Prompt Day #136: Write creatively about an attempt to kill something that simply will not die. Go beyond the clichés from the movies.
Satan’s Guinea Pig
I’m a bad mom. I don’t go to PTA meetings, I secretly hope my son will quit soccer so I don’t have to go to all the practices, and I’ve killed his guinea pig no less than five times. I knew it was a bad idea when he announced that he wanted a guinea pig for his birthday. Cooper once misplaced his pet goldfish, anything larger than that put us at risk for a PETA demonstration in our front yard. But it was the only thing he asked for that year, so Mr. Kipling was invited into our home. Did you know that you have to invite a vampire into your home? Sorry, I digress.
Mr. Kipling turned out to be a master escape artist. He enjoyed hiding out for days by chewing holes in my furniture and nesting inside. Sometimes I could track him down by the trail of droppings he left on his way to the couch and other times it was the strange noises that seemed to emanate from my ass. I spent more money buying new, “inescapable” cages for him, but within a day or two, someone would see movement out of the corner of their eye, or pick a raisin up off the floor only to discover it was not dried fruit.
Cooper had moved on to his next interest and the care of Mr. Kipling fell to me. God, how I hated that smelly little rodent. He knew it too. He would stay in his cage until everyone had left for the day and I sat down to get my writing done. I would look up, mentally searching for the perfect word and there he would be; standing in the doorway to my office staring me down. His whiskers twitching like a gunslinger’s trigger finger daring me to try to catch him.
The day I decided that Kipling had to die, I had been in the zone. One of those rare but splendid days when the story just flowed out of me without even trying. I had a deadline coming up; I needed this day. My cell phone rang and while I would usually hit “ignore” I saw it was from Cooper’s school. Coop was sick, vomiting and needed to be picked up right away. I grabbed my keys and took off to get him. After tucking him in, I headed straight back to my office hoping I still had a little of that magic in me. My computer screen was black. I hit the power button, assuming it had gone to sleep. Nothing. I checked the plug. It had been chewed in half. I screamed an aggravated, staccato “No!” I tried to remember when the last time I had saved my progress. I feared that it was possible I hadn’t at all so far that day. When you’re in the zone, pausing can be mental suicide. You just keep typing until your well runs dry.
That rotten little shit-machine. I stormed into the living room, tipped the couch over, reached up into the gaping hole in the underside and as luck would have it, felt the familiar tuft of hair that fanned out of Kipling’s back side. I squeezed and pulled him out. Tada! Junkyard Houdini pulled a rodent out of a sofa. He squirmed and squealed but I clung to his back half. I was half-mad with anger. All my work was gone because this thing that no one in the house gave a shit about, and I sure as hell was done taking care of the traitor. I’m not sure where I got the idea, but I headed straight for the deep freezer and tossed him in.
If you think I felt bad or guilty for this, I refer you back to my first sentence. Instead, I checked on Coop who was sleeping peacefully and spent the evening trying to salvage my project. I was rewarded for my evil deed by another burst of perfect sentences. Jack, my husband, checked in on me when he got home and agreed to take over dinner and Coop. It was ten when I finally clicked save and shut the computer down. I had made up for my lost material finally. Sneaking up to bed, I tripped over a shoe and cursed Jack for never putting his shit away. When I snatched it up however, it was cold and hairy. I turned on the lamp and saw a cold but very much alive guinea pig glaring at me.
“How the hell did you get out?” I asked him. He stared, twitched his whiskers and blinked. “Ok, apparently I underestimated you, Kipling.” I growled. I walked into the bathroom, tossed him in the toilet, closed the lid and flushed. Yes. I flushed my son’s guinea pig down the toilet. And you know what, I slept better that night than I had in a long time and better than I have since.
The next morning, I tiptoed in to Cooper’s room to check on him. He felt cool. He opened his eyes at the touch of my hand.
“How ya feeling buddy?” I asked.
“Better. I had a bad dream though” he said, rubbing his eyes “I dreamt that Mr. Kipling ran away.” My stomach dropped through the floor. I swallowed.
“Oh, Honey. You probably just dreamed that because he’s always escaping. He’s somewhere in the house, I’m sure” (or at least on the property I thought but didn’t say) I ruffled his hair.
“I know. He’s in his cage. The dream woke me up and I had to check on him right then, it was the only way I could fall back asleep. But he’s good. I’m gonna pay better attention to him. I think he’s been lonely.” Coop said but I was only half paying attention. He’d lost me at the part where he said Kipling was in his cage. I looked around to the other side of the bed and saw his beady black eyes staring out of his plastic igloo house. He never broke eye contact with me. He walked out and stood doing that irritating nose crinkle thing. I gave him the evil eye.
On my way home from dropping Cooper off at school, I pondered the seemingly indestructible pig-rat who somehow still lived in my house. There had to be some rational explanation for both resurrections. I decided that Jack probably had the freezer door open when he was making dinner and Kipling climbed out the. As for the toilet, I never actually saw him go down, so it’s likely he didn’t get flushed at all and made his way up and out, finally drying off in the wood chips on the floor of his cage. Well, maybe it was all for the best. Poor Coop was pretty upset this morning.
Cooper had soccer practice after school and I had meetings in the city all day. Jack showed up to relieve me from parenting duties so I could get some work done on the book. And so, it was me who discovered the acts of rodent vandalism that had occurred in our absence. The deep freeze in the mudroom sat in the center of a huge puddle of water and a fishy odor scented the air. I opened the lid. Everything was defrosted and warm including a bag of fish sticks the smell of which dominated everything else we’d kept in there. I wondered if the freezer had shut down sometime last night and we hadn’t even realized it. It was cold when I threw Kipling in though…Kipling…. I pulled the freezer out from the wall and there it was, the chewed up power cord, the severed piece still plugged into the wall.
“You’re dead, Cuy” I said, and then to clarify “that’s guinea pig meat in South America.” All I had to do was find the hairy demon. I changed the tone of my voice.
“Hey, Mr. Kipling” I called out sweetly, “How about some cheese? You want some cheese?” I looked around but no sign of the rodent. Then I saw the trail of wood chips leading into the bathroom. I followed it as silently as I could, hoping to catch him unawares. He one-upped me again. The chips hadn’t fallen from his fur as he ran to hide from me. No, they fell from the pile after pile he somehow carted into the bathroom and stuffed into the toilet. I let out a war cry that would have made Braveheart cringe. And there he was Mother Fucking Kipling. Taunting me in that piggy way of his. In my frenzied rage, I lunged at him, scooping him against me like a football.
Dripping wet and coated in used wood chip litter, Little Satan and I took a trip to the garbage disposal. I was done taking chances with the pig. I shoved him through the black rubber sphincter into disposal limbo. I turned on the water full force, I could see him rooting around in the tiny space.
“Adios Asshole” I said and flipped the switch. The disposal grumbled to life. I heard the squeals of the mechanically separated pig. I laughed at my joke. Mechanically separated. I leaned my head into the sink, up against the gurgling hole.
“I’m in the mood for a pulled pork sandwich” I said. With my head that close, I saw some blood spatters that had come up out of the death chamber. He was dead. Had to be. I turned the switch off and grabbed an SOS pad.
I had just finished mopping up the bathroom floor when the boys got home. Cooper checked on Kipling’s cage first thing and immediately filed a missing pig report.
“Well, we know he’s alive” Jack said holding up the chewed freezer cord. That was enough to appease Coop.
“Yeah, he’s kind of a bad guinea pig…but I still love him” Coop, ever the good-hearted optimist, declared.
“I know, Bud. We’ll find him tomorrow. We always do” Jack ruffled Cooper’s hair “Go jump in the shower and I’ll be up to tuck you in.”
I said nothing. Remaining silent about the murder of your child’s beloved pet in my opinion, is the best way to handle that particular situation. Especially when you are the murderer of said pet.
I showered before bed as well. I felt like I was covered in microscopic blood spatters; a forensic scientist’s wet dream. I fell in to bed and off to sleep with a clear and unburdened conscious.
At 3:33 am, I awoke from my slumber due to an itch on my nose. That feeling you always seem to get in bed that some bug is crawling on you; that’s what I felt on my nose. I reached up to itch and bumped into a furry lump sitting on my chest. I flipped on the bedside lamp and screamed, lashing out slapping at the hideous thing parked on top of me. Jack jumped up.
“What? Lori! What…” he saw it then too “Oh shit, what the fuck?” He reached out and snatched the beast off of me. “Oh my god, Mr. Kipling, buddy, what happened to you?” He wasn’t comforting me, his wife, who had just awakened to find a zombie guinea pig in my face. Instead, he was inspecting Kipling who had huge patches of naked, bloodied skin exposed where his hair had been torn out (by circulating blades, I knew, Jack didn’t). He was missing half his left front paw and his right rear foot was gone entirely. The stump was covered in dried blood. His lower lip protruded and hung loosely in a perpetual pout. He was damaged but he wasn’t dead. Somehow, he was not dead.
“What do you think he got into?” Jack asked, still stunned by Kipling’s condition.
“I have no idea” I lied again. “But, Jack” I put my hand on his arm and gave him the weak, needy wife look “We can’t let Cooper see him like this. The poor thing is suffering. I think we need to put him out of his misery.”
“What? I can’t do that? No, Lori. That’s awful. Let’s make up a comfy box for him for the night and as soon as Cooper gets to school, we’ll take Mr. Kipling to the vet.” Ugh. So much for me being the weak one in the relationship.
“Ok, Ok.” I gave in, defeated and then I thought, but what if poor little Kipling passes before we can get him to the vet. “Why don’t you take Cooper to school tomorrow, I’ll try to clean up some of those cuts and whatnot before we take him in?”
I helped Jack put together the hospital box and tucked Kipling in.
As soon as Jack and Cooper left, I grabbed the meat mallet from the kitchen drawer. Kipling was still in the box, sleeping. I laid a blanket over him and whacked him in the head with the mallet. Not so hard that I would crush his skull, I was just hoping for a nice heavy brain bleed. I picked him up through the blanket. His body hung limp and lifeless but still warm in my hand. Perfect. I put the mallet away. I feigned a headache when Jack got back so he took Kipling without me. I waited for the call from Jack telling me the Kipling was dead.
Jack came home with Kipling two hours later. Kipling was wrapped in bandages in several places but decidedly NOT dead. Kipling lay in his boot box, watching me, always watching me. He had to die.
I had a brilliant plan though and this one would work. What Kipling needed was to go one on one with someone more his own size. The last time I bought food for him at the pet store, there was a man there buying frozen rats for his pet snake and lamenting how much the snake preferred live prey. He’d put up a sign on the community bulletin board offering to take any unwanted small mammal pets off people’s hands. I had to “run some errands” I said, leaving Jack to stay home and care for the broken Kipling and to pick up Cooper from school.
Sitting in the parking lot of the pet store, I called “Mike” and offered up a sacrifice to the snake god, Thor. Mike sounded morbidly excited at the prospect and agreed to come by the house tomorrow and pick up the ailing pig.
Jack and I had decided to not tell Cooper about Mr. Kipling until we were sure he was going to make it, so we told him that we’d seen him and chased him around the house, but couldn’t catch him. I think Coop was actually fine with that because it meant his pet was still alive but Cooper could not be expected to do any of the responsible owner chores that came with having a pet.
The following day, Mike came and went with his boot box full of snake food. And that evening, Mike came back. Cooper answered the doorbell—I assumed it was the UPS—then I saw Mike standing there.
“Cooper!” I yelled. Coop jumped. “Sorry, buddy, but ah, I’ll get the door, can you go check to see If the washing machine is done?” He gave me a puzzled look. I had never asked him to do that before. But he did, seemingly completely disinterested in the stranger holding a boot box on their front porch.
“Hello?” I said confused. I could see a furry lump in the box he was shoving at me.
“Here. Take your fuckin’ rabid, fuckin’ Cujo pig” He said, stammering over his angry words “fuckin thing killed my Boa”
“What?” I said shocked. “How? I mean, the thing is half dead as it is.” I glanced in the box again and there he was, his head popped out from under the blanket, peering at me with those unholy black eyes. His lip bloodied and torn even more. One edge was now transected away giving his lip an asymmetric sneer. I shivered but I took the box. “I…I don’t know what to say. I’m so sorry. That was obviously not my intention”
“Yeah, whatever. Thanks” He said and left.
“You are really the devil, aren’t you?” I asked the thing in the box.
“Mom. The washer is still…Hey! Is that Mr. Kipling” He said pulling at the box “Oh no! What happened?” He pulled the blanket back horrified.
“Oh, Coop. I was trying to keep this from you.” I said thinking furiously “but, he ran out the front door this morning and got hit by a car. That man at the door; he hit Mr. Kipling. He felt so terrible, he took him to the vet. They did all they could for him.” I laid a hand on Kipling. The little creature was still glaring at me.
“Is he dead?” Cooper asked. He didn’t know! He didn’t see the thing breathing. This was my chance. I pulled the blanket over Kipling.
“Yes, he is. I’m so sorry honey.” I put the box under my arm so Coop couldn’t see him. “Do you want to go bury him with me?” My sweet Coop nodded. He sniffled once but I didn’t see any tears. He was trying to be strong.
The devil pig never moved, he lay on his side, his lip sagging, his little chest panting in and out impossibly fast. We dug deeper than I ever would have for any other pet, but I think you realize by now, this was no ordinary pet. I placed the box in the hole silently willing Kipling not to move. He didn’t. I scooped up as much dirt as I could get on the shovel and dumped it right on him. One after another, I dumped shovelfuls of soil into the void until it was more or less even with the ground around it.
It was over. Finally, I was free of the evil thing. I walked Cooper back to the house.
“Hey, Mom,” Cooper said perking up “Can I get a ferret?”