November 20, 2009
My good friend Heather came over today for a Business Meeting.
“Good afternoon, Heather,” I said, offering my hand. She reluctantly shook it.
“Hi,” she said.
“Would you like a coffee? Or would you prefer to get straight down to Business?”
“Coffee would be great,” she said. We moved to the kitchen and she sat at the table.
“Are you alright?” she asked. “You seem a little different.”
“Oh, I got this badger!” I told her, and Jesse, at that moment, scampered in.
“Oh my God!” She drew up her legs.
“Isn’t he cute? Look, I got him a feeding bottle and everything.” I picked up Jesse and demonstrated the technique. I had put some honey in his milk and I could tell he enjoyed the taste.
“Chris, why the hell are you keeping that in your apartment? Have you taken it to a vet?” She was clearly not in the right frame of mind for Business.
“He’s been tested for all sorts of ailments. And he only sometimes bites. His name is Jesse!” I offered her the furry bundle but had to instead place him on the floor while I prepared the coffee.
Heather eyed the badger, who was sniffing around the base of the stove, looking for mice – he had caught one only fifteen minutes prior to Heather’s arrival, and the bloodlust had evidently struck again.
“So,” I said, “with regards to that website you needed designing. For Business.”
“Yeah, that’s just the thing,” she said, now making sustained eye contact with Jesse, “It’s just… I don’t think I need a website right now. I’m a nurse.”
“Not even for a blog?”
“I had one of those, and you hijacked it, and started your own blog in the comments.”
I had! So long ago now, a child’s lifetime ago, a time when the thought of a badger as a pet would have seemed ludicrous, if I’d had the idea.
Jesse ran at Heather and she screamed, but my relatively new animal friend had just seen a mouse beside the garbage can. It displaced some recycling I had propped up by a shelf.
“I… I can’t…” Heather left the kitchen and headed for the door.
She turned around.
“I don’t know what’s gone wrong in your life, but you can’t possibly expect to keep a badger –”
Jesse had come out from behind a box formerly used to package shepherd’s pies and was making a whimpering noise. I could practically hear Heather’s heart melting.
I firmly pushed the plunger down on the French press and waited a good thirteen seconds.
“Shall I pour the coffee?”
She looked at Jesse, and then she looked at me.
She came back, and we talked Business. Jesse caught two more mice that afternoon, and I ended up designing that website! Though Heather spat out the coffee. I think I did it wrong somehow.