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Satire: The True Story of Johnny and June “Betta Fish” Cash

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From The New York Times today:
"In a hotly contested deal, the life story of Dewey, a rescued cat who lived for 19 years in a library in a small town in Iowa, has sold for about $1.25 million to Grand Central Publishing.
With an eye toward creating the feline answer to the best-selling “Marley & Me,” John Grogan’s memoir of his misbehaving yellow Labrador retriever, Grand Central bought the book, currently titled “Dewey, a Small Town, a Library and the World’s Most Beloved Cat,” on Monday by making an offer high enough to pre-emptively shut down an auction."

(The following is an excerpt – leaked to yours truly – of a book available for purchase to the highest bidder. Call 1-800-you're-all-wet. Operators are standing by. Any relation between reality, fiction and anything in between is purely a figment of your overactive imagination.)

Diary of Johnny and June Cash (As told to their owner, Scott Butki, who has made a few minor changes, where appropriate):
Subtitle: Mo Betta Blues (with apologies to Spike Lee)

Tuesday

Johnny:
I woke up in the middle of a nightmare. Yeah, it's that weird nightmare again about getting flushed down a toilet. I've been having that one a lot ever since Our Evil, Cheap Loving Owner got rid of the stink bugs in his apartment. Or at least he claims to have flushed it away. I can't see outside of this room so for all I know he eats them. All I know is he better not eat of our Betta Bites.

During meditation I had a break-through moment when I realized the genesis for the nightmare. I went to write the following down but realized once again that I still don't have waterproof pens or paper because our owner is a cheap bastard college student.

Anyway… back in the day when I was growing up at PetSmart, I used to hear horror stories that sometimes evil humans would flush away fish… even if the fish were being good.  That usually led to a theological debate about whether there was something A.F. (After Flushing): A fish heaven and hell or if, as some of the fish who were running out of food pellets lamented, the final resting place is just some ol' stinky sewer.

A few of the brown gills, brown noser, gill up kiss ups in the aquarium would invariably bring up something they called a "Chicken or the egg debate" and puff out their gills as one would suggest the chicken came first and another would say, "No, the egg came first" and that usually led to the blowhard blowfish arguing that "we are all here as part of some intelligent design by Our Creator" (aka The Mysterious Hands From Above.)

There would always be one wise tail ass who would ask the obvious question: "What the hell is a chicken?"  Ol' Gray Gills – who had that old fish smell – would then whine about "Back when I was a betta fish, we didn't have PetSmarts and aquariums and stores.  We all just lived in ponds hoping against hope that nobody would step on us. We knew what chickens were because one ate poor ol' Nemo"Sam" (Not his real name – see footnote 1)

We all knew that if we didn't shut Ol' Gray Gills up, he'd go on and on talking about swimming to and from school – upstream, both ways, which I still think is impossible – and on and on and about how they didn't have "fast food," his disparaging term for the Beta Bites we get.

Charlie the Tuna Chuck (see footnote 2) would then point out that if Ol' Gray Gills didn't want his food others would surely be glad to have it.  Ol' Gray Gills' bubbles and gills would get bigger and bigger and then he'd accuse us "Kids these days of blowing bubbles up his tail butt just to get him angry.

And we'd just laugh and laugh…
Sigh. Those were the good bad old days.

Wednesday

June:
Johnny is looking better today. Yesterday he was looking a little blue around the gills. When I went to my side of my waterworld to see him he looked like he had been crying, probably reflecting back on his past. Being a man he denied there were any tears, saying something about how it was just that his eyes were irritated because the human hasn't changed our water in a week andhe was watching the news and got all emotional thinking about the war in Iraq.
"A rock?" I asked.
"No, Iraq," he said.
"What's Iraq?" I asked.
He said I would not understand because I can't read gills lips like he can.
I hate when he gets all uppity and "My water level is higher than yours," and all that so I just swam away.

I was going to tell him that I learned that some human named Ani DiFranco wrote a song about us fish, but then I wondered if he'd just get upset because he can't hear the song due to our cheap, evil poor owner refusing our Christmas requests for matching waterproof stereos.

Our owner is such a jerk nice guy.
Johnny says that one of these days he is going to shoot the man "just to watch him die," and then says something about Reno.
I asked him what he is talking about and reminded him that he doesn't have hands, let alone a gun. He said it's just an idea he has had ever since he heard a song sung to him back when he lived at PetSmart.
I said that right there is proof that violent music can affect us in ways we don't fully understand.
He said something about being hurt and swam to the other side of his waterworld, signalling the end of the conversation.

Footnotes
1: On advice of our lawyers we have changed the original name of this fish so we don't get sued)
2. Ditto about Charlie

(And that is just a sample of what is in store for you if you buy this biography)

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About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been doing special education work for about five years He lives in Austin. He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one. He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle. He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.
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