Tahlia stood at the edge of the fountain, peering at the multicolored shapes in the water. She’d seen the sign, and flipped through the brochure. She couldn’t quite put her finger on why she wanted to take home a goldfish or two, only that she was taking it seriously enough to pull out her phone, and send a quick text, along with a picture of the fountain.
Text to Puddin:Hey Puddin, how do I tell if these are normal fish? I was thinking about bringing a few home.
While she waited for a response, she took a handful of food, and sprinkled it into the water. The resulting frenzy made her laugh, and sprinkle more a little bit away. She was fairly certain they weren’t dangerous at all, but then, she’d never thought Eddie would turn into a giant leopard seal.
Eddie was enjoying a latte with extra whip cream and two cherries that he’d managed to pay for with the right kind of smile and wink when the text came. He pulled the phone free of his back pocket and opened to Tahlia’s message. “Fish?” He tapped on the image and zoomed in on the image before chuckling.
Text to Pumpkin Pie: It’s all in the eyes, babe. If they look like they’re staring at you and making plans, I’d be suspicious. Still I think those are freshwater fish, and at their biggest won’t get too much larger than my hand.
Text to Pumpkin Pie: Why do you ask?
He set the phone down on the table next to him. He’d just had the car detailed, that was a sure fire sign that something stupid would happen which would spill his drink and that was unacceptable.
Her back pocket let out a burst of sound that caused even the hungry fish to scatter, and the tiny blonde tugged the case out and thumbed open the message with a smirk. Cocking a hip against one of the tables, she set down the brochure, and peered suspiciously at the aquatic creatures. Trying to figure out if they were staring at her, or looking particularly conniving. Those tiny little faces were hard to read. Straightening up again, she chewed on her bottom lip as she typed.
Text to Puddin:I dunno. Your hands are kinda big. And they all look a little dead-eyed and shifty. How am I supposed to tell if they’re staring at me?
Text to Puddin:They’re pretty. But I don’t want to bring midget Mer spies into the house!
Tucking the phone away again, she decided to walk over to one of the carts that seemed to spring up as soon as it was warm. All this talk of fish was making her thirsty.
Eddie read the next text, and he could see Tahlia’s point. Most fish did have that shifty look to them. He thought about another way that she could tell before typing off a message.
Text to Pumpkin Pie: I’m sure there’s some nice fish in there. I can’t tell you about the crafty ones, they’re probably hiding. They are small though, and they’re hiding for a reason. You might be able to scare them away by making scary faces when they least suspect it.
He hit the send button and sat back to enjoy more of his latte, the phone went back on the table for now.
It took her a moment to juggle handing cash to the barista, and her iced cappuccino, so the unsubtle tones of Eddie’s theme song rang out and repeated before she managed to get a hand on the phone. Thankfully, she hadn’t taken a sip yet, otherwise the poor attendant would have been wearing her drink. Tahlia glanced over at the fountain, and read the text again.
Text to Puddin: I’m not making faces at fish. Every time the phone goes off they scatter! They’ll think I’m planning to eat them, and then the crafty ones will come out just so they can turn into tiny ninjas and kill us in our sleep.
Text to Puddin: Wait...if I bring them home, you’re not going to get snacky and eat them, are you? You can’t eat them if I get nice fish.
Message sent, she reclaimed her drink and went back to the fish. Idly, she flipped through the brochure...she was going to need supplies.
Faces would have been the easiest way to tell, scattering at the ringtone didn’t prove they were normal or abnormal. It just meant that everyone knew to get out of Eddie’s way. He got another idea that might work and started to send that message along.
Text to Pumpkin Pie: I have something, the uhm… abnormal fish will instinctively know things. You should just lean down in front of them and proclaim that you’re Misery Woe. The normal fish will stick around because they don’t know about that kind of thing.
Send. Eddie sipped at his drink a little more, but he hung onto the phone this time believing that Tahlia was going to text right back again.
He wasn’t wrong. Sitting on the edge of the fountain, phone in front of her, and drink in hand, she’d at least managed a few sips before his answer. She’d been at least half joking, and shrugged, leaning over the water to whisper the words. It didn’t seem to have any effect at all. Sighing, she looked over the fish again, and dabbled a hand in the water.
Text to Puddin: If they’re midget Mer, they’re REALLY crafty. No response. I’m just going to pick out two and bring them home. If they crawl out and try to kill us, you get to be the bad guy.
She didn’t get up quite yet, since she didn’t want to be mid-scoop when he answered her. She’d already decided which two - one was a little larger, with orange and black splashes, and the smaller, pale goldfish that never seemed terribly far from it.
Text to Pumpkin Pie: No Subject MMS
When Tahlia would get that text she’d find a short video recording of a vaguely familiar blonde woman as she bent over and talked to the fish. Eddie took a final sip of his latte and waited for her to figure out what table he was sitting at. On the table in front of him were two more fish, one broad tailed and purple, the other white. He might have on the cockiest of grins.