Living with three rats, two gerbils and two dogs meant mornings full of mayhem. Mornings that you weren’t prepared for if you had not been the one to slowly acquire all of these animals to begin with. This was the situation Ruby found herself in when she moved in with her lifelong friend Bee.
She had known that they had a soft spot for any animal. That fact had been firmly cemented the night they had gone out for drinks and Bee spent almost an hour fussing over a random pigeon who had been hopping on one leg.
“What should I buy before adopting a cat?” Bee called out from the kitchen. They were seated cross-legged on the stool, their laptop crammed between mountains of dog toys, bags of exotic pet food and miscellaneous bedding.
Ruby was currently completing her daily chore of refilling the rat’s food bowls in the living room where she had found herself fussing over one of the animals who refused to eat. She prayed that a trip to the animal hospital wasn’t going to be on her to-do list this week. “You’re not adopting a cat,” Ruby called back absent-mindedly. “Our landlord will go nuts.”
She brushed the rat’s fur, checking for signs that it might be sick by investigating its eyes for any crust or redness. The rat purred happily, mistaking her concern of a vet bill for affection. Bee padded into the living room and Ruby glanced back long enough to notice the desperate look on their face.
“No buts,” Ruby cut them off. Just then, the rat slipped out from under her grasp and began to nibble at the pellets she had laid out. Crisis averted. She turned to look at her friend, who she figured was now responsible for owning half of the pets found in Clyde (vet hospitals around the suburb must be sending thank-you letters for their part in keeping their businesses afloat).
She pushed past them into the kitchen, gingerly avoiding tripping over the rabbit that hopped between her feet excitedly. It was probably hoping for a treat, which she gladly obliged. Bee followed them into the kitchen and she shut down the conversation before they could speak.
“If I come home to something meowing from your room,” she pointed an accusatory finger at them, “I will be watching the season finale of Singles Date Island without you this week.”