This completes a trilogy of pieces I’m posting this week about experiences I had while in Las Vegas over the weekend. Part one is here and part two is here.

While walking down Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas, I spotted a store called Kisses By Fishes. There were two customers sitting in chairs with their bare feet in clear tubs of water with dozens of little fish swimming around.

Why? Here’s the explanation on a sign in the store:

After having your feet washed, you’ll be provided with your own tank of 50-60 toothless Garra Rufa fish (Doctor Fish). As soon as you place your feet in the water, the fish are attracted to the vibrations created by your pulse and begin swimming around creating a light sensation from their fins and scales while nibbling on dead skin. The fish don’t have teeth, so they’re not really “biting“ — rather they’re “kissing” your feet, creating a delightfully unique experience.

The water in each tank is constantly being circulated, filtered, and cleaned. The water runs through a four-part carbon filter system fast enough such that a tank is fully filtered four times every 20 minutes.

We wash and remove any oils and lotions from feet and legs and inspect for cuts and abrasions before a customer may enter a tank. We also test our water at least once per day and clean each tank by hand at least twice per week.

This is not for me, because I had a real-life version happen many years ago.

For our honeymoon, my wife and I spent a few days in Seattle, then drove to the Olympic National Forest, where we rented a cabin. Upon arriving mid-afternoon, we changed into our swimsuits to take a dip in the incredibly clear water of Lake Crescent. After a minute or two, I felt something strange tickling my toes. Since we weren’t in very deep, I thought it was some underwater grass, but I couldn’t see it.

When my wife looked down, she started giggling before revealing to me that what I had felt was a school of fish nibbling at my feet and legs — and hers, too. She said she kinda liked it. To put it mildly, I did not. I started kicking around in an effort to keep the fish from feeding on me, but they were stubborn little animals. Finally, after a few more minutes — during which Martha was in near hysterics at my reaction — I headed for the shore and got the hell away from those hellions of the sea.

In retrospect, of course, I recognized how much I overreacted, and over time forgot about the incident. Until the memory was triggered by seeing similar flesh-eating beasts gnawing away at those two giddy women in the store.

I’m happy to leave swimming with the fishes to Luca Brasi.