Posted by September Blue Sunday, 6 January 2008

This is Moby.

"No pictures! No pictures!"

Excuse him - he's camera-shy.

I did have three goldfish, but moving house twice in four weeks didn't suit them, and thus they died. I tell you this because nobody else believes me. Everyone who's seen Moby in person is convinced he ate them. This is is slander and lies - Moby is as sweet as a ringletted toddler eating candy-floss - but I can sort of see their point. You can't quite tell from the photo, but Moby is, well, let's just say, quite big. Really big. And it's all muscle, too. Believe me, that tail-fluke could kill a man.

Moby started out tiny and very cheap. I know, I know, you probably shouldn't buy cheap goldfish from petshops because they're all diseased and violent and will break as soon as the warranty runs out, or something, but I couldn't afford the huge tank of tropical fish I wanted, so I walked past all the tanks marked with things like "Disco Eel - £59.99" and "Perpugilliam Fighting Fish - £99.50 the pair, KEEP THEM IN SEPARATE AQUARIA AND DON'T SUE US WHEN THEY EAT YOUR DOG" and stopped at a huge vat with a sad-looking label saying "Goldfish - £5.99 £3.99 £1.99 ea." Surprisingly, or maybe not, Moby's deceased former tank-mates came with more prestigious pedigrees.

That was two years ago, and since then he's grown, and grown, and grown. People keep telling me they grow to the size of the tank, but nobody knows what this actually means - is he going to end up two foot long with square corners? Should I start keeping him in the bath? I tried to convince my mother to take him for her pond, but she doesn't want her fancy-fins koi mixing with company like Moby.

He's also the only pet I have, not counting assorted furry and finned things that live with parents. This is unusual. I used to have a bad habit of buying pets to cheer myself up - goldfish, gerbils, more gerbils, the jird I smuggled into university residences that time, a Chinese hamster named Ezekiel, and a bunch more goldfish named after all the characters in the Oresteia who - ha, you'll never see this one coming - all died. These days, I only have Moby, who now has a tank to himself. (As you've probably gathered, he's a bit too big to share.) Maybe I'm much less miserable these days, or maybe I'm an older and wiser person, or maybe I've finally got a landlord who's really not kidding about the no-pets-bar-goldfish policy. I'm still not sure, but Moby and me, we're okay with that.