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“But it’s my favorite and we would be best friends and I promise I’d take care of it!” groans Yulies.

The pet bounces off the cage and tips over, snarling, spitting cordite as it spins in place.

“I don’t know, sweetie,” says Mother.

But she begs and begs and eventually there’s a roaring, smoking box under the Christmas tree. Yulies unwraps it almost before it unwraps itself.

“Couldn’t it have been a puppy? Or a snake?” asks Mother despairingly.

“I suppose,” says Father.

“Then why a panjandrum?”

“Because it doesn’t poop,” he says fervently, as it takes off his daughter’s finger.