To Aries, Magnanimous, unconquered, boisterous Aries,

by mollykl

I named my Betta fish, ill-gotten from a company work party “secret-santa gift exchange”, Aries.  Not after my zodiac sign, which appropriately enough is Aries, but after the God of War.  I will say right off the bat that when C approached me with said gift, I’m pretty sure my expression gave away every thought in my head, none of which are printable. It took me about two days, and if it’s possible to fall in love with a fish with a life expectancy of precisely two hours before you took him home, then I did.

Unfortunately, human beings need vacations. Worried about Aries, I asked M at work to take care of him while I was gone, which she did admirably well. She even talked to him (although she was probably just giving him a list of people he could make hay out of).  But that office got pretty hot, and when I returned Aries was sluggish, not his usual full-of-fight self, and had what looked like a nasty scale infection. It’s been a while, and try as I might Aries got worse, and one morning I found him floating on his side. As soon as I turned the kitchen light one he righted himself, but with difficulty.  And then one morning he jumped right out of his bowl and I had to scramble to get him back in. I was convinced every morning that I’d come out to find him dead, and actually broken down crying at work (and poor M from corporate was there at the time and still doesn’t know what to think).

But two days ago he started gobbling down his food again, and the infection started going away. And he started swimming around again, and coming to the edge of the bowl whenever I’d peer in at him. This morning the infection is almost completely gone and his scales are back to their beautiful dark blue color. It’s ridiculous how happy this makes me.

Aries the Greek God of War, not the one residing in my kitchen. Artist's rendering.

The Care and Feeding of Aries, the Greek God of War.

Contrary to public opinion, the Greek God of War is not hard to handle. All he really requires is a small pinch of food two or three times a day. He should be given as much as he can eat in five minutes. How’s that for random? Just give him a pinch and see how he does. The bag of food provided with said God of War has lasted me since that fated Christmas party where I took home a strange guy (he was small and blue and liked to fight), so that should give you an idea of how little he really needs. Feed him when you come in the morning and right before you leave for the day.

If you can manage it, you’re welcome to start a small war, just to make him feel at home. “Police actions” also work, but “conflicts” do not (they’re the equivalent of fat free milk to a God of War).

Any affection you choose to dispense is, of course, at your discretion. I like to wriggle my fingers at him and coo, “Who’s a good little God of War?”, although I’m not completely sure he’s not planning my demise every time I do.