Sucky the Fish

One of my kids named the fish, so I might be spelling his or hers name wrong. I’m not sure. But, I do know Sucky the Fish, did live with our family for a good six months before meeting his or hers maker.

I know this because I killed Sucky. But, it was not intentional.

Several years ago Massachusetts experienced a December ice storm that knocked out power to our house, for more than a week. As soon as I saw the downed trees I called a hotel twenty miles away and rented a suite, beating about 500,000 other people to the punch. It was my finest moment.

Each evening at the hotel, after the kids were asleep, I’d dress like a line man so folks would buy me free drinks.

“Thank you, for all your good work,” strangers would say to me.

“Just doing my job,” I’d reply.

It was the best of times.

Before leaving for the hotel I drained the water in the house to prevent its pipes from freezing/bursting. I had it all figured out. The only problem was I forgot about Sucky the Fish and his or hers friends in our aquarium. What can I tell you? I’m not a pet person.

Upon power restoration I eventually led my brood back home. I entered the house first. Luckily, the kids were fighting, some sibling rivalry thing, so I saw the frozen fish tank first. Sucky and his friends in a block of ice.

“Guys, stop fighting!” I yelled. “Do me a favor go downstairs and make sure the TV is working!” The ploy bought me enough time to open the back door and hurl the entire fish tank into a snow bank.

Minutes latest the questions started.

“Where’s Sucky?”

Without hesitating I responded, “I brought Sucky back to Pet Smart so she would not freeze to death.”

“Good thinking Dad,” the oldest one said.

“She cuaght a bit of a cold, so she might be there awhile,” I added.

The brothers bought it.

A few days later the questions started. “When are we going to Pet Smart to get Sucky?”

“Sucky’s still recovering,” I’d respond.

Eventually, the questions stopped. I had won. I got away with murder, or so I thought.

Then tonight at the dinner table, out of nowhere, four plus years after the freezing of Sucky, my middle one asks, “Did you really bring Sucky the Fish to Pet Smart?”

It was a Santa Claus moment. I assessed whether my son could handle the truth and then I responded, “Of course I did. In fact, Sucky recently died of natural causes after living a long, full life.”

“That’s too bad,” he said. But, I could tell he did not believe me.

I waited for the follow-on questions to begin, but they never happened. My son is getting older. He had intentionally left me of the hook for killing Sucky the Fish.

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Meet the Forbucks

More than one reader has accused me of using a pen name to hide my true identity. I assure you this is not the case. My name is Wright Forbucks and I am proud to be Wright Forbucks. Damn proud.

My lineage can be traced to 1917 when my grandmother, Blight Murphy, a strange woman who claimed her grandparents were killed in the Potato Famine of 1846, arrived in the United States from Ireland. Shortly thereafter, at a Boston tavern noted for selling discount stale ale, Blight met my grandfather, a Scottish penny pincher named, Tight Forbucks. Tight’s first son was my dad, Flight Forbucks. Flight was an airplane mechanic; he worked for Orville Wright, my namesake. Unfortunately, my dad was injured in a propeller accident at age twenty-three, a year after marrying my Mom, Plight Forbucks, a Red Cross nurse. Growing up I never knew may dad. He lived in our house but “the accident” destroyed  the part of his brain responsible for personality, so his communication was limited to groaning. A high-pitched groan meant he needed food. A low-pitched groan meant he needed a service that led to my siblings:  my eldest sister Slight Forbucks, woman so thin she could hide behind a birch tree; my brother Bright, a MIT particle physicist;  my look-alike, Smite, a shameless defense contractor; my inane little sis Trite; and my soft-drink addicted bro Sprite.

Readers may continue to assert that Wright Forbucks and his family are fictitious. In response, I steadfastly maintain that we are as real as the sustained groan my father still emits whenever he reads one of my books 🙂

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