To Miss Wadsworth:

I regret to inform you that your sixty-five-pound-black-haired-snub-nosed-(son-of-a-bitch)-poodle Dorothy has died. I regret further to inform you that I have killed him.

Often when we (meaning you, the bereaved) first outsource emotional self-satisfaction to a creature than cannot and will not fight back, we (meaning you, because you are (were) the owner of the dead son-of-a-bitch poodle) like to think we are doing the damned beast a favor by taking him in.

This cannot be further from the truth. I teach (and learn) this lesson each time I kill one of these God-forsaken-long-haired-human-emotion-waste-receptacles.

Take, for instance, the hydroid and the hermit crab. The hermit has excess space in its shell for a jellied visitor, and the two of them waltz away in unmeasured commensalism to their beachside destination. Note, for instance, the hermit crab doesn’t strike up a conversation with the hydroid and he certainly doesn’t try to offload some emotional baggage while the jelly is minding his own damn business chasing his tails and sniffing his ass.

Humans couldn’t hermit if we tried. We’d even start to impose on the hydroid how our shell is much more luxurious since we graduated from Murder school and how the hydroid better owe me or at least not think about other hermit’s shells.

I, myself, the esteemed Killer Of Dorothy, innocent until proven guilty (even in the Eyes of God), had a nine-pound-white-declawed-rescue-calico-cat once. I hated her. The way she couldn’t survive without me, the way her giant blue eyes stared openly at a world outdoors, even the way she sat in my lap purring completely satiated drew me literally mad. All she wanted was pure affection for affection in return, and I’ll be damned if it didn’t piss me off.

Unfortunately I have killed hundreds of the grateful little assholes. While they are not always black-haired-kindergarten-sized canines, they all get used up somehow. Then it’s up to me to end their suffering – just so we can start anew.

And why do they always have hair? Dorothy’s black puffy curls and my calamitous calico’s plush white – does it better help absorb our incrimination? Maybe those textures mock the silk, satin, wool, and lace with which we’re familiar. It’d be stranger still if they were just bags of flesh lying on the sofa – at some point we’d want them to respond!

Now that I think of it, I think the nose pissed me off the most. I’ve seen that snub-nose blessed by soft black bangs before – I knew under that wiry coat you’d have a festerance of wants and jealousies. You should be thanking me. Judging by his stomach, it seemed also he couldn’t be satisfied with what got placed in front of him.

Maybe that’s why they die. Maybe that’s why I kill them. They get so encumbered with the Human Condition they wither like a strange old painting in the attic. Their diary pages to which you’ve confessed are untimely full. And, in Dorothy’s case, his stomach too – were you feeding him your husband’s meals?

As always, give my Mark my best on your next visit to him.