Russell the ROUS (Rodent of Unusual Size)

“He’s judging me. Your dog looks just like that when she’s judging me.”

“Maybe he doesn’t like your shirt.”

“It’s a Thor shirt. What’s not to love?”

Stephan shrugged. “I don’t know. You’re the one convinced that it’s judging you. I’m just playing to your paranoia.”

I giggled, tapping him playfully on the shoulder. “Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean he’s not judging me.”

“Ok,” he said, standing up from the bench as he crunched up the empty bag. “But consider this. Maybe Russell the ROUS over there isn’t judging you; maybe he’s just irritated about being declared a fish.”

“A what?”

“He’s a fish. In the 16th century the Vatican declared Capybaras as fish because they were such an important food source to the Venezuelans. “

My boyfriend, the loveable food nerd. He knew things few other people did. Or wanted to. “I’m not following you.”

“Lent,”  He said holding out his hand for me.

I joined him at the rail to the enclosure, remaining skeptical about fish with fur and legs. Russell the ROUS looked at me swung his head from side to side and his soft round mouth opened to show me the most terrifying set of teeth I’d ever seen.  I grabbed Stephan’s arm and took a step back on instinct. They were long, solid, and they looked very, very sharp. “Your fish is threatening me.”

Russell the fish-ROUS sneezed, and then slid into the water. I had been judged and I had been found uninteresting.

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