Pet Store Joke


Three weeks ago, standing in the pet store, I didn’t expect this. I didn’t expect to be dragged upstairs by my snivelling son to a stone cold corpse.

Standing there, laughing with the man behind the counter as my son crooned over his new friend, I didn’t expect this.

I reach the top of the stairs and Max lets me take point. He chooses to stand behind me instead, grabbing me around the waist and wiping his nose on my shirt.

“Honey,” I had said, “We can get one outside, for free!”

“That’s right” the shopkeeper added, trying not to smile, “There are plenty of strays looking for good homes.”

“NO,” Max shouted, pointing inside the cage, “It has to be him

I push open the door to the bedroom. His placement couldn’t be more dramatic; lying on his side in the middle of the room. Motionless and serene.

“Poor Englebert,” Max sniffs from behind, and begins to cry quietly.

I move forwards and stoop down to pick him up, but Max stays beyond the threshold. I cradle Englebert in my arms. The funny little pet store joke.

We take Englebert down into the garden. I get a trowel and Max gets the spade from his beach kit. Dutifully he helps dig his friend’s grave. When I look up I can’t tell if his face is wet from sweat or tears.

As we dig we unearth other corpses and Max does his best to stifle his sobs.

Never loved like Englebert.

Nothing but strays.

Nothing but rocks.


~ by Joseph Blame on July 25, 2010.

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