I am back in this place again with all the crazy people and so I am writing you to help keep me sane. To let you know just how crazy the crazy people are, the other day they were all looking at the fish tank. Crazy, eh? They said to me, “Elly! Something’s the matter with Ferdinand! – He’s upside-down.” I stuck my finger in the tank to take his temperature. I remember someone did that once. The crazy people just stared at me and said, “What’s wrong with you, Elly? You don’t play with dead fish!” I said very calmly, “I’m afraid Frank’s gone.” They said, “Gone where? And who is Frank?” I said, “The fish. Frank the fish.” They said, “His name is Ferdinand.” I said, “Well, I think he might have been fed a little too often, and his tank needed cleaning…Maybe we just didn’t take care of him very well.” Then the crazy people said, “You! You were the one putting all the extra food in Ferdinand’s tank. You were the one making the tank dirty!” Honestly, Farley, to listen to them you would think I had never taken care of a fish before. I said, “It’s amazing. Fred hasn’t gotten this much attention since he came to live here.” The crazy people said, “Who’s Fred?” I said, “The fish. Fred the fish.” The crazy people said, “His name is Ferdinand!”
The next day we had a funeral for little Foster the fish. Everyone stood around the gravesite and said a few words. When it was my turn, I said, “Foster the fish lived a good life, he croaked an’ we buried him.” I remember a great writer saying that once. The crazy people looked at me and said, “Ferdinand. The fish’s name is Ferdinand.” I said, “Well, we treated him with the respect and the dignity he deserved.”
You would have loved the funeral dear Farley. I can just imagine you digging up the fish while I was screaming at you to stop. I would say to you, “AAUGH! You’ve chewed up Francis the Fish! Bad Dog! You’re a bad, bad dog! You’ve got your own toys! Look at these. Lie down! Do you hear me? Lie down!” And then I imagined you licking my feet, so I took off my socks. It was a very good dream until one of the crazy people started saying, “Oh my God! Why are you taking off your shoes and socks at a funeral? What are those repulsive things? Are those your feet, Elly? Did you beat them with a hammer? How did they get so misshapen and swollen?” Dear Farley, I like it when you licked my feet. It was like you were kissing them; but I couldn’t take those kinds of comments about my feet from the crazy people. It was like they had never seen feet before and had only seen people wearing shoes or socks.
When I think about you licking my feet, I remember how playful you were, dear Farley. When Michael put peanut butter around Lizzie’s ears, you just licked her face to make her laugh. Of course her face and hair were covered in peanut butter and dog slobber, but Lizzie liked it. She didn’t like the bath afterwards, though. Lizzie swore that Michael put peanut butter in her ears and not around her ears. But I told her that it had to be around her ears or your licking, dear Farley, wouldn’t have tickled as much.
Dear Farley, Lizzie loved you so much. And so did Mike. They would chase you around the house, even though they knew “chase the dog” was an outside game. Then when we went outside, did they chase you around, dear Farley? Certainly not. Lizzie and Mike stood around and stared at each other. I think they may have missed the point of going outside. I haven’t missed the point of going outside though. As soon as these crazy people aren’t looking I am going to go outside, just like you did, dear Farley. I am waiting for the right moment. I’ll write to you again soon, dear Farley, when I am back on the outside.