders.”
A couple days later, the vampire finally made the astute observation that the water in the bowl had gotten awfully murky. “Damn fish,” he complained as he prepared to switch out the old water for new. That’s when he noticed that the fish was not moving, and decided that the fish was dead. The vampire felt relieved that he did not have to change the water, and promptly carried the bowl to the men’s restroom, where he poured the sad, lifeless fish, along with the murky water and flakes of soggy fish food, into the toilet. “Swooossssh,” went the toilet. “Bye-bye, fish,” said the impervious vampire.
After work that day, the vampire went straight to the Wet Spot Tropical Fish Store and bought himself a brand-new, brightly colored fish. The next morning he brought the colorful fish to work in a plastic bag and showed the fish where he’d spend the rest of his lonesome, bored-to-death days. “Here’s your new home!” exclaimed the vampire as the new fish stared blankly, its fins gently rippling. The vampire felt a rush of optimism. He had a friend again. ‘Life is good,’ he thought as he poured the fish and water into the desolate bowl. ‘Life is good.’