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Updated: Dec 14, 2018

By Hailey Schmidt

Two years ago, a group of seniors donated a used fish tank and supplies to Mr. Richard’s classroom. The years that followed have been rife with fish-related incidents, and some might question why we trusted this man with living animals in the first place.

Until recently, Mr. Richard’s fish have lived in a quasi-hospitable environment. Last winter, after a hiatus, the decision was made to repopulate the tank. After a few hiccups, the survivors emerged: Ograbme, The Little Magician, a goldfish called Biggie Smalls, and a pair of guppies: Hamilton and Burr.

Fish in harmony

For months, this motley crew has weathered the trials and tribulations of living in a high school classroom. Through the spring, summer vacation, and the cold winds of fall they endured. That is, until two weeks ago.

After Thanksgiving break, I must admit that I walked into room 1054 with more than a little trepidation. It was the first long break of the year, and I had no idea how they had fared. But my fears were assuaged when Mr. Richard informed me that he had come in over break to feed the fish, that he had walked in that morning and seen all of them there. I decided to add some new water to the tank and noticed that it smelled a little off, but I ignored it as I went about my business. Mr. Richard had said everything was alright.

He was wrong. As I poured in the new water, I noticed something dark moving in the current.

“Mr. Richard,” I asked. “Are you sure you saw all the fish this morning?”

File photo of Hamilton, circa July 2018

“Yes,” he replied. “All four!”


Oh no.

I bent down and saw the chewed-up husk of Hamilton floating towards the surface. He was dead. Cannibalized as well, by the look of it. The first casualty in over ten months.

So how had he died? Had he starved? Gotten too old? Been ganged up on by the goldfish to set an example? We’ll never know for sure, but this seems to be a dark omen for the coming months.

Upon this discovery, Mr. Richard stated, “I didn’t even know we had a fifth fish.”

He declined to comment further when pressed.

"I didn't even know we had a fifth fish."

Something fishy is going on in room 1054. And I, Hailey Schmidt, will be here to report it.


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