KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 2: Winter 2015
Micro-Fiction: 442 words

Adoption Criteria

by Philip Wexler

We are foster parents of a sort, caring for pets until they find permanent adoptive homes. The last dog in our care, a Chihuahua mix, made quite an impression on the Nippersons, a quiet retired couple who periodically scoured Europe for antique paperweights. We were certain it was a done deal despite their not making an immediate commitment. They were, of course, entitled to think over a decision this important. We were chagrined to learn that they decided against the dog, named Chitah by the previous owner who had, subsequent to an automobile accident, become bedridden and could no longer care for her. In their letter to us, the Nippersons indicated that Chitah was simply too tall. This initially struck us as an unusual, if not wholly fabricated, explanation. My husband, Jim, drafted an irate letter to them asking if that meant that their ceilings were too low. I wouldn’t let him mail it. The following month they sent us a Christmas card with best regards to Chitah, who by now had found a home with a single accountant who placed no height restrictions on his pets. The Nippersons enclosed a novelty rubber paperweight with a plastic bone inside, a toy for Chitah, and went on to explain in more detail their decision not to adopt this loving pup.

It seemed that the only acceptable way for them to take their frequent transatlantic flights with a pet was for it to travel in a carrier in the cabin. That was the way they traveled with Poopy, their late lamented purebred Chihuahua; may she rest in peace. But Chitah was no Poopy and had legs up the kazoo for a Chihuahua, or so they said, and there was no way she’d be able to stand upright in their carrier, which they insisted upon, if they were ever to travel with another canine companion. They would not impose an hours-long prone position on any dog of theirs, and a larger carrier would mean the dog was bound for cargo, and that would not do for the Nippersons. They were really a lovely couple and with our mutual love of animals, we vowed to keep in touch. They wrote us again in January from Warsaw with the thrilling news that they had just purchased not only a rare sixteenth century paperweight said to have been owned by Copernicus and which encased a yellow globe said, by appraisers, to represent the sun, but finally found a new pet or, more properly, pets—two dozen Japanese fighting beetles. They fit just perfectly in Poopy’s old carrier. We wished them every happiness and few casualties.

Philip Wexler
Issue 2, Winter 2015

lives in Bethesda, Maryland, where he works for the federal government. More than 130 of his poems have been published in magazines over the years, and he has organized several spoken-word series in Maryland. He also works in mosaic arts.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

A Proposition, a poem by Wexler in Slab Sound and Literary Art Book (Issue 6)

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