I stood next to the kitchen island, my right arm elbow-deep in a two-gallon fish tank, using a standard pair of tweezers to dangle a bloodworm in front of our African Dwarf Frog’s face. Kipp, as we call him, darted his head forward and grabbed the bloodworm. I let the tweezers open and began withdrawing my arm from the slightly murky water.
I was pulling Kipp up like a caught fish.
“The bloodworm is stuck,” I said.
“Hang on, Kipp,” Shannon said.
He let go and swam to a distant corner of the tank. The bloodworm still hung from one side of the tweezers. My mind flashed back to a PetSmart employee who told my wife to just sprinkle a few dehydrated bloodworms in there each day. That was the method we had used to kill the first two frogs and one of the second pair.
I sighed, and might have muttered a curse word or two. “Okay, I’ll take you up on your offer. You finish feeding him,” I said.
Before that, my wife had watched as I cut the thawed bloodworms into bite-size pieces and offered them individually to Kipp, who hungrily gobbled two and dropped at least as many.
“That’s fine, you go sit and have your drink and I’ll do this,” she said.
Sometimes she knows exactly what to say after I’ve worked a stressful 12-hour day. She got Kipp to eat one more piece before he lost interest, then she joined me.
We spooned coarsely frozen piña coladas from plastic blue martini glasses. Kipp swam to the top of the tank and stretched out all four legs, then remained locked in that position as he sank lazily to the bottom. He worked his way slowly around the various plastic plants, visiting every corner of the tank.
There was no television, no radio, and our son was fast asleep in his bedroom. A euphoria washed over me as I enjoyed the coconut concoction and watched Kipp’s acrobatic floating and swimming act.
Just like our son, that tiny frog had infuriated me and calmed me within a five-minute span. Shannon took my glass and scooped it full from the white pre-mix bucket. “You need another,” she said.
Next thing on my list: long-handled tweezers.