Two Pets – Advice #0320

Posted on April 7, 2011


We found a small freshwater mermaid in the backyard. She had been swept out of the stream like a worm is swept out of soil during a heavy rain, left to bake on some hard surface.

We saved the mermaid. We put her in our bathtub. This is the least we can do, I said. After all, she was on our sidewalk, which we put next to her stream. It’s the least we can do.

We should keep her as a pet, my brother said. There was a forceful tone in his voice.

I don’t know, I said. What will she eat? We can’t keep her in the tub forever.

It’s the least we can do, my brother said. She needs our protection. We are keeping her.

She would compliment the cat, I said. Okay. Okay, now we have two pets. We are lucky boys.

We bent over the tub and watched the mermaid swim back and forth. My brother stared at her strangely, in a way that made me uncomfortable. I think it made the mermaid uncomfortable too. She was acting like a goldfish in a glass of water, disoriented.

Bedtime, mom yelled.

Bedtime, my brother said. We can leave her here. Don’t worry. She’ll be fine.

Okay, I said.

In the morning the mermaid was dead. Her head and body had been separated in the night. There were two suspects in my mind. My brother was the first. I didn’t trust him. The way he wanted to possess her, the way he watched her move. The second was the cat, our other pet. Carnivores and fish didn’t compliment each other as nicely as we had thought. ¬†Finding two living creatures that compliment each other is difficult at best.