Lesson Learned

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


All summer, my son Charlie begged for pet mice or rats.

I had both mice and rats in the past. The mice, when I was much younger. Pipsqueak, who lived a brief life; Bud, who ate Pipsqueak after she passed which was quite traumatic; and Lucky, who, rather unluckily, grew tumor after tumor and was euthanized after my father put his foot down that he would not be paying another forty dollars to have a second tumor removed from this poor mouse.

I concluded Charlie would enjoy a rat’s more engaging personality, and the rat would benefit from its heartier build when being handled by an enthusiastic six-year-old boy. I gave him the speech—his pets, his responsibility.

And so, despite my husband’s quiet reproval, we began the rigorous process of rescuing two male rats. There is no easy or casual way to ask your friends to take time out of their busy schedule to write a letter of recommendation to­ ­a rat rescue group attesting that you will be the epitome of a loving and responsible rat parent. Once approved, we picked up our new boys, Ricky and Flash. (Had we been denied, it would have led to some deep introspection).

It turned out I didn’t have to worry about if Charlie would engage more with a mouse or a rat, or which one he would be more capable of handling. The first time Flash crawled over his pant-covered leg and with those “hurt-tickle” little claws, Charlie wanted nothing more to do with them. Occasionally, he paused at the cage before heading up the stairs for bed and gave them a little wave and a “Hi, rats.” So, he at least acknowledged their existence. And thus, in a tale as old as time—my pets, my responsibility.

 


Submitted: January 24, 2023

© Copyright 2023 Emily Durant. All rights reserved.

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charlamaye

Nice job Emily may I recommend my short stories the mountain woman and the ears

Tue, January 24th, 2023 11:47pm

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