• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 08

Just Watching

I like to sit on the sofa in front of the tank and watch the tail's movements and the play of the lights on the surface of the glittering scales when she moves it. Sometimes the sparkling seems less intense and I believe it is because of the salt. The absence of salt, to be exact. I guess it is hard to keep the salinity at the right percentage, even in a professional aquarium it probably would be. When I notice a dullness, I buy a package of sea salt on my way there and pour it into the little free square on top. I have no idea if she is thankful for that. I avoid eye contact. Looking into her face just makes her gesticulate angrily and I don’t want to get involved in anything I might regret later. My position is precarious enough without adding a robbery of my employers to the list. No one’s job is safe these days. Though, some might say it isn’t a robbery but aiding in an escape. According to the law it’s robbery though and I’m a law-abiding citizen or I like to think of me as one. And so, I pour salt into her tank whenever it seems the right thing to do. Once I even bought a fish for her to play with. Five minutes later, sitting in front of the tank I have to watch her catch it and eat it alive. Her grinning, sharp-toothed mouth looked rather malicious. That’s what I call ungrateful. I have never done it again. I wondered afterwards if they feed her at all. Probably not regularly, judging from what I saw. But according to science her kind is rather resilient and they can survive without food for weeks. She gets thin, though. In a heated tank this shouldn’t be a problem and I prefer them thin and slightly bony.

I like to sneak up on her just to see what she does when she thinks no one is watching her. She floats around a lot, eyes closed, arms crossed. Maybe she is mediating. She is not sleeping, that’s for sure. The minute I step into the light, she opens her eyes and stares at me. I can’t figure out how she knows. I can walk extremely quietly, “like an Iroquois” my parents used to say. I used to sneak up on my parents, but in this creepy way.


Just Watching

I can visit the tank whenever I want. It is one of the perks of this job. Obviously, I took it because of the money. But I stay because of her.