It was a pet store like no other – the only problem was, it was merely an apartment shared by three college women and a menagerie.
I was a regular visitor to the apartment since one of the occupants was my best friend. During an innocent trip to the freezer to commandeer some ice, I noticed a collection of oddly wrapped items neatly piled in the right hand corner of the large chest freezer. The remainder of items were recognizable and created no cause for alarm or inquiry.
On my way back to the couch I passed the large aquarium decorated with tropical fish and narrowly missed tripping over the bunny and a few cats. My curiosity had gotten the best of me and the wine had taken away any shyness about asking the question.
“What is in the corner of your freezer?”
The question hovered in the air for a moment, dangling in front of six shifting eyes. The three roommates spoke to each other without words, wondering if they should divulge the secret they all shared.
Shirley (her name has been changed to protect the guilty) was the first to speak up. She began to tell the tale of how many birds they once had compared to the number of feathered friends they currently had. The few that had not survived had been ‘put on ice’ until they could properly dispose of them. The corner of her freezer contained four dead birds that they referred to as “Chirpsicles”. As the story was being told, the cats slowly backed out of the room to avoid detection.
(image credit: 8ball.co.uk)
My best friend was gauging my reaction to this revelation and chimed in with “you should see what she does with the dead fish”. After a few more drinks, I was introduced to ‘fish flying’. The deceased fish were ceremoniously placed on a spoon and, from a relatively steady stance on their eighth floor balcony, flung into the open air in hopes of reaching the outdoor pool many stories below.
After the last fish had been flung, we settled into the chairs on the balcony. Only moments later the doorbell rang. I panicked slightly, thinking the superintendent had caught onto our outrageous activity. What stood on the other side of the door should not have shocked me at all. A petite woman lovingly held a small rabbit and asked if it belonged to any of the apartment occupants. Wondering how the bunny escaped, ‘Shirley’ recognized the rabbit immediately and asked how far down the hallway the little critter had reached. With moderate hesitation, the neighbor handed Shirley the bunny and explained that she lived on the seventh floor. The bunny had fallen off the eighth floor and landed on the balcony below!
The sliding door to the balcony was quickly closed and the rest of the night was spent indoors with the surviving menagerie. When I awoke in the morning, I left the apartment quietly so as to not wake the girls. Leaning on the elevator wall, I recalled some of the events from the previous night, thinking perhaps I had dreamt the whole thing…….until I pushed open the door to the circular driveway and noticed the remains of the fish on the pavement.