Maybe one day I will open up an aquarium called Thalassic Park. It would be just like any other conservation research aquarium, except if you’re found abusing or annoying an animal you get thrown into the shark tank. It would save us money on food and provide an accountability system for that sort of thing.
It probably wouldn’t work in the long run. I would probably end up getting charged with something like “murder” and I have no desire to shell out money for a lawyer. More importantly, I don’t like the idea of forcing sharks to live in tanks. Keeping such beautiful creatures locked up seems unnatural and cruel.
I work in a pet store. Its a good pet store where we sell nice food and brightly coloured toys and all of our dogs and cats come from the SPCA. We have a few birds in cages, which feels strange and wrong, but we let them out every day and feed them fruit as they chirp happily on our shoulders. We keep a few mice and a few rats but they usually end up going home to someone with a hungry snake.
I am not the world’s most driven retail worker. I spend a lot of time looking at the fish. We have goldfish of all sizes, neons, angelfish, plecos, gouramis. We even have a salt water tank with beautiful coral and clownfish. Each tank is its own ecosystem, a carefully maintained balance of biology designed to sustain pelagic life. Day after day, the creatures in the tank swim around and around, fighting over food and occasionally over the contents of a fallen comrade’s stomach. Swimming, floating, lazily gazing back at me with bulging eyes that tell me nothing. What must they think of me, if anything at all? Are they aware of the aquatic prison that keeps them alive?
Some days I fantasize about capturing all of the fish and driving them to the sea. We would sit on the beach, staring at the waves. I would be surrounded by dozens of bags half-full with water, the occupants of which gulp and gaze longingly at the tides. We’d finally have some common ground to come together on, the fish and I. All of us would sit in the sand, contemplating the sea, wishing we would never have to leave.
I never really considered what might happen after this fantasy situation, but I imagine I would be forced to gather up the bags, give them away to local folk with aquariums and drive back to Montreal knowing that I would probably have to find a new job after pulling that sort of heist.