Filet of Fish (Story by Risa Peris)

She really was impossible. Fish please, she said every Friday. I’m Catholic you know. Wait. Catholics don’t have to do that anymore. Would you like a Big Mac? No! Filet of Fish. Go to McDonald’s and bring me a Filet of Fish. She was 90 and her boyfriend, my dad, was 85. Her name was Agnes. My dad was spry and sharp minded. She was deteriorating and occasionally irate. I was his youngest son visiting from Los Angeles. I drove down to Orange County to visit him on Friday after work and we got to talking and tinkering with a few things in the garage. His cell phone kept going off. Dad ignored it. It was Agnes. Gosh darn it, he said. I’ll get to her. I’ll get to her. So we kept tinkering. Around 9 PM we were both famished. I guess it’s Mcdonald’s then, he said. Off we went. Two Big Macs and a Filet of Fish. She’s really adamant about the Filet of Fish on Fridays, he said. We went through the drive-thru but it was taking so long. The car in front of us took at least three minutes to order and then even longer at the window. I guess the cashier got the order wrong. By the time we got to window, the cashier looked annoyed and shoved the bag in my dad’s hands. $14.18 she nearly yelled. We didn’t check the bag. We paid and drove off. We pulled into the driveway of Agnes’ house around 9:45 PM. We could only see the glow of the TV emanating through her living room window. The door was locked but my dad had a key. So we went in. Agnes was sitting on the sofa watching Criminal Minds. I brought the Filet of Fish, said, my dad. Agnes rolled her eyes. Nevermind. I took care of it. You ate a Filet of Fish? My dad was confused. Well, I had some fish, she said. I’m a good Catholic. My dad set the McDonald’s bag down on the counter. What do you mean, Agnes? She didn’t answer. She kept watching Criminal Minds. I looked at the TV. The coroner was dissecting a body. Let’s eat dad, I said. We ate our Big Macs. Try to eat the Filet of Fish, he said to Agnes. She ignored him. Well, it’s time to feed the fish. I followed him to the tank but it was empty. There were no fish in it. Agnes, what happened to the fish? My dad sounded alarmed. I told you, said Agnes, I had fish already. I’m a good Catholic. I’m tired take me to bed. I was a little confused and wandered into the kitchen for water when I saw on the counter tiny little fish fins. Dad, dad. I think she ate the fish in the tank, I said. But he wasn’t listening he was helping her to bed. It was a process. He had to rub her feet and hands. I sat at the table and stared at the container that held the Filet of Fish and I felt ripples of revulsion.

THE END

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