Rhiannon [wandering out of the bedroom into the living room]: Daddy?
Rhiannon: You’re obsessed with those fish!
Me: What do you mean?
Rhiannon: You spend half of your time staring at your new aquarium. It’s ridiculous.
Me [protesting]: But this isn’t any ordinary aquarium, sweet heart!
Rhiannon [disdainfully]: It’s a bunch of fish swimming around aimlessly…
Me: Oh no! Have you ever watched any of the movies or TV shows about ancient Rome?
Me: So you know about the Roman Coliseum? Where gladiators fought it out to the death – the victors then going and having perverted sex afterwards?
Rhiannon: Um, yes – except for the “perverted sex” part which you clearly made up because you’re a freak.
Me: Good. And you know how people in the Coliseum were crucified and fed to wild beasts imported from Africa for the amusement of the general public?
Rhiannon [getting bored]: YES!!!
Me: Okay, I’m losing you. Have you ever heard of the Battle of Stalingrad?
Rhiannon [paying attention again]: No…
Me: It was the most horrific battle in human history waged between the Nazis and the Communists.
Me: It was fought in indescribable, freeze-your-sack-off, cold in the winter of 1942-43 in the Soviet Union.
Rhiannon [getting bored again]: Why are you telling me this?!
Me [irritably]: I’m getting there! At the Battle of Stalingrad, at the end of the day, over a million men had been killed, wounded or reported missing. 91,000 ice-clad German soldiers were taken prisoner and only 6,000 of them ever made it home in the late 40s – and only after being relentlessly water boarded in the Black Sea by the Mossad!
Rhiannon [frustrated]: What is your point?!
Me: I’m trying to educate you about the scale of human suffering throughout history!
Me: To explain that the suffering I am talking about pales in comparison to the carnage that takes place in the arena – er, I mean the aquarium… It’s quite fascinating to observe how brutal “nature” is.
Rhiannon: They are just fish. Get over it!
Me [indignantly]: They are not just fish! They are the reincarnations of all of history’s greatest tyrants. Their barbarity and sexual depravity defies the imagination.
Me: Well, first of all, you see the two ones there? The orange and black ones? Those guys that hug the heater and never venture to the other side of the arena?
Rhiannon [becoming interested]: Yes.
Me: That’s Napoleon and Hitler! They never dare go east anymore after their respective humiliations. And besides, they’re terrified of all the swarming little ones with Kalashnikovs in their gills that they bought on the black market in Mogadishu.
Rhiannon: Are you insane?
Me: It’s true! You have no idea about the extent of the arms trading business under the rock. This is why I have to keep my eye on them!
Rhiannon: The fish don’t have guns, Daddy!!!
Me: Oh yes, they most certainly DO my poor, sweet innocent child. The weapons are just concealed, allowing the fish to go into schools and theatres and massacre other fish at random.
Me: Schools of fish… every morning, when I wake up, there are more carcasses to dredge up from the tank!
Rhiannon: You are insane!
Me: And look! There’s Berlusconi getting sucked off underneath the rock as we speak!
Rhiannon: What? He’s not even dead yet is he?
Me: Unfortunately, no. Why?
Rhiannon: You said the fish are all reincarnations.
Me [pensively]: Reincarnation is a tough concept to grasp, honey. It’s complex – but, trust me, that fat, bloated, balding whore is Berlusconi. Look! Winston Churchill is telling him off right now! Wait, his pants are down around the bottom of his fins too… and he’s clearly drunk… Oh, man, and there’s Caligula going at it as well! Goddamn these fish!!!
Rhiannon: I know what you’re going to come back as after you die, Daddy!
Me: Oh, really?
Rhiannon: A good daddy.
Me: I don’t think it works that way, sweetie.
Rhiannon: It’s reverse reincarnation! Psyche!
Me [alarmed]: You’re messing with my head space, Rhiannon. What are you doing?!
Rhiannon: Double psyche!!! Awesome!
Me [distracted by the aquarium]: Where did Sir Winston go?
Rhiannon: He sneaked behind the rock with Caligula when you weren’t looking…