Confessions I (Revised)

I.

I don’t remember the names of all my boyfriends, but I can remember the names of all my pets.

First was Odie the Dog. Yes, like Garfield’s sidekick. Funny that – a cat with power over a dog.

Then there was Tinkerbelle the Hamster. Lived only something like 2 months. I’m pretty sure my sister killed it because of the squeaky-wheel sound she made in the middle of the night with her little running feet. My sis’ of course denied it, and maybe she didn’t directly kill Tinkerbelle. It’s hard to imagine, as mean-spirited as she was, taking her little-kid hands and pressing down hard on that tiny little neck. Still, I know she thought mean thoughts because she said, “That stupid hamster – I hope it dies.” And as we all know, words can kill.

Duchess the Rabbit lived longer than Tinkerbelle the Hamster. I don’t recall exactly how long, maybe on account of the fact that most of her existence was tortured. Back to that later.

That makes all the pets I’ve had up till now, not counting Vice the Cat, my current pet, whom I treat like a princess. So maybe Duchess would have been a more fitting name for Vice the Cat. Then what should Duchess the rabbit have been named? More of that later.

They say the way you treat your pets reflects who you are.

Who am I?

Looking back, I think I treated my third pet Duchess worse than my first pet Odie. But then again, that is debatable. What’s worse? Confining a rabbit to a small cage all day long, or tying the mouth of your dog with a rubber band until it nearly suffocates? Confining a rabbit to a tiny cage is kind of like slowly boiling a lobster to death. Well, there’s a similarity only to a point, because a rabbit resists at once, whereas a lobster doesn’t because it doesn’t know it’s being boiled to death. Still, it’s not long before the rabbit becomes quietly accustomed. On the other hand, the intensity of suffering a dog experiences while its mouth is clamped shut, even if only a few minutes, is of a higher order. At least that’s what I assume.

Mind you, I was not really aware of the cruel nature of what I was doing when I was doing it. Odie could still, after all, breathe with his mouth tied shut, through his nose. I got a kick out of the way he sounded with his muzzle all rubber-banded. How cute he looked swatting his little paw across his face in an effort to get it off. Add to that the fact that he wore my brother’s Osh Kosh B’Gosh t-shirt all the while, and that only ups the cuteness factor. Of course, I removed the rubber band once it seemed he’d had enough. His eyes glazed over and snot spewing out. I got no pleasure, however, from seeing Duchess confined in that cage. Mom and dad wouldn’t buy a bigger one because they said it would cost too much and take too much room. Keep in mind too that I would let Duchess loose once in awhile, when I could remember to do so. It was aggravating because she’d hop away and hide behind the broken-down freezer or in some corner where I couldn’t reach her. Yes, she must have breathed in the exhaust fumes when mom started her car in the garage, considering that mom made me sit the rabbit cage under the tool shelf, where it didn’t take much room, right next to the muffler. I suppose I could have protested and insisted on a more humane arrangement. But my folks were not to be crossed. I think I matured from my first pet to the third – from seeking innocent, carefree pleasure, to submitting myself to authority. Everyone knows you can’t remain a frivolous child forever.

Actually, I’m mistaken. About the order of my pets. Odie wasn’t the first. Tinkerbelle was. The short-lived hamster. Just like my childhood. I can only remember a handful of childhood incidents. The other incidents, which surely must have happened, seem condensed into a blur, like a gust of rain windshield wiped away in an instant.

Tinkerbelle’s scurrying feet in a see-through plastic ball. Getting stuck in a corner between the wall and the fridge. Dad saying, “You know that’s really cruel. That poor animal thinking it’s getting somewhere when it’s really not.”

When you’re a kid, it’s like everything is larger than you. Your parents. Your older brothers and sisters. Time. You stare up at time with its enormous hands, smiling a silly grin back at you. Boredom. You’ve got to do something with that great big gob of time, oozing from the ceiling, down the walls and through your fingers. So you watch your hamster run in a see-through ball down the kitchen tile, all the while getting nowhere, your dag slapping itself tirelessly in order to breathe. You feel your body burn with unspeakable pleasure. Until you want to give your pet rabbit more freedom, but your mom and dad, who are no longer enormous, but still hold an enormous power over you through their stern voices and through sheer force of habit, say that that little cage is room enough for small creatures.

Tinkerbelle was my first pet, then Odie. Not that the order of those first two really matters, since which one suffered more is debatable. What matters is that Duchess was last. Duchess, whom I found cold stiff one morning, after a night of heavy rain. Whom I left forgotten in her small cage, in the backyard all night. Duchess, who suffered the most, the suffering of which I had derived no pleasure from. Duchess, who should have been named…

The progression of my pets. The evolution of my character. I can’t remember the names of all my boyfriends.

(Author’s Note: This is the first in a series of fictional interviews I am currently working on. They are rough. They may do better recorded; next project!)

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tyrone
    Dec 08, 2010 @ 15:02:53

    The interviews are a good project. Switching viewpoints is an interesting exercise. I’m curious to see where this goes.

    Reply

  2. cannyuncanny
    Dec 08, 2010 @ 16:06:43

    I’m curious too….

    Reply

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