• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 08

Women and Pets

Annabelle had preferred basset hounds. She hadn't been openly opposed to the whippet that he had surprised her with, but she grabbed the dog's face and pulled down at his cheeks as if she was hoping to eek out a different breed.

Susannah was partial to parakeets and budgies. She ruffled when frustrated and tilted her head when she wanted a compliment. He found it endearing, but his flirtatious comment on wanting to keep her in a cage had fallen flat and he had to offer her a rare cockatoo to prevent her storming out.

Iris firmly defined herself as a cat person. He had cleared the shop of any canine related objects and when she came in he had prepared a spread of white, fluffy kittens on the counter, with ribbons wrapped around their paws. She had cooed, picked one up and let it burrow into her neck. He had patted the feline's head, imagining what her clavicles tasted like.

When he had inherited the pet shop from his father he thought it would be an awful bore. His days were spent in the presence of beings who could not speak back to him, and he spent hours washing the smell of animal urine out of his clothes in the evenings. He had been ruminating on how best to sell the business, which butchers would be willing to buy live animals to pass off as beef meat, when everything changed. Cynthia had walked through the doors in a ridiculously feathery hat that eviscerated her right eye from view. She peeked at him through the left, asked if he had any rabbits. 'My friend tells me that house rabbits are the new cats. I simply must have one'. She spent hours in the shop stroking the fur of his prized bunnies and, when he went to her apartment the next day to drop off the lucky animal, given him a hug that lasted a second too long.


Women and Pets

He finally understood what the shop was good for. The passive pets in the window lured in bored, fanciful women. An animal in their hands would cause them to lower their boundaries and he'd be able to weasel his way into their affections, with a light touch of the arm and a promise that there were more animals in the back. After, with the lady long gone, the pet relieved from his care and money in his pocket, he would go to the stockroom and pull out his inventory, looking over past sales.

'1. White Rabbit. Cynthia. Pressed her breasts into me'.

'1. Black Labrador. Clementine Kissed me on the cheek'.

'2. Yellow Budgies. Reni. Put her hand on my thigh'.

They were never more than one line, one small moment of connection, of intimacy. They would have to do, for now. Until he got a bigger shop. Potentially with an pet accessories aisle. That would make women want to visit, he hoped. They might even stay.