But each time I looked at that empty bowl, my resolve strengthened. Finally, the Gods of all things Timex relented and Saturday dawned. I was at Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy's front door immediately after breakfast (Cocopuffs, this time). It had taken a few minutes of struggle to get the "mower" next door; its movement being hampered by a healthy coating of rust and the fact that the handles were level with the top of my head.
Six hours later, I finished the front yard...sort of...mostly. Mr. Kennedy said I could come back tomorrow to do the back yard. I was able to drag the wretched thing back home...just. Everything hurt and I'd lost about five pounds. As I went in to eat lunch, I didn't hear Mr. Kennedy's own mower fire up behind me next door.
Sunday afternoon I finished the back yard and Mrs. Kennedy said I did such a good job! She gave me a whole dollar! Mom said she was proud of me and we'd go to Fins and Feathers after she got home from work Monday. Now we add another adjustment to the space/time continuum; the thousands of hours between when mom says we can go to the pet store and the actual trip to get a new fish. No one understands the patience required of 8-year-olds! Well...the Dalai Lama, maybe...
Monday at school was interminable...and I got in trouble and had to stand in the corner. Mrs. Golightly felt that approximately two dozen interruptions during the morning to tell the whole class about the upcoming trip to the pet shop was a tolerable maximum. Two dozen and one, wasn't.
By the time mom parked in front of Fins and Feathers I was positively manic. Whose Idea was it to put all those stupid stop lights up, anyway?! Walking into that store was like entering the front gate at Disneyland. Immediately the ears are assaulted by squeaks and squawks and chirps and...wow! There were hundreds of aquariums(actually around 30) with millions of different kinds of fish (again, the reality was far fewer). There were birds and hamsters and even snakes! This was the coolest place ever! As I turned in a slow circle, mouth open, a man came over and introduced himself. He was Mr. Peterson and he and his wife owned the shop. Mom explained that we were there to buy a fish and about Mr. Goldfinger's recent demise. Mr. Peterson asked if we'd used dechlorinator when we'd filled Mr. Goldfinger's bowl. Mom's negative reply, accompanied by a blank expression, prompted Mr. Peterson to explain about chlorine in the water and the necessity for its removal.
Mrs. Golightl Her last name was Golightly. That name inspires funny thoughts.