Levi Bradley Jessup
See the shelf of aquarium chemicals on the aisle bookended by bettas in their plastic bachelor bowls? Funny how pet store bettas are always male, kinda like congress. Except bettas are colorful, arranged like rainbows, and this country doesn’t like a congress with that attribute. But the chemicals—ever notice the bottle of stress coat? The manager asked why the fuck would a fish be stressed. We keep that green shit from killing them, feed them, make sure the temperature is just right—even give them real plants in case they want high value real estate. I don’t think he’s heard of Maslow’s hierarchy. Or that these fish didn’t choose their fighting genes. When I was a kid I had a stress blanket. Not the kind that gave comfort. I swaddled in low thread count to feel the claustrophobia of a worm in its pupa. Sometimes that kind of fear is good. Perspective enhancing. I guess little fish need more than housing accommodations. Maybe the manager wasn’t loved either.