Welcome to Mar’s Archives, where I’ll be collecting various of my pieces from the last few years in one clean and shiny Internet location. This story is from Dec. ’04, and reflects an obsession with PetMeds that thankfully has passed.
1. Once upon a time there was a curious white boy who never got quite as many hand jobs as he could have made use of. He liked marijuana and technology and foods with low caloric content and danger. He enjoyed a liminal existence on the edge of a Great City, until he was 18. Then he went to seek his fortune in the city. He achieved a middling level of success. Sometimes, he did not know who he was. One day, he died.
2. The boy’s pet was lonely. The pet was a dog who wanted to get fat, but it never did.
3. The boy had occasional ephiphanies, which were pleasing and fleeting. They had to do with either phenomena of nature or small victories.
4. When the boy was nervous, he bit the inside of his cheeks. He often felt nervous when amidst his ethnic acquaintances, or when his girlfriend’s lesbian friend came over. The lesbian was sort of fierce and critical. She filled him with lust and despair. Sometimes, she and the boy played pool in the basement of the girlfriend’s house.
5. The boy liked Things, and these enriched his life.
6. The boy was surprised at how quickly he got old, and felt slightly betrayed.
7. The boy dreamed about cancer. This was a prophecy. But it applied to half his generation anyway, so it was not that magnificent of a prophecy.
8. The boy was curious about: pretty women that passed him on the street; what people really thought about him; whether or not his dreams would come true; the wide world of sports.
9. The boy wanted: more power, more knowledge, never to die, more h.j.s, more things, peace of mind, a boat, and for people to quit criticizing him.
10. He found babies scary and unwieldy. One day he had one, and after a while he loved it. Then he was always worried about it, for the rest of his life. It hurt his feelings when the baby didn’t like him. The boy never understood whether or not the moon was important. He thought that it might be. Music and carbs often comforted him. He wished that he knew more about why things are the way that they are.
11. The boy’s pet, the dog, felt that it never attained its obesity potential, which was its only dream. He took it out on the boy by farting frequently. The boy bought him some PetMeds (charcoal) for it. He had the PetMeds shipped to him, as it was annoying to have to buy them from the store all the time. They made no difference, because the dog was determined. The boy’s wife (once his girlfriend) compensated with Glade Plug-ins. These did not completely work either.
In middle age, finally, the boy took to smoking cigars inside. This covered the smell, but led to mouth cancer, of which he died. The boy never knew that he had died for the death of the dog’s dream, but he suspected that some sort of trickery had been involved the whole time. He was right – his life was controlled by forces outside his control, but they were not as vast or unknowable as they had seemed. This would not have been of comfort to him. In fact, it made the dog sad, too.
Epilogue: At one point, he did get a boat, and he sailed around on it in the summer with his kid and murderous dog. His wife made tall sweaty pitchers of mint juleps, and they drank them, and he would say “Well then,” because at these times he often felt all right.