"We are gathered here today to put to rest Rosie and Jim."
Our guinea pigs inevitably passed away so we did the standard thing of chucking them into a Kwik Save carrier bag, shoving them into a Roses chocolates tin and held a very earnest funeral in our back garden.
My little sister and I invited every kid on the street, including 'Nathan on the end' that no one liked.
"We are gathered here today to put to rest Rosie and Jim." Nathan on the end sniggered. My little sister went mad. She was little but terrifying, all two foot of her went into kill mode. She suddenly became all pointed finger and dangerous eyes. "If you don't take this seriously you can f**k off." She was 6 but had the mouth of a truck driver. We still don't know where she heard such language. My guess, Channel 5.
Nathan on the end apologised and faked crying at the death of Rosie and Jim. "You're lucky to be invited, no one likes you" she reminded him. The other kids attending the funeral half nodded in agreement.
Truth be told we didn't really like Rosie and Jim.
My errant father phoned us one day and said in his Italian accent "I have two guinea pigs, you will take them. One boy and one girl." My mum joked "Hopefully not in the same hutch." He replied "Yes, same hutch but they are brother and sister.'
Nice idea but I'm pretty sure guinea pigs don't hold the same moral compass as you and I. They see something, they will try to have sex with it. I have many friends who think and behave in the same way.
A year later we did something very normal, we dug them up. Curiosity got the better of us.
I should've known better being the older sister but I was weak willed and morbid.
"You open it." "No, you." "You, Ilaria." "Fine!"
I pulled off the lid and opened the carrier bag to be met with green mist. Every time I'm ill or have a minor ailment I immediately blame it on a delayed reaction to the dead guinea pig mist. We threw the tin down and ran back into the house screaming.
"What the bloody hell were you both expecting to see?" My mum did not feel sorry for us. She's Glaswegian and takes no shit.
The whole incident put us off guinea pigs so we moved onto having a cat. Chi Chi.
I remember one day she got brown parcel tape stuck to her which meant when I rescued her by ripping it off I had performed my first bikini wax, aged 9.
One morning we looked out of the window and saw her sunbathing in the middle of the road. Spoiler alert, she was not topping up her tan. She was dead.
My mum scooped her up and did the very sensitive thing of laying her down on the front lawn for her children to morbidly stare at all morning. In the afternoon she went out to deal with Chi Chi. She decided to empty out our Barbie box and use it as a non biodegradable coffin. Clever.
The cat was too big for the box so she did the only thing that made sense, she snapped it in half to ensure a snug, albeit, horrific fit. I chose the wrong moment to walk round the corner and ask for a biscuit, her foot was on Chi Chi's stomach whilst she twatted her feline head against the concrete step.
"Hi love, will you pass me that box?"
I didn't want a part in this but I'm such a people pleaser that I was suddenly an accomplice.
Moral of the story. Don't have pets, they die.
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