“Did you see the item on the news last night about –” Cliff Murray started to ask the other morning at Mabel’s Grill, but George McKenzie interrupted him.
“I don’t watch the news at night anymore,” he said. “I find it hard enough to sleep as it is without getting depressed before I go to bed.”
“I know what you mean,” said Molly Whiteside as she filled his coffee cup. “I mean if it’s not wildfires its floods and hurricanes.”
“Not to mention whatever insanity Donald Trump’s been up to that day,” added Dave Winston.
“Yeah, it’s all scarier than the balance on my line of credit before I sell my corn,” said George.
“It’s scarier than my son’s report card!” said Molly.
“And they’re coming up with terrifying new threats every day!” said Dave.
“Yeah, how about goldfish?” asked Cliff.
“Goldfish?” wondered George.
“Yeah they had this item on the news the other day that the Great Lakes are being taken over by goldfish.”
“You’re pulling my leg!” said Dave.
“No, apparently there are 50 million goldfish in Lake Ontario alone.,” said Cliff.
“Yeah, but even if there are 50 million of them, what harm can they really do,” said Molly. “I mean they’re still tiny little things.”
“Oh no, I’ve seen goldfish that grow to a foot or two long,” said George.
“And apparently they’re eating all the food the other animals and fish need,” said Cliff. “They say the numbers of frogs, fish, turtles and salamanders are declining.”
“How’d they get there in the first place?” wondered Molly.
“Apparently people think they’re giving them their freedom by flushing them down the drain. And those little suckers breed twice a year!” said Cliff.
“I’ve never had to get rid of a live goldfish,” said Molly. “The kids or the cat kill them all off long before it ever comes to that.”
“So what are you supposed to do if you have goldfish you want to get rid of?” wondered Dave.
“Remember way back in the thirties they used to have goldfish swallowing contests?” said George. “Maybe they can bring those back.”
“Oh I’m sure that would go over well with the animal welfare advocates!” said Dave.
“Yeah but how’d you like to be a goldfish that gets flushed down the toilet and have to go through the sewage treatment system?” said Mabel who had joined the conversation when things got slow in the kitchen. “I can’t imagine any animal welfare person would give you a medal for putting a fish through that, either.”
“Maybe you can do your part to solve the problem, Mabel,” said Dave. “I mean you’d have a unique look for your fish and chips if you used goldfish.”
“Goldfish are carp!” said George. “How many customers want to eat carp?”
“I still can’t over that number” said Molly. “I mean even though they are reproducing, there still must have been an awful lot of people flushing their fish away.”
“People!” said Mabel, “They just don’t think! I mean it’s like that island over in Greece where they shot the Mama Mia! movies. Now they’ve got all these movie fans going there to see things like the beach that was in the movie.”
“Isn’t that a good thing?” Molly wondered.
“Yeah, except so many of them are taking home pebbles from the beach as souvenirs that the locals are worried they’ll lose their beach.”
“Hey, maybe we could persuade tourists to take home goldfish!” said Dave.
“We’d have to make them famous in a movie,” said Molly.
“Now see there’s the first flaw,” said Cliff. “If it was a Canadian movie you’d be lucky to get 50 people see it, let alone 50 million!”◊