little ditty bout Jack and Diana
Is there a point to it all? Let me tell you a little ditty.
For a long time I had a pet California King Snake. A real beauty. The only downside was that it ate live mice and I’ve always been a little squeamish about watching animals eat other animals. As soon as the nature documentary gets to the part where the lion starts sprinting towards the zebra I change the channel. Problem was after my scaly companion grew to a certain length he wouldn’t eat the little frozen ones I would buy in bags of ten. Eventually he wanted the thrill of the hunt or maybe he just liked the taste of fresh meat.
Either way I was forced to start buying mice for him or face watching him starve to death. No changing the channel on that show.
I named him Jack after my neighbor. Jack was a playboy of sorts, always bringing different women home with him. I’d see them once and then they would disappear back into the pool of faceless conquests that made up Jack’s dating life. He was pretty cold blooded so I thought naming a reptile after him seemed appropriate.
If you videotaped my buying a mouse at the pet store it would be damn funny. The way I pick it out. The way I don’t make eye contact with it on the drive home. The way I refuse to acknowledge it in any way before dumping it into Jack’s tank.
I just don’t have the heart for it. I literally just slide it in and then make a dash out of the room before the inevitable horrible thrashing sounds and squeaking begin. I watched one time and it took me a week to pull myself together. I swear the mouse was glaring at me the whole time.
“You sick bastard” his eyes seemed to say to me. “Are you happy? Are you happy now?! What kind of sick fuck are you? EEEEEeeeeakk.” (Note: if you read that in a voice similar to Sam Kineson you are spot on)
Then one day during my drop-and-dash routine I lingered a little within earshot because the typical thrashing noises were going on a bit longer than usual and the squeaking was a little more harsh. Then the thrashing noises went on way longer than usual and then there was a stony silence.
I creeped back into the room and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Not only was the mouse still alive but he had kicked the living shit out of Jack. He had bites all over him. The mouse had taken some abuse as well and the until-recently-white fur had more than a few red spots adorning it. The mouse sat in one corner and the snake in the other and it looked like they were catching their breath between rounds.
It just so happened that this was the same day that Diana moved in with Jack. The friend, not the snake. Well, the friend who was a bit of a snake as opposed to the snake that was pretty much all snake. Although in his case I don’t mean it in a bad way.
He had slept with Diana and they had gotten along swimmingly so it was decided that she would move in but it was understood by all parties, particularly Diana (if Jack the friend was to be believed), that it was an open relationship and it would in no way change his roguish behavior or appetites.
I found this all out when I went over to tell Jack about Jack. As shocking as my snake-related news was I was actually more surprised by this cohabitation information. I never thought I’d see the day.
A little dizzy I stumbled back in the house and looked in the tank and almost fell over. The mouse was curled up and sleeping next to Jack.
Diana it was.
I wasn’t sure if the mouse was a boy or a girl, having never taken the time to learn if mice had dicks or where I would begin looking for one, but there was no question its name was now Diana.
As cozy as the scene appeared there was no question that Jack was still hungry. Companionship can only go so far so the next day it was off to the pet store to acquire another rodent.
Which I did.
I repeated my mice-dumping ritual but halfway out the room my curiosity overcame my natural inclination to avoid seeing any creature get killed and consumed and I stayed and watched what transpired. It was actually a bit dull in the fact that Jack grabbed this newcomer, squeezed the crap out of him until it was dead and then ate it.
All while Diana sat and watched.
I was relieved to note that instead of giving me the evil eye during the proceedings the mouse chose to glare at Diana. I could only wonder what was going through both of their minds at the time. Eventually the question was answered on behalf of the new mouse because what was going through its mind was all of its internal organs as its eyes popped clean out and blood shot out of its mouth.
Diana looked on impassively.
Or did she?
Hard to tell with mice. I could have sworn I saw a little yawn.
Obviously at this point in time you’re putting two and two together and wondering how the human Jack and Diana couple were getting along. Also hard to say. If they lived in an apartment above me I could have perhaps been privy to muffled conversations but they lived across the street so I wasn’t. Jack didn’t stop bringing other women home but I saw enough of Diana to know that she was still inhabiting his residence.
Honestly I’m not sure what either of them got out of it. The snake Jack and mouse Diana I mean. They would spend their days curled up together but the mouse wasn’t getting any body heat from the snake and Jack sure as hell wasn’t looking to Diana to warm up as he had a nice heat lamp plugged in and at the ready twenty four hours a day. But still they always seemed to be together.
It was that way until Diana died. A couple years they spent together in that tank. Funny thing was that Jack didn’t eat her(?) corpse, she laid there in the tank until I scooped her(?) out and threw her(?) away. I didn’t want to call her(?) ‘it’ because by then she(?) was part of the family and screw you if you can’t put up with a few (?)’s to indicate I was still uncertain of her(?) sexuality.
About that time I noticed that I hadn’t seen the other Diana in a few weeks and asked the other Jack about her. She had moved out. It was amiable according to my neighbor but the relationship had played itself out. At least that was his take. I tried to look into his eyes to see how he really felt about it but I couldn’t read him at all. He had very dark and very cold eyes.
Standard issue for playboys I’m led to believe.
Looking back it’s funny how attached you can get to a pet.
Jack lived another ten years but he never had another friend like Diana.
My snake died shortly thereafter.
Oh yeah, life goes on.