Pet Prose: Herbie

Author photo.

“I knew I wasn’t going anywhere that New Year’s Eve when I woke up with chills and a strong desire to borrow my girlfriend’s neti pot, which is about the grossest inclination I’ve ever had and after years of teasing her so mercilessly about it, only my sense that death was imminent could have prompted it.

‘Yep,’ Ceecee said, shaking the thermometer, ‘you have a fever.’

‘What do you think is wrong? The flu? Swine flu? Ebola? West Nile virus? What’s that other one everybody was supposed to get in South America? Zika? We ate at Bogotá three days ago. How do we know someone in the kitchen isn’t a carrier?’

‘Because there are no mosquitos in Kansas in December. What you have is a man cold. You’ll be okay.’

‘You’re not a doctor.’

‘Fine. I’ll call Patrick. Maybe he can give you a shot of something.’

I closed my eyes and willed myself not to remind her I was deathly afraid of shots. From there, my fevered brain was off and running. I was so afraid of shots that I’d never been shot through the heart. Had a double shot of my baby’s love. Then again, my baby never shot me down (bang bang). I never shot the sheriff or the deputy. Never shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. Never hit anybody with my best shot. I was not a hot shot, a long shot, or a big shot.

Why the hell were there so many popular songs about shots? And why did we have a thermometer with mercury in it instead of one of those digital kind? Maybe I had mercury poisoning.”

From Herbie’s short story Fever Dreams.

I take photos. I write. Mostly I only take photos of Rescued Pets Movement’s rescued dogs and cats. Since working and volunteering don’t leave me a lot of time to write, I’m spending 2017 borrowing from what these dogs and cats are writing. They said it’s okay.


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