Dead Pets

“We are gathered here today to put to rest Rosie and Jim”

Our guinea pigs inevitably passed away so we did the standard thing of chucking them into a Kwik Save carrier bag, shoving them into a Roses chocolates tin and held a very earnest funeral in our back garden.

My little sister and I invited every kid on the street, including ‘Nathan on the end’ that no one liked.

“We are gathered here today to put to rest Rosie and Jim.” Nathan on the end sniggered. My little sister went mad. She was little but terrifying, all 2 foot of her went into kill mode. She suddenly became all pointed finger and dangerous eyes.  “If you don’t take this seriously you can f**k off.” She was 6 but had the mouth of a truck driver. We still don’t know where she heard such language. My guess, Channel 5.

Nathan on the end apologised and faked crying at the death of Rosie and Jim. “You’re lucky to be invited, no one likes you” she reminded him. The other kids attending the funeral half nodded in agreement.

Truth be told we didn’t really like Rosie and Jim.

My errant father phoned us one day and said in his Italian accent “I have two guinea pigs, you will take them. One boy and one girl.” My mum joked “Hopefully not in the same hutch.” He replied “Yes, same hutch but they are brother and sister.’

Nice idea but I’m pretty sure guinea pigs don’t hold the same moral compass as you and I. They see something, they will try to have sex with it. I have many friends who think and behave in the same way.

A year later we did something very normal, we dug them up. Curiosity got the better of us.

I should’ve known better being the older sister but I was weak willed and morbid.

“You open it.” “No, you.” “You, Ilaria.” “Fine!”

I pulled off the lid and opened the carrier bag to be met with green mist. Every time I’m ill or have a minor ailment I immediately blame it on a delayed reaction to the dead guinea pig mist. We threw the tin down and ran back into the house screaming.

“What the bloody hell were you both expecting to see?” My mum did not feel sorry for us. She’s Glaswegian and takes no shit.

The whole incident put us off guinea pigs so we moved onto having a cat. Chi Chi.

I remember one day she got brown parcel tape stuck to her which meant when I rescued her by ripping it off I had performed my first bikini wax, aged 9.

One morning we looked out of the window and saw her sunbathing in the middle of the road. Spoiler alert, she was not topping up her tan. She was dead.

My mum scooped her up and did the very sensitive thing of laying her down on the front lawn for her children to morbidly stare at all morning. In the afternoon she went out to deal with Chi Chi. She decided to empty out our Barbie box and use it as a non biodegradable coffin. Clever.

The cat was too big for the box so she did the only thing that made sense, she snapped it in half to ensure a snug, albeit, horrific fit. I chose the wrong moment to walk round the corner and ask for a biscuit, her foot was on Chi Chi’s stomach whilst she twatted her feline head against the concrete step.

“Hi love, will you pass me that box?”

I didn’t want a part in this but I’m such a people pleaser that I was suddenly an accomplice.

Moral of the story. Don’t have pets, they die.

Santa and emergency Imodium

I’ve hung up my elf outfit, put away my glitter and said goodbye to working in Santa’s grotto for another year.

I’ve lost track of the amount of crying, screaming children I’ve taken photos of, too scared to sit on Santa’s knee. I don’t blame them to be honest.

My favourite kid was a little boy who asked Santa to bring him a pizza for Christmas. When it was time for his photo I chirped “give me a Christmas smile”, his mum shouted “look less cross eyed!”. I’ve never seen a kid look so confused. He tried uncrossing his eyes which only made things worse and resulted in the worst photo ever.

We dealt with ambulances, vomit and a tangled web of internal Elf politics.

Despite the large amount of bodily fluids I secretly loved being an elf at the grotto, it was full of characters and bursting with anecdotes.

Here’s one I like to call ‘The time Santa shat his pants’…

It kind of writes itself really…

Whilst at the grotto we all ate like pigs. We somehow managed to survive on a diet of Greggs pasties, Quality Street chocolates and personal failures. After a few weeks of a sugar and pastry fuelled diet, the big man himself, Father Christmas, felt a stirring in his stomach…I heard a gurgle that sounded like a dodgy pipe in an old house. He looked terrified and immediately started taking off his costume. Layers upon layers of brightly coloured, pre worn tat.

I’ve never seen a man take off his clothes so quickly, even in my wilder days. His costume left a trail from the grotto to the public toilets.

This is not Christmas magic.

Is Santa meant to violently shit himself? Answers on a post card.

The grotto supervisor slapped a tenner in my hand and sent me to the nearest place that sold Imodium. I ran through a rammed shopping centre dressed as an elf looking for something that would stop Santa from crapping himself whilst a terrified 5 year old begs for Batman lego.

I saw a box that read ‘Instant relief’, I grabbed it and joined the long queue. A little old lady looked at my glittery cheeks, stripy tights and hands clutching the ‘make me stop shitting tablets’ and let me go in front.

When I finally made it to the very front I hurriedly blurted out “these aren’t for me, they’re for Santa”. The woman on the till smiled worryingly and considered me mentally ill.

I ran back to the grotto to be met with hoards of screaming kids. “Get out of my way!” I gave the Imodium to a very happy Father Christmas and on we go. “Get the next kids in!” I really am a hero.

And that’s how I saved Christmas.

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