Salt

Now it’s fair to say that Stan wasn’t very pleasant, but here’s someone who, in a different way, is much worse.

Can I tell you something, Jen? Promise not tell anyone? Okay… I’ve been deliberately poisoning the dog.

Don’t shout down the phone at me like that, Jen, hon. You don’t know how I feel about him. No, not ‘him’ the dog, ‘him’ the vet. Whenever I see him, I feel all giddy inside. Those deep, dark eyes looking at me. Those big, manly, caring hands. So I had to keep finding a way to see him, and making the dog poorly was the best I could think of.

So I’ve been putting tons of salt in his food. Yeah, ‘him’ the dog this time, not ‘him’ the vet. The vet’s name is Tobias. I like that name. The dog’s name is Rambo, you remember, bloody stupid name for a Yorkie. Yeah, the one that used to be my brother’s, before he legged it with that blonde from number eighty-four. No, ‘he’ my brother, not ‘he’ the dog. Stop confusing me.

So yeah, I put salt in Rambo’s food. He’s got liver and kidney problems, Tobias – I call him ‘Toby’ in my head, or sometimes just ‘babe’ – says. He looks at me all concerned – Toby, not Rambo, are you trying to wind me up? – and asks how the dog’s diet is. I tell him it’s fine, but really, as well as loading salt into his Pedigree Chum, I’ve been feeding him bags of smoky bacon crisps. I’m a rotten cow, aren’t I? ‘Rambo’s very dehydrated,’ Toby said this morning. ‘Make sure he drinks plenty of water. We might need to run tests on him.’

I hope not, mind. I can’t afford tests. Maybe I should start giving the dog more water and less salt for a few days, make him get a bit better. I don’t want him to die, after all. Then I won’t have a reason to see Toby. Yeah, I’ll do that. Make him better, make him worse, get the balancing act right, keep seeing Toby.

Look, there he is now, oh hell, he’s crapping on the carpet again – no, not Toby, the bloody dog, all right? Get out, you filthy animal, get in the garden! Yeah, yeah, he’s gone, he’s run outside, I see him… shit, I’ve left the gate open. Rambo! Rambo, get back here, shit, I’m going to have to get him, I don’t want him to get…

Fuck, he’s been hit by a car. Fuck, fuck, fuck! Rambo? Rambo, you stupid bloody dog! You still there, Jen? He’s dead, the bloody dog’s dead. What am I going to do now? I was supposed to see Toby on Monday. Yeah, I’m going back in now. Yeah, yeah, he’s still out there, council will take him away I reckon. Forget that, how am I going to see Toby now? I could cry. What’s that? Get another dog? Are you joking me… no, you’re right. You’re right, hon! I could get another dog

I’ll go down the animal shelter tomorrow, pick out another one, maybe something a bit less prissy than that bloody Yorkie. And I’ll get some more crisps in. All right, Jen, I better go. Catch up soon, yeah? You going to Kel’s party next week? Brilliant, I’ll tell you how I’m going with Toby then. Bye, hon!

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