I like dogs and cats and I have one of each. I don’t cook for them or buy them special food but I do give them table scraps and they seem perfectly content. They know better than to mess in the house, sleep in my bed or lie on the couch. I don’t buy them special toys but I do leave around a couple of cardboard FedEx boxes and a variety of balls—from wiffle to beach. I don’t have cute names for them or any names for that matter except dog and cat and I don’t take pictures of them and post them on Facebook.
I picked up a toddler’s trampoline at a garage sale and brought it home for my nephew to use when he comes over. It’s round and three feet across and has both an opening and a two foot high safety net around it. They’ve taken quite the shine to it and I set up a trampo-cam so I can watch them bounce on it from my office computer.
One of my fellow cubicle workers watched it over my shoulder and put it up on YouTube. It went viral in a matter of days and I now have ads for cat and dog food as well pet toys and pet vitamins on the site.
These companies sent over cases of dog and cat food and then a box of vitamins and several boxes of pet toys. Now they will only eat the official dog and cat food and they lie on my bed and couch for their photo shoots and have taken to ignoring the trampoline in favor of their new toys.
My YouTube visits have trailed off enough to have my sponsors drop me in favor of a dog and cat who build things with Legos. I put all of the pet toys and food on the curb with a Help Yourself sign and went back to my life as before. The dog and cat staged a hunger strike for a few days but finally came around to table scraps again.
They ignore the trampoline so I put that out on the curb also and a couple of weeks later I bought two nine foot poles, shower curtain holders actually, and with the flanges already in place screwed them to the living room ceiling and floor. In a few days the dog and cat had begun to pole dance and after a couple of weeks they were damned good at it.
I never learn and I brought out the pole-cam and watched it from my cubicle and the same co-worker put it on YouTube and knocked the Lego building cats into oblivion. The boxes of food, vitamins, toys and fancy pole dancing clothes began arriving and this time besides going viral they got an agent who lined up guest shots on TV and soon they had their own special on The Animal Channel. Some complaints came into the station about their costumes being too suggestive for kids and the whole pole dancing thing took a hit. Their agent dropped them and took up with a team of hamsters bowling with marbles.
I once again did a Help Yourself at the curb and cleaned out the house of dog and cat stuff. Summer had come so I put them out in the fenced in yard with a couple of doggie squeak toys for Roscoe and some cat nip for Miss Kitty and brought them in for dinner with their table scraps. The was no hunger strike this time but one day I looked over at them and they were lying down facing each other arm wrestling. I ran for the arm-cam but instead of hooking it up I brought it to work and put it in the break room with a Help Yourself sign.
About the Author: Paul Beckman’s story, “Healing Time,” was one of the winners in the 2016 The Best Small Fictions and his 100 word story, “Mom’s Goodbye,” was chosen as the winner of the 2016 Fiction Southeast Editor’s Prize. His stories are widely published in print and online in the following magazines amongst others: Connecticut Review, Raleigh Review, Litro, Playboy, Pank, Blue Fifth Review, Flash Frontier, Matter Press, Metazen, Pure Slush, Jellyfish Magazine, Thrice Fiction, and Literary Orphans. His latest collection, Peek, weighed in at sixty-five stories and 120 pages. Paul lives in Connecticut and earned his MFA from Bennington College. His published story website is here and blog can be found here.