I just learned this word a few days ago, isn't it wonderful?
Fortunately I finished two books today, and big dull books they were. I am starting a new one tomorrow and another soon after that, and I still have the UN and all those articles about cleaning flagstone and making salads to deal with, but I anticipate at least having the relative freedom to leave my apartment. Plus, I promised myself that after I got these brain-eating jobs done I would buy another Siamese fighting fish like Fred, the little maroon guy I had when I lived in Queens. Fred was great to stare at when I should have been working, and Kiyo the rat loved to try to catch him by dabbling her foretoes in the water and then making a grab when he came to investigate. I'm told that wild rats fish in this way too. She never caught him, partly because I always removed her from the rim of his bowl before she did a header into it, but she did induce him to display. Siamese fighting fish are mighty warriors for their size, with very sharp teeth, an especially flexible skeleton, and scales like armor plating, and he would point himself at her with all his gauzy fins snapped out to their full majesty, letting her know that he was prepared to give as good as he got. Kiyo did not seem to feel threatened. Rattus norvegicus and Betta splendens even come from the same part of the world, southeast Asia, and so this interaction has probably played out countless times in rice paddies, where it's probably a lot less absurd to witness.