This morning the small inhabitants of my home accosted me, with accusatory demands for a mouse.
Not just any mouse, but the Four Dollar Mouse. (Which makes it even more of dreadful of me to say no.) This Four Dollar Mouse is talked about in wistful tones, and the low, low cost meant to dig the knife in deeper. Like, "You will buy us a FIVE dollar pizza, but not a FOUR dollar darling, living creature to have and to hold??"
I tell them we have a house full of predators: cats, dogs and Phoenix, who is certainly part raptor and whether I mean raptor as in bird of prey, or as in velociraptor, I am not sure. Distract and divert, that's my game. Bring up the thrilling chase of a predator! The poor cowering mouse, alone in a house of meat-eaters!
It doesn't work.
It's my parents' fault.
The next part of the accusatory demands go like this: "Yeah, well tell us what animals YOU had growing up." And here goes the litany, rather than the lies, lies, lies I should spill out of my mouth.
("None! We had no pets. Only books and dustballs. And the occasional bat.")
I shouldn't blame Mom, I know she was a victim of the menagerie that our house became.
My Dad could not say no, and since he is no longer here to argue, he is getting thrown under the bus. I feel certain that if I had pressed him hard enough, he would have found a unicorn and tethered it with starlight in the backyard.
But in the absence of unicorns, he sure did deliver: A breeding pair of German Shepherds, and dozens of wonderful puppies for years; a pony named Spanky, handily delivered in the back of a pick-up truck; a smelly goat named Thomas; inside kitties and outside kitties; colorful finches in a cage on the stairway; an Appaloosa horse named Liz; white geese, farm chickens, Bantam chickens, ducks, goldfish, and a terrarium of lizards captured from the yard. And water turtles from the river. And a Cairn terrier named Sidney, who was an inveterate leg-humper. I have the nagging feeling I'm forgetting some.
And I can't deny, my brood is right - it was a perfect pet-ridden childhood.
But I'm still not buying a Four Dollar Mouse.