he invited me into his office to tell me what i already knew by the tone of his voice over the phone earlier. it's been a year of deaths. i recognize the sound by now, even when it's masked.

"she survived the surgery, but went into arrest afterward," he said after shaking my steady hand. "we resuscitated her once, but two hours later she passed. i'm sorry."

i avoid eye contact and rub a tattoo high up on my left arm: bugs. he notices.

"she was happy today," the vet lies.

"she was never happy," i quickly correct him.

"well, she was active. when we fed her and took her out of her cage she attacked all of us. the staff couldn't believe it. we called more people into the room to see for themselves. it was like in 'monty python and the holy grail'."

a sick smile spreads across my sweaty face as i respond to the chrome lining of the toilet. "she went out like a champ. she stayed true to form." i'm not talking to him at this point. i'm mocking the gods who just lost to a creature without opposable thumbs.

the expected reaction to losing a friend of five-and-a-half years doesn't come until i'm back in my truck. it's tainted with laughter, or maybe the opposite is true. some emotions, like exotic cocktails, are bizarre when mixed.

"true to form," i mutter at the rear-view mirror, an oddly silent cardboard box on the passenger seat next to me. "it's more than most can say."

RIP bun bun.
you'll be missed, regardless of the lack of reciprocation.

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