We were only supposed to get some fish.
We were replacing the victims of our murderous goldfish, Dotty. The other fish just kept…vanishing. The little frog got caught in the filter – shoved in, we were certain, by our resident cannibal. When Dotty finally died, only one little fishy was left, the one I’d dubbed Shadow for his ability to lurk behind the plastic plants and avoid his friends’ fate. I thought he’d like having the tank to himself, having been traumatized by Dotty, but Dad said we should get him some more friends. So off we went to the pet store.
And there were kittens.
Two of them, one gray tabby and his dark, smoky gray brother, mewling from behind the glass. (I seem to remember a story about the litter being found on the side of the road in a cardboard box, but that could just be me combining Homeward Bound 2 with my own memories. I was mostly focused on the adorable bundle of wriggly fuzziness.) Dad said we could hold them, a fatal mistake, because Bird and I had already telepathically agreed that we were taking these kittens home. The only problem was how to convince our father that we needed both of them.
“Here, Daddy,” I said, handing him the gray one that resembled a little bear. “He likes you.”
“Here, Daddy,” Bird said, handing him the stripey one. “This one’s so soft!”
Dad could tell we weren’t leaving without a feline, so he sighed and asked which one we wanted.
“Oh, you pick, Daddy!” we chorused.
He looked at us. He looked at the kittens. “Well,” he said resignedly, “it’d be a shame to split up brothers.”
So now we have Sitka (the striped one) and Kodiak (the little gray bear, Kodi for short) because Dad’s one condition was that he get to name them.
This set a precedent for Bird to get a dog two years ago. After visiting the Humane Society, she set her sights on a Husky mix. So she sent Dad pictures of the dog with the caption “Dickens says good morning…from his cold, lonely cell…If only someone would take him home…”
The next time I came home from school, we had a dog.
Now we just need to work on getting that pony…