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Eminence

Pet Hate

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Eminence

 

Okay, so before I start, let me just say: you're probably going to call me a jerk for this. Yeah, I know. But you have to understand, you can only push a man so far. You guys know this. You've probably been in a similar situation. Now I don't want to say something like, you know, the way I choose to deal with this situation makes me a bigger man than any of you are. That's not what I'm saying. But we know this, we know – a man is defined by his actions.

 

So you could say that my actions make me a bigger man than you are.

 

Anyway, you guys all know the way this story starts. Beautiful wife, ten years younger than me. Two beautiful kids, girl and boy, the dream, right? And that's where that ten years comes in handy, because after having two kids, it makes all the difference, you know? Who am I kidding, you've seen her. I've seen the way you look at her when you do. You guys know. We know this. It's fine.

 

But that ten years, it makes all the difference in terms of, in terms of the sound decision making behind things. It's like, I'm not talking gender politics here, I'm talking age politics. Hell, I'm not really talking that either, I'm talking – it's just experience. Right? Respect your elders and all that. Guy – or gal's – been on this planet ten more years than you have, you ought to respect their opinion on things.

 

So it's like, we decide to get married. Good decision. We decide to have kids. Good decision. We set up college funds for those kids. Great decision. I decide to buy a fifty-inch LCD – skip the 3D and go bigger, you know? – another great decision. Unanimous. We know this.

 

She decides to buy the kids a fucking pet bunny? Bad decision.

 

Let me go into the rationale of why that's a bad decision. Is it a bad decision because it makes the kids happy? Of course not. Is it a bad decision because it gives those animals a loving home to go into? Nope.

 

It's a bad decision because, let's get down to it, at the end of the day, the burden of looking after the damn thing falls on me. Sure, it teaches the kids about responsibility, teaches them how to look after the thing – for about a week.

 

But then what? What when they get bored of doing the heavy lifting and they just want to go and play with Bubbles – Bubbles is the thing's name, by the way – and not have to worry about all the other stuff? And yeah, I know, 'play' is a bit of a stretch… the thing just sits there, maybe shuffles about once or twice a day. Even with the biggest hearts in the world, there's only so long the kids can be expected to sit there and be entertained by this.

 

And I can't exactly begrudge them this, you know? They're kids, damnit! I can't honestly expect them to shoulder such a large responsibility at such a tender age. You can instill values into them but there comes a point where it's just damn cruel. You have to let 'em go have their fun.

 

So it falls on me to feed Bubbles, to keep her healthy, to clean her shit. And I'm a good, hardworking, decent guy, you know? I love the little things. What am I supposed to do? Let Bubbles starve to death? No, I'm not a cruel man.

 

So it falls on me to provide for this extra little member of the family. Have you seen the price of pet insurance? Pet insurance! No thank you.

 

So you can imagine my delight when the vet tosses us a free consultation and tells us that Bubbles is ill. Endocryoplasmowhogivesafuck. So you can imagine my delight when he tells me that, far from being cruel, the humane thing to do is to put Bubbles down.

 

The humane thing to do. I'm all for that.

 

I let her tell the kids. She brought Bubbles into this world, she can deal with the repercussions. It didn't go down well, but then, what would you expect? I suppose that's one good thing that comes from it all. There's something about pets that can – you know, it can help teach kids about life and death. So maybe it was a good decision after all. I don't know, that one's less unanimous. You can fight it out amongst yourselves. And don't let your feelings for my wife cloud your judgement, you sly bastards.

 

So anyway, after I came home from the vet I stopped off at an underpass next to the river. Nice night. Warm. It was pretty, you know, I guess you could say pastoral. The sun was just going down on the horizon, birds were chirping, waves were sparkling. It was humbling, you know? I felt really good about things.

 

Oh, so here's the crux of it all, time to tell me if I'm a jerk or not. Because the vet, he tells me that the consultation is free, but the injection's gonna cost close to a hundred dollars. And I stare at him, and I have this look – you know the look – this look on my face. He can see it. I wonder how many times a day he sees it. And I just said to him, that ain't humane. That's cruel.

 

So I rooted round the car a little while when I got to the river, found a plastic bag, a cable tie. There were already some pretty decent rocks waiting for me when I got there, I guess they were the key ingredient. And then bombs away.

 

I don't know if I was making sure or if I stayed for so long because I was truly enjoying the ambience of it all. I don't know. I just remember staring down at the face of the water a little tense like, a little worried, all the while wondering if Bubbles would rise to the surface.

 

 

Pet Hate
Edited by Eminence

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Ziggy455

I know that prose isn't your forte; alas, we all know. But this is a solid piece. It feels more like dialogue than actual descriptive prose, and there's nothing wrong with that at all. It was a great read; the nervous, quirkiness of the piece retained my attention. Grammar-wise? Ain't got f*ck all on it. The story itself feels like it's sort of a prelude? Like we're seeing the first step of a serial-killer. Bunnies to bigger prey, bigger prey to people.

 

Is this a one shot, or do you have more on the way? I'm liking it. It doesn't try too hard, and it's got a dark essence about it which I like. As for the bunny-killing, I like how you alluded to it, but you didn't explain it in gory detail. I think that gives me more of a feeling of curiosity. I want to see more though. I want to see where you're taking this cheap character.

 

 

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Eminence

 

I know that prose isn't your forte; alas, we all know.

Haha, you're the first person to describe me in that way! Before sort of focusing exclusively on screenplays in the last year or two, all I wrote was prose... so I wouldn't really say it's not my forte. tounge.gif

 

It is just the one short, to be honest. No plans to take it further - he's not supposed to be a serial killer or anything. And obviously it sounding like dialogue is intentional, because it is just one long monologue.

 

It's nothing special, mind. Just a little something I cooked up and thrashed out without thinking too much on the subject. I'm glad it stirred up some curiosity in you... unfortunately it'll have to be left a little unsatisfied!

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Tyler

Good stuff, man. The ending left me smiling quite widely. Especially:

 

 

And I stare at him, and I have this look – you know the look – this look on my face. He can see it. I wonder how many times a day he sees it. And I just said to him, that ain't humane. That's cruel.

 

biggrin.gif Love it. Also, I'd agree that this sounds like a dialogue, what with the 2nd person narrative. It's a little short for formal critique, but suffice to say I enjoyed the pacing and the subject of it. Glad you posted it, Em.

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Mokrie Dela

Firstly I love how the opening almost makes us think you're saying something, like "before I start, lets clear something up. blah blah blah. Good, now the story:"

That pulled me in nicely, like you was making a point, but then I realised it was part of it. Nice.

 

I like the personal style to it. It really feels like someone's telling me this story. I'm not there, i'm not seeing the bunny, or immersed in it in the normal way, but give me a beer and it'd feel like my mate (incidentally my best mate HAS a rabbit) is telling me this. That's what i like. I'm not gaping in awe at this, but I rather enjoyed it. I also feel that it's better as a oneshot. If you expanded it i would worry that it would feel like it's trying too hard, and at the moment it feels quite casual.

 

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El Zilcho

I found this piece a bit disappointing.

 

While reading, I felt that the protagonist's angst and bile were coming through in droves, intentionally no doubt, and that characterisation is always a plus for me. It struck me as how someone would act in the early stages of snapping, before 'going postal'. But it felt a little shallow; perhaps it was because of all the 'nudge nudge, say no more' sort of hints towards his wife, all the peculiar familiarity. It felt forced, which is an easy mistake to make with this type of piece (and no doubt I've fallen into the trap too), as it is compact, starts from scratch and yet seeks to produced a specific feel. Not easy.

 

The only part I can honestly say that was befitting of your talents would be the final paragraph. Something about it was unnerving, probably the implied sadism, but also the fact it seemed to hark back to horror movie endings (Friday 13th tounge.gif) when the villain re-emerges from near death. Except this wasn't a man the protagonist was waiting for, but a pet.

 

I think this piece missed, most of all, a chance to really sucker punch. To really grab the audience with something shocking, to accentuate the immorality, while still being subtle. You could have done that, it is well within your ability. I just feel as if you didn't.

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Eminence
I think this piece missed, most of all, a chance to really sucker punch. To really grab the audience with something shocking, to accentuate the immorality, while still being subtle. You could have done that, it is well within your ability. I just feel as if you didn't.

Could you elaborate on this at all? Feels a bit vague to me, not sure what you really mean in terms of stuff on the page.

 

I get what you're saying about it feeling a little forced. It's all pretty one-note, a bit one dimensional, perhaps. I'd say the shallowness was intentional, but then I guess I'd say it was all intentional, really. tounge.gif

 

Thanks to Mokrie and Tyler also for the feedback! Much appreciated.

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El Zilcho
I think this piece missed, most of all, a chance to really sucker punch. To really grab the audience with something shocking, to accentuate the immorality, while still being subtle. You could have done that, it is well within your ability. I just feel as if you didn't.

Could you elaborate on this at all? Feels a bit vague to me, not sure what you really mean in terms of stuff on the page.

 

I get what you're saying about it feeling a little forced. It's all pretty one-note, a bit one dimensional, perhaps. I'd say the shallowness was intentional, but then I guess I'd say it was all intentional, really. tounge.gif

I speak in generalisations a lot, my bad aha.

 

I got the impression the most important feature of the piece was this sort of suburban sadism - this man's strange hatred of the bunny, for no apparent reason. But the fact that his target was a bunny, the fact that his 'crime' was so very quickly over, and the fact the flippancy of the act wasn't highlighted enough (I thought the spontaneity of his killing made it even crueller) missed a trick.

 

Basically, killing the bunny was over too quickly, and meant far less than it could have.

 

 

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Ronmar The Only

Interesting little flash fiction.

 

I think adding stuff about how the kids treated the bunny first and then how the burden falls on him might be a plus (demonstrating all the sh*t, both literal and figurative, that the narrator has to deal with).

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