|Photo by J. Salyers retrieved from Flickr.com|
"Hey baby, why’d you get you up so early?" Kim asked.
"It was feeding time. I like to do it at the same time," he said as he sprinkled food in another aquarium.
"You are the only person I met who loves these critters. Why can’t you have fish like normal people?" Kim kissed his shoulders.
"I just can’t explain it. I love sea monkeys, ever since I got them as a kid." He pointed to a small green tank on the top shelf of his sea monkey collection, "see these? I’ve had this tank since the beginning."
"Well it’s weird."
"Sure you don’t want to come along to the convention today? You can help me pick out a new tank. Plus, I was going to getting another batch of eggs."
"Yeah . . . I don’t think so. I would much rather go to work and prepare taxes then watch you and other weirdos talk about shrimp," Kim said.
"Well you would be missing out on a good time."
She kissed him again, "I think I will be okay. I better get ready to go. You coming over to my place tonight or should I come here? Maybe we can put a show for your little friends."
"Your place, I like the view," he said and spun around and met her gaze. He pinched her nipple. She laughed. Aiden picked her up and she wrapped her legs around him.
Aiden Crowley stepped out his pick up at the convention center. For February, it was unusually warm. He tossed his coat in the backseat. The parking lot was already full and dozens of toy collectors hurried into the large white building. Every year for the last few years, there were three different vendors that sold sea monkey supplies, vintage sea monkey tanks and other sea monkey knickknacks. Aiden looked forward to this day as a kid looks forward to Christmas. The vendors were always in the one corner of the convention center.
"Aiden, how the hell are you?" John, his favorite vendor, said and shook his hand.
"Good, what did you bring this year?" Aiden asked eyeing up the vintage tanks. "Is this an original tank?"
"You bet. Still in the package, too. I picked a bunch of stuff up from a collector. Well he died. And his daughter called me to take the whole lot. I didn’t have to pay for it. I was at some convention in Vegas and she was there and remembered I did Sea Monkey stuff. Can you believe it?"
"How much for it?" Aiden asked, not really caring where it came from, but he knew it had to be his.
"For my best customer, fifty," John said and sat back down in his ripped and worn camp chair.
"Yeah I’ll take. Did you get anything else from the old collector? Anything special?"
John smiled, "well you know I did. Look at this; it’s an egg container." John held up a plastic vial that looked like a pill container but short and wide "It’s gotta be right? I didn’t open it or anything. But I read about these you know, they were the original eggs. You know the kind that had to be sent away for when your other ones died."
"Why would he have those when he didn’t open this kit up?" Aiden asked.
"Don’t know, who cares?"
"I wonder if they will come to life."
"One way to find out. I’ll give you the container for twenty."
Aiden pulled out his wallet and gave him the money. He couldn’t wait to get home and get these bad boys hatched. They should come to life. But how long is too long? He never had eggs this old. He definitely hit the jackpot at the convention this year. For the first time, he skipped the other vendors and went straight home.
He cleaned the vintage tank. Though, he probably should have kept it in the package, but what better way to grow decades old eggs than in the original tank. After cleaning it, he made room for it on the middle shelf and put it the water cleaner. Several minutes later, he gently sprinkled some of the eggs in the tank and then fed them. Aiden took out his phone and snapped a picture and sent it to Kim. She sent a message back saying, "so awesome, see you tonight."
Sitting on the couch that sat against the wall facing the sea monkeys, he watched them. Not that he could really see them from where he sat but he was comforted by the thought that they saw him nearby. That he was a good caretaker. He wondered if Kim would make him get rid of them. They’ve been dating for a year now, and he loved her. She was fierce in bed and smart. Smarter than he was, at least in his opinion. He pulled out the small box out of his pocket and flipped it open, looking at the small diamond sparkle in the afternoon sunshine. Was it good enough for her? She never said anything about how much money she makes as a CPA then he does as a contractor. He had the ring for two months now, maybe tonight would be the night.
Aiden unlocked the door and tossed his overnight bag on the chair and rushed over to his collection. To his surprise, his new sea monkeys were already full size. That was weird they normally take several days to grow. They gathered around the front of the glass. Not only were they full grown but almost twice the size of the other sea monkeys.
"Wow, look at you guys."
Their mouths moved in unison. As if they were hungry. Aiden reached for the adult food and scooped out two scoops as opposed to the normal one scoop. He opened the lid and a jagged piece of plastic cut his finger. Little drops of blood dripped into the water. The sea monkeys went for it. If he didn’t know better, he could have sworn he got a batch of dried barracuda eggs. They looked like sea monkeys though. Just really big ones.
He dumped the food in, but they ignored it. Aiden shook his head, "well I better go get a bigger tank. I can’t believe how big you guys are. Guess what, Kim is moving in. She said the sea monkey collection is weird, but she promised I can keep it because she said it was adorable. I just hope she doesn’t change her mind after the wedding." Aiden smiled. "I would hate to choose between her or you guys."
He took out his phone and took a selfie of him and his new sea monkeys. Then took another of just the sea monkeys.
She started moving her stuff in after work. He was at a job. She came in with a box and misjudged the sea monkey shelf. A small blue tank crashed to the floor.
"Oh shit," The tank was cracked and lay in pieces in the floor. Her heart sunk, would he be jacked at her? It was just an accident. She had to go buy another one before he got home. But would he notice? Maybe he would find it touching that she tried to make it right. Kim cleaned up the sea monkey water and disposed of the broken tank. She looked at the large aquarium in the center.
How long has it been, a week? These new sea monkeys were nothing like the ones she just tossed. They were huge and almost looked like shrimp you would eat at some fancy dinner. They watched her. Was that even possible? She moved to the right and their eyes moved with her. Kim shivered. She wondered if she could convince him to get rid of these sea monkeys. They were creepy. They weren’t like the others. She noticed the faint blue glue. He mentioned to her last week that they were phosphorescent now. He also posted the pics on Facebook. She was glad he didn’t do it all the time, just recently to find out more information about these sea monkeys.
The new old sea monkeys were a lot different from the others. He already had a bunch of calls into different marine biologists and sent scads of pictures. Kim kind of hoped they would offer him a large sum of money for the live sea monkeys and the ones still in the container. Then they could plan a large wedding and nice honeymoon. They didn’t make plans for the wedding. She was in too much debt but didn’t want to tell him. He seemed fine with the small stuff. Kim smiled at the thought his special sea monkeys. It was cute but weird. He loved his sea monkeys.
When Aiden came home, she told him about the broken sea monkey tank. He took it well and said he broke quite a few in his time. She promised to buy him a new one. Aiden said she didn’t have to. But she knew she did.
At lunch on Friday, she came back with a new tank. It was blue but it came with colored lights. She already cleaned it the night before and purified the water. She placed the replacement tank next to the large tank. Pulling out the leaflet, she read the next direction and that was to add the sea monkey eggs. Tearing the packet open, she sprinkled the eggs into the water. The mammoth sea monkeys in the large aquarium started to slam against the side of the glass. She almost dropped the packet to the floor.
"I don’t think it is feeding time," Kim said and went back to putting food in the new tank.
The sea monkeys slammed the glass harder. They stopped and looked at her. She felt their creepy eyes following her movements. Their mouths moved in unison. As if they were trying to talk to her. As if they were trying to say they were hungry.
"Fine, what food does he feed you?" She reached for the food container and opened the top lid for the aquarium and started to sprinkle in the food.
One sea monkey latched onto her. Little teeth sank into her hand. She screamed and tried to shake it off. The others followed and attacked her hand, then pulling her top of her body into the water. Struggling against the creatures who suckled on her face like demented leeches and ripped her flesh, Kim tried to get out of the water, but she couldn’t. The stupid jumbo shrimp were too powerful. The water turned red. Her heart ached. She opened her mouth and nothing.
He saw her car when it pulled. And that was odd. He expected her to be naked on the couch waiting for him. Aiden went to unlock the door and her cell ringing. Something wasn’t right. He shoved open the door. Kim’s body lay on the floor. Her flesh from her one hand was gone as well as the flesh on her head and neck. The large aquarium was thick with red water and the large sea monkeys seemed to smile at him as he rushed over to the lifeless body.
He screamed and scrambled for the phone and called 9-1-1.
Aiden returned the following day. The yellow tape was still across the front door but he was assured that he could go back. His entire collection of sea monkeys was gone and taken for evidence. He sat on the couch and stared at the knickknacks and ads for his beloved sea monkeys and twirled Kim’s ring in his fingers. He didn’t know what to feel. It took him hours to even prove that he did not kill her. He was arrested for murder and then let go because some government people in suits came to his rescue. Ten minutes after their arrival, he was set free and all charges dropped. The dudes in the suits didn’t even talk to him but had to go see the large sea monkeys.
Aiden went over to sea monkey area and unlocked the drawer and pulled out his container of old sea monkey eggs. He could call the men in suits, the cops would know how to get a hold of them. He could just flush them down the toilet, no that wouldn’t be a good choice. He could just keep them. Aiden sat back down on the sofa, opened the container and plopped Kim’s ring in there and closed the container. He tucked the container in his jeans and closed his eyes.