Plumbers and pet cemeteries

Most people have flushed a goldfish or two down the toilet. It’s no big deal. While most pets get buried in backyards under the apple tree, the humble goldfish is relegated to the watery realm from whence it came, and subjected to the filter-roller of Melbourne’s drainage system. It wouldn’t seem right to put a fish under ground. I mean, its spirit would be a disease, only able to reach its final state of peace and rest once its physical form has returned to the sea. Fortunately, every plumber in Melbourne knows this. That’s why it’s de rigueur to flush fish and not other animals. But I’m the kind of person who likes to challenge social norms and rituals…

When poor Kitty died, 5 year old me wondered what would happen if I flusher her down the toilet. This was before I’d considered the nature of life-after-death for pets and the restlessness of the animal spirit, as described above. We didn’t have room in the backyard at the time, it was mostly paved, and the small plot of earth was taken up by a wilting strawberry plant that I was trying to resuscitate. So I thought I could save space and that Ghost Kitty would have plenty of fish to eat when she crosses the threshold. I was so young and foolish, little did I expect the whole fiasco to end in calling an emergency plumber near Melbourne.  

I flushed the toilet one time. Kitty’s head went down but her tail floated to the top of the bowl. I flushed again and nothing else would budge further down those pipes. I flushed a third time and heard a tremendous gurgle come from the pipes. Kitty was down, but not all the way. The pipe bust and water started spraying out of the wall and the floor. I ran and flung the door shut behind me, bracing myself for deluge that was about to unfurl…What a day.