what's up, doc?

My boyfriend and I were having lunch when a rabbit hopped into our tiny apartment. His inquisitive eyes scanned the room from one end to another while his little, pinkish ears pointed upwards. "What's up doc?" my boyfriend asked him. He just ignored us and proceeded to hop further into the room. I guess he wasn't a Looney Tunes fan. Silly wabbit. He was so cute though that I wanted to keep him. Just a few months ago someone told me about her pet bunny. At that time, I couldn't imagine rabbits as pets. From what I remember, they have nasty teeth and that they could really bite. When we were kids, my brother and I had a hamster named Speedy. I was playing with him one time when he bit my finger, taking out a small piece of my skin and drawing blood. Since then I've learned that not all cute things are necessarily harmless. In fact in the gay galaxy, the cuter the guy, the more dangerous he probably is. Speedy didn't stay with us for long though. We woke up one morning and found him missing from his cage. Our guess was he was kidnapped, gang raped and then eaten by our house rats (which my mother would refer to as our "kaibigan" or R.A.T. I honestly don't know where she got the idea that rats can understand the English language.).

The rabbit seemed friendly however. I gently shooed him out of the apartment since I fear that someone was probably looking for him. He silently hopped out of our life and went back to the door down the hall. Pity, I didn't even knew his name. "Mabaho ba ang mga rabbits?" I asked the boyfriend after Bugs Bunny had left. He explained that as long as we feed him pellets his shit wouldn't be so bad. I've actually been thinking of having a pet ever since we had a pet episode a few months back. The only thing that has been keeping me from bringing home one is the upkeep. I don't think I have enough energy to take care of a pet. After all I could barely take care of myself. Add to this is the fact that we live in a building. The only space where he can play around is our tiny balcony. I fear that life with us may become too depressing for him that he might decide to commit suicide (By the way, a few years ago I saw a dog leap out of a building. I'm not sure if it was an accident or bloody murder. I was walking down the street when suddenly I saw some furry creature fly through the sky and land on the concrete below. There was a loud thud and a piercing cry. I looked down and saw the dog yelping quietly with its four legs sticking out in different directions.)

But still, I would love to have some furry animal to cuddle especially after a disappointing day (and no, hairy daddies just wouldn't do). Studies have shown that dog lovers are significantly less stressed out than those who are pet-less. I know this because I once covered a pet baptism in Malate. I'm not sure if it's just a coincedence but gays and lesbians seem to be partial to cats while nerdy guys are mostly into dogs and snakes. I honestly thought that since the event was in Malate church I would meet someone who would make me his bitch. But there were no takers so I just went around asking the pet owners with a haughty tone if they think their pets would mind being turned into a Catholic. I mean, what if Bantay is actually agnostic or an atheist, who knows?

When I was growing up, we had a dozen or so dogs. We were big on dogs. What's weird is I'm scared of dogs. This phobia was instilled in me centuries ago on Halloween. My cousins and I were pretending to be vampires. We had a black cape on and plastic fangs in our mouths. I thought it would be fun to scare our cousin's dogs so I went to the backyard, walked close to one of them and bared my fangs. Hissssss... The dog didn't scamper away. Instead he lounged at me and bit my ankles, leaving two visible punctures on my skin. "Guess who's the vampire now, you stupid cow," the dog was probably thinking. Since then whenever I see a dog in my path I either go to the other side or go back to where I came from.

Apart from the dogs, we had another unofficial pet back in our house in Bataan. These were the snakes that we would find under the washing machine or under the kitchen cabinet. Once, while playing baril barilan, a snake suddenly fell out of a crack in our ceiling, falling on top of our friend's head. (Fortunately, we're still friends with him.) We had a theory that a gigantic snake was living in our ceiling. At night, always at night, we would hear the sound of little feet running in different directions. We surmised that these were rats fleeing from the sleeping gigantic Anaconda. It wasn't just us kids who entertained this idea. Our neighbor who raised chickens also believed that a large sawa is hunting his poultry. Little did he know that it was our friend, big, fat Carlo who was hunting his chickens for our afternoon merienda.

Snakes weren't the strangest pet we've had though. Once, while on our way to rent a video, we stumbled upon an old man with an owl on his shoulders. I think we only had P50 in our pockets, enough to rent two exciting Steven Seagal blockbusters. Naturally when we saw the owl we were curious. We crowded around the old man and asked silly him questions about the bird.

"Why don't you bring him home?" the old man suggested.

"How much are you selling the owl?" we asked.

"How much have you got?"

To cut the story short, we ended up buying an owl. We brought it home and let it sit on our little see-saw. After a few minutes of staring at it, we got bored. We simply didn't know what to do with it. Eventually we decided that it is best to just let it fly away, which it refuses to do. When our mother came home that night, she asked us about the weird sound coming from the topmost branch of our tree.

"Ano yun?" she asked us, her face scrunching up into a frown.

"Owl," my brother and I told him.

"Bakit may owl tayo?"

"Binili namin kanina."

"Para saan?"

"Binenta kasi nung isang mama eh."

Naturally, my mother was upset. We felt like stupid Jack and his equally stupid beanstalks. That night, the owl endlessly let out a creepy cry, keeping us awake like a mistake that refuses to be forgotten.


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