The Ecosphere

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Today at lunch we talked about the goldfish kids used to bring home from craft fairs in plastic bags with just enough water to turn around, and I remembered the ecosphere someone gave me once for my birthday: a sealed plastic sphere that just fit in my two hands, inside half water and half air, with three tiny red shrimp swimming around, and algae resupplying the oxygen, and the fish eating the algae at times I didn’t watch, and the algae thriving on the virtually invisible excrement of the fish.  The ecosphere lasted for 10 years, except for one shrimp which suddenly disappeared well before without a trace, as though he had found a loophole through the plastic wall.  The others died in the end because one afternoon I left my ecosphere in the sun for too long, or the two lonely fellows had become too bored to live on, or for a number of other reasons only shrimp specialists and micro-ecologists would be able to figure out, except it is too late.
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