Ron Menchey
John Erdman May 2002

The screen brightens to reveal a handsome young man in bell bottoms and mutton-chop sideburns eagerly examining tank after tank of bizarre looking fish. A subtitle pops up reading 1971. The young man smiles at the obviously proud owner of the many fish tanks.

'Hey, man, what do you call those goofy looking, flat, round things called?'

'Those? They are called discus, Ronny. Aren't they funky, man?'

The young man, Ronny, nods, 'I've never seen anything so weird looking. I've got some tropicals at home, but nothing like that! Can you get me some of them?'

The knowledgeable hobbyist laughs, 'Sure, man, but they'll set you back $100 each.'

Ron swallows. 'That's a lot of green, but I just started a new job...'

(Fade out)

Flash forward to a brightly lit room several weeks later. The young man is sitting in front of two well appointed 55 gallon aquariums stocked heavily with fish. They have several inches of funky orange 70s gravel, a rock background and the signs of undergravel filter uplifts are evident in the back of the tank. 7 large brown discus fish swim lazily about each tank, along with angel fish, black knife fish, a number of mollies and algae eaters. Ron seems very happy and is enjoying watching the fish. A beautiful young woman, obviously Ron's wife, enters and sits in his lap.

'Nice tanks, Ron! It seemed pretty easy for you to set them up. You didn't have any problems?'

Ron shrugs. 'Nope. It's easy. You just dump in the gravel on top of the filter, add water and you're ready to go! I got the fish this morning and dropped them in. Oh yeah, I forgot - I had to set the heater and get the temperature up to 77 degrees, they are tropical fish, after all!'

'You seem happy. Still, that's a lot of money to spend on fish…'

'Don't worry, my bride, I know what I'm doing. When we get back from vacation, I may buy a few more...'

(Fade out to theme from Jaws)

Flash forward. Ron and wife enter the fish room with Samsonite luggage bags, obviously just returned from vacation. Ron walks over to the fish tanks (Shower scene music from Psycho plays loudly!).

'Oh my God!' Ron rushes from the room, holding his mouth as if to avoid throwing up.

Close-up on tanks - 14 dead discus float at the top, bloated and decomposing. From the other room an anguished voice cries out:

'That's it! I'll never keep fish again!'

(Fade to black - scroll THE END across the screen)


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