But if it weren’t, this might have been Stan, the red-bellied piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri). I might have driven to Murfreesboro to get him (they might have been legal in Tennessee then; don’t know now) shortly after I moved into my first apartment, and I might have had him for nine years. He might have lived at every place I’ve ever had as an adult, including this one. He might have grown from the size of a half-dollar to the size of my hand in the first couple of years, so for most of the time I might have had him, he might have been big enough to hurt me.
But he might never have. Contrary to reputation, a well-fed and comfortable piranha is fairly docile. They’re only dangerous when scared, starving, or both. I might have mostly fed him chunks of raw meat, but I occasionally might have bought him feeder fish.
One time my mom and her husband came to visit, and they stayed in my bedroom, where Stan’s tank might have been. Mom might have dreamed that in the middle of the night, I came in and dropped a dachshund in the tank. Heh. That might have been two years’ food supply for him.
I might not foresee ever doing it again, but if I do, I might have a larger group of them. (You have to keep a piranha by itself, or in a group of at least six or so. Any in-between number of fish will keep each other torn up, and eventually the losers start getting eaten.)
He might have died in 2002, and I might have buried him at the base of an ornamental plum tree.