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Monsters Pet
by Michael S. Collins

“Daddy, we can we have a dog?”

Repeat it to yourself ad nauseum. You know the moment. The child is fine to stare at occasionally and for passersby to stop and admire and congratulate you on, but then it gets a year old and starts to talk. Before long, it forms opinions, opinions which contradict your own, and before you even noticed the time passing, they are in school and can argue their points better than you can. Before you notice, they are smarter than you, reader at a higher level and want a dream job which would seem better paid than you. And somewhere in better, they want a dog.

This is complicated enough, when you have 2.4 children and live in a small quiet neighbourhood, just south of Glasgow, or London, or an American alternative. It is slightly more complicated, when your children want a pet dog, and your family are in fact monsters. You can’t then just enter a pet shop and ask how much is that doggy in the window, for you will have the whole town lynchmob upon you at any second. Such is the price of infamy.

So when looking for a pet, subtler means are needed. Children do not like subtle means though. “Can we have a dog?” “Can we have a dog?” And you can’t turn to them, and go: “I’m trying to get a dog for you, but its a bit difficult, given we’re monsters. Can you not give me a bit of peace and quiet and I’ll see what I can do?” Nor can you eat them. It would stop the persistent chatter, but would be terribly unpopular, on the whole, summing up both sides of the argument, with their mother.

I tried looking up the internet, to see if that would help, but they don’t seem to sell dogs on the internet. It’s not the done thing, I hear. People tend to prefer selling dogs in more legal ways, so they don’t wind up being a poor persons Christmas dinner.

Then a dog turned up on the doorstep one day, when I was least expecting it to. Not that I would have expected it if it had arrived on another day or time. It arriving in any shape or form was the unexpected part. “Hello” it said. “I’m  a dog. I hear you have a vacancy.” This was the second surprise. I was unaware that dogs spoke English, and told it so. “I’m not speaking. I am telepathic and you are hearing me inside your head, because you are insane. In reality, all I am doing is barking affectionately in the hope you will feed me. That’s an order, by the way.”

I fed the dog, and tried to determine its breed. A terrier of some sort. “I’m a mongrel, actually, but if you call me that, I’ll rip your throat out.” “You don’t see a very friendly sort of dog, really.” I said. “Friendly? I’ll show you bloody friendly” he said. And he rolled over on his side and barked happily while wagging his tail. “There. Friendly as a happy thing thats high, indeed. Now watch it, buster.”

At that point, the kids came in the door. “A dog!” My son screamed, and he ran over to the terrier. It rolled over on its side and wagged its tail furiously. I kept trying to warn them that the dog was actually evil disguised as a fluffy being, but they ignored me to hug the dog which seemed to enjoy it. Yet every time it glanced in my direction the phrase “Watch it or else” formed in my mind.

The kids took to the dog very quickly. It seemed to be peaceful around them too. My wife adored it. It seemed the only monster it didn’t like was me, and telepathically it kept reminding me of this. I would be lying on the ceiling, trying to get a good nights sleep, when his voice would appear in my head saying: “Just to remind you, I hate you.”

I didn’t think this situation could go on for much longer. It was getting on my nerves, the continual death threats from a creature that my kids seemed to love so much. Love better than me. That hurt. Especially given his repeated hatred.

Then one day I woke up, and it was very dark. Darker than usual, you see. I looked around, but realised that wherever I was very small and cramped, and wet. A distant voice was laughing, like a telepath distorted. 

I finally made out the words. “I’ve eaten you.”

I was inside the bloody dog. It must have digested me when I wasn’t looking. There was only one thing to do. It had become an eat or be eaten situation. Now, despite the fact I had already been eaten, the situation wasn’t entirely lost yet. Indeed, I figured the dog had more to lose from this point. So I bit into the nearest bit.

The internal laughing turned to yelps of pain so quickly, and before I knew it I was back in the living room, all the while pieces of the dog gurgled a “Damn you” as I had a drink to quench my throat. Dogs don’t taste all that great, really.

The kids didn’t even seem to notice the dog was gone. Or at least they didn’t seem to show that they did.