Asking Questions

Here is a little scene based on a word prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth (goldfish).  It’s set before my November NaNo.  Gilbert is seeking advice on Ilya’s little problem…


The last time that Gilbert had seen them, they were leaping from one bowl to another.  At the time, he’d tried not to wonder why someone would want to train goldfish to leap out of hot water.  He’d also tried not to think about what had happened to the fish that hadn’t taken to the training.  Instead, he’d gone about his business.

Now, he frowned at Dr. Beaumont as she walked over to the river with the bowl.  Two fish swam in circles around the bowl.  They seemed to know that something was about to happen.  “What are you doing?” he asked.

“Ah, Dr. Schneider,” she said, as she dumped the bowl – along with the pair of goldfish – into the river.  “How is your little project going?  I have heard that you’ve added to your… collection.”

Gilbert nodded.  She’d utterly ignored his question.  That wasn’t unusual.  He ignored Wolfie when he asked questions about things he wasn’t supposed to know.  That reluctance to answer alone served as something of an answer.  “I’ve got three more… Chorus members,” he said, using the code word that the Agency had given him to use when referring to people housed in the Singer units.  “I’m having trouble with one, though.”


Nodding, Gilbert held out a file.  As she took it, he said, “Singer three, codename Tanner, named Ilya Putin… he’s been leaving, for lack of a better word.”

Dr. Beaumont’s eyes scanned the pages as she read quickly.  After a moment, she nodded.  “You wonder why this might be.  Yes?”

“Yes,” Gilbert said, crossing his arms over his chest.  “The Boss said you had a theory that might explain it.”

“My theory is that Ramias, Kazlauskas, and Jefferson have one thing in common,” she said.  Then, she waved at the water.  “They are goldfish.”

“Goldfish?” Gilbert said, blinking.  He shook his head.  “I don’t follow.”

“Goldfish will only grow so large,” she said, motioning with her fingers to show the average size of a goldfish.  Then, she smiled and pointed towards the river.  “Unless they live in a larger environment,” she said.

Nodding, Gilbert said, “They fit, so to speak, in the Singer unit because… it’s not any bigger than the natural body they used to have.”  When she nodded, he frowned.  “And Putin?”

“Is not a goldfish,” she said, shrugging.  “He is the carp and the goldfish bowl is too small for him.”

For a moment, Gilbert stared at her.  Then, his eyes widened.  “Most people are goldfish,” he murmured.  She smiled and nodded.  Meeting her eyes, he said, “Felicja… she’d be a carp too and Madeline.”

“Yes,” Dr. Beaumont said, grinning.  “What,” she said, “do you supposed would happen if you tried to keep a carp in a goldfish bowl?”

Gilbert bit his lip and nodded.  “We need to find a way to make his transition back to his own body permanent,” he said.  “Otherwise, he’ll die.”

“Precisely,” Dr. Beaumont said, nodding.

It was a few moments before Gilbert spoke again.  Then, he nodded and looked intently at Dr. Beaumont.  “I have some ideas.  Would you be willing to help?”  When she smiled, he took that as a yes.  Then, he started back towards the building with her trailing behind him.  “What do you do with goldfish?”

“What does your little brother do with all those ducks?” Dr. Beaumont asked, which of course, wasn’t really an answer to his question.  At the same time, it told him all he needed to know.


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