He had a pet dog. He had a pet goldfish. The dog died of a seizure. The goldfish went belly up with grief – they’d bonded thru the curved glass of the fish bowl. The cat remained aloof on the sofa. (Yes, he had a pet cat.)

He buried the dog and the goldfish in a common grave in the back yard. The cat watched from the windowsill.

He went back inside and stared for a long time at his pet hamster putting miles on its treadmill. The cat watched too.

He bought a white rat and a hoot owl. A spider monkey in a little red suit. A mute parrot and a potted plant. A boa constrictor and an ant farm in a ten-gallon glass tank.

He stopped checking his Facebook page and renting movies from Netflx. He stopped turning the lights on when darkness fell, stopped taking walks and using his cell phone, stopped checking the mail. He did away with leashes and cages (except for the glass tank that the ants were in) and then he hung perches from the ceiling for the hoot owl and the mute parrot.

This is what it took to convince him that he had no use for human society.

Then he did away with the cat.

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