Ah! Got your attention with the title! And it's not what you think...*wink* *wink*!
This is for you, MummaCass! I hope I did justice to it!
"Yes Buddy?" Hotch was attempting a new dish for dinner; sloppy joes.
And they were sloppy.
"Can I have some Kleenex?" Jack asked, he was eyeing the mess of orangy globs surrounding the pan.
"Yeah, it's in daddy's bathroom." Hotch was distracted as he tried to clean up the mess and keeping an eye on the pan that for once, he didn't ask Jack the purpose.
Fifteen minutes later, Hotch called for his son; dinner was ready.
"Mmmm, I like this, daddy." Jack said, wearing sauce around his face as he happily munched on his dinner.
"You know what? It is good." Hotch proudly said as he took another bite, careful to not look like Jack's face.
As he wiped his mouth with a napkin, he remembered his son's strange request and asked him about it.
"I want to clean Edward's bowl," Jack was talking about the goldfish bowl and its inhabitant. It was a birthday gift from his Aunt Jessica.
Hotch nodded, proud of his son taking responsibility in caring for his very first pet.
"I cannot pick up the bowl. Too heavy and I use tissues and I put them inside so water goes into the tissue."
Speechless, Hotch couldn't help but asked, just to make sure he had heard correctly, "You mean you put tissues into the fishbowl, so it will soak up the water?"
Jack nodded cheerfully as he swung his legs under the table, proud that he had thought of it.
"What happened?" his father asked, his face was still in shock.
"I left it there. Maybe the tissues can get all the water into it."
"Where is Edward?" Hotch asked after the goldfish.
"He is still in the bowl."
"Oh…cra…" he stopped short of cussing and corrected quickly, "cracker jack!"
Hotch dashed quickly into Jack's bedroom and saw the goldfish bowl. It was filled completely to the top with soaked tissues. There was no sign of the goldfish.
Walking quickly to the bowl, he moved it around and saw Edward. The fish was squished, pressed between the wet tissues and the glass bowl.
He stared at the fish, hoping to see it breathing but nothing. The fish did not jerk or its mouth moving.
Edward was dead.
"Daddy?" Hotch turned to see Jack standing beside him. "Oh…" he spotted his fish.
Hotch nodded, "Yeah buddy. Edward is dead. I think you shouldn't use tissues to clean the bowl. Let daddy do it, okay?"
Jack nodded. "Can I have another Edward?"
Hotch studied his son.
No, there was no sign of trauma. He realized his son was not affected by the fish's death.
Then again, they had the fish for just two days. Not long enough to form a closer attachment.
He was tempted to say no, that he was still too young to care for an animal or fish.
But he looked at his son and found he couldn't say no to him, not with those big eyes.
"Okay. But we're going to have to learn how to take care of it, okay?"
Jack nodded enthusiastically.
As the next day was a Saturday, a day off for Hotch, he was able to take his son to the pet store.
An hour and a half later, they came out with a bag of one goldfish.
Jack had changed his mind and wanted a hamster, rabbit, guinea pig, ferret, frog, and a bird but each time, Hotch adamantly said no to him. He insisted on keeping to their original agenda; a goldfish. It was less complicating to take care of.
As soon as the new goldfish was settled into his new habitat, Hotch wondered if it could sense that this used to be home to another kin of his.
Shaking off his morbid thoughts, he turned to look at Jack, "So did you think of a new name?"
Jack answered, "Edward."
"But that was the other goldfish's name."
Jack shook his head, "I want to name him Edward." He pointed to the oblivious goldfish.
Well, it is his fish, he could name it whatever he wants, Hotch thought.
Welcome to the Hotchners, Edward II, thought Hotch. He hoped this one would last longer than 2 days.
"Okay buddy. Now, remember if the bowl needs cleaning, what do you do?"
Jack nodded, "To get you to clean it."
"That's right. Okay, how about a snack and juice?"
Jack smiled, "Yes, please."
After he had his snack and his favorite lemonade drink, Jack laid down for a nap. Hotch decided to check on his emails before he sat down to tackle a stack of reports he'd brought home.
That was two hours ago.
"Daddy?" Jack was up from his nap.
"Hey buddy! Good nap?" Hotch asked as he put his pen down and stretched.
Jack nodded but he looked worried.
Hotch saw that and asked, "What's going on?"
Alarmed, Hotch asked, "What about Edward?"
"He's not swimming." Jack said, deadpanned.
Standing up, Hotch sighed. "Let's go see."
Hotch walked to Jack's room and looked at the bowl. It was yellowy and Edward II was floating on the surface. Upside down.
"Why is the water yellow?" He had to ask.
"I don't know." Jack shrugged his shoulder.
It was then Hotch spotted Jack's glass of lemonade he was permitted to have in his room. It was emptied.
Here we go again…
"Jack, did you poured your lemonade into the bowl?"
His son nodded, "Uh huh."
Why God did invented children? Hotch sighed.
"Why?" he looked at his son, looking so innocent.
"'Cause he was thirsty." Jack reasoned.
"Thirsty?" Hotch asked in disbelief.
Hotch rubbed his face, "Jack…fish don't get thirsty. They lived in water."
"But I thought water is yucky and I want him to try lemonade."
Why me? Hotch looked up at the ceiling.
"Daddy?" Jack was tugging on his father's slacks.
"Yeah buddy?" Hotch closed his eyes for a moment; he couldn't help but really wonder what else?
"Can I have another fish? I'll really take care of it." Jack looked contrite…or as closed as he could.
Hotch curved an eyebrow, "Are you sure? I mean this is the second fish in three days."
"Promised, daddy." Jack was looking down at his toes.
Well, this one was really a mistake and Jack seemed sorry about it. But how many goldfish they were going to adopt before his son would really understand?
Hotch shuddered, thinking about the goldfish heaven. It had to be overpopulated there. Surely his son was not the only child who accidentally killed their pets?
"Please daddy?" Jack gave him the pitiful look.
And it worked but with a proviso.
"Okay buddy…" Jack began to jump happily.
"But!" Hotch stopped his son's happy dance and putting his hands on his son's shoulders, "but, this will be the last one. If the next fish dies, we're not getting anymore, okay?"
Jack was eager to agree.
Two hours later, the Hotchners welcomed Edward III.
Hotch had asked Jack why he insisted on the name Edward. Jack told him that Edward was the name of his preschool friend who had moved away a week ago. And he had missed him.
Aw…Hotch felt bad for his son; again; something that held dear to him was wrenched away. It was a wonder his son still looked and acted sane.
Three days later, Hotch realized that having a pet was not the greatest idea for the Hotchners.
Edward III bit the dust an hour ago.
It was actually Hotch's fault; he was shopping for food earlier when he saw, on the snack aisle, were packages of Cheesy Goldfish snacks.
Thinking it was be cool for Jack to have goldfish snacks, he bought one.
Jack was thrilled; they almost looked like Edward as he happily munched them.
Hotch was proud of himself for being so ingenious; Jack liked it and it was made of dairy product, therefore somewhat healthy.
He was washing dishes when Jack walked into the kitchen with a mournful look.
"Daddy," Jack began.
Uh oh! That didn't sound good when Jack used that plaintive voice.
"Yes buddy?" Hotch answered warily.
"What about Edward?" Hotch turned off the faucet and dried his hands. He began to walk towards Jack's bedroom.
Let's get this over with, thought Hotch.
"I shared my goldfish with Edward."
No! Hotch wanted to yell.
The goldfish bowl was murky; there were a handful of soggy goldfish snacks floating about and the cheesy floury crumbs floating about.
Edward III was, like his predecessor, floating on the surface. Upside down.
Well…at least he lasted…three days. That was a Hotchner record.
Hotch looked at his son and nodded.
"I don't want any more Edward. They are compli…compe…hard to keep."
Hotch chuckled as he pulled his son for a hug.
"It's okay, son. They are complicated. Maybe we'll wait till you are a much bigger boy, okay?"
Jack nodded into Hotch's neck, "Can I have a puppy when I am big boy?"
Hotch almost choked. "Um…let's talk about that when the time comes."
"I'm hungry, can I have a snack? But not goldfish."
Hotch laughed as he picked his son up and left the bedroom.
The images of Edward III and goldfish snacks floating around…Jack had wanted to share the snacks with Edward…it sounded so…cannibalistic!
Gads! Perish that thought, Aaron!
"How about chocolate chip cookies?" He asked his son.
A/N – The demise of the first two Edwards were based on a true story. As told by Mummacass. It was too funny (I know, it really wasn't but I did laugh when she mentioned it) to not be told! So, Mummacass had asked me to write it for her. I hoped you liked this version.
The last Edward was from me…I couldn't resist it because it so happened that Mommy bought me a box of goldfish snack last night!
And a grateful thanks to HGRHfan35 for her beta'ing! Thank you, my lovely!
Please let me know!
And Cass…*hint*…guinea pig?