“Good morning,” said Vicky, looking her next client up and down. The woman didn’t seem to be carrying an animal or trailing one on a leash.
“Morning,” grunted Mrs Davies, pushing her way past the veterinarian and into the surgery. She lifted a shopping bag onto the examination table.
“Oh, I see!” Vicky closed the door. “One of those, is it?”
“One of which?” Mrs Davies blinked.
“A Chihuahua! They’re adorable. I know it’s the fad to carry them around in bags – all right, I suppose, as long as they get enough exercise and you don’t mind pooh on your purse.”
“What?” Mrs Davies frowned. “I think you’ve got your wires crossed, love.”
She reached into the shopping bag and pulled out a parcel, wrapped in greaseproof paper.
“Packed lunch?” ventured Vicky. She was beginning to wonder whether she should alert the receptionist. Sometimes people could get a bit funny. Especially if their pet had kicked the bucket. Sometimes they blamed the vet for not doing enough, or for doing the wrong thing.
“Don’t be disgusting!” Mrs Davies snapped. She unwrapped the parcel. “Please!” Her eyes implored. “Do whatever you can to help him!”
Vicky peered at the contents – a pink, oozing chunk of flesh direct, it looked like, from a butcher’s slab.
“Is this some kind of joke?”
“You think this is funny? My poor baby! This is all that’s left.”
Vicky shook her head. “I’m sorry; I don’t understand.”
“Percy,” Mrs Davies wailed. “My pet pig. My husband – my ex-husband, I should say – he threatened he’d go through with it and now he’s gone and done it. Sold it to the butcher. Of course, people snapped it up, on account of my Percy being so well-cared for. No additives or chemicals, you see. I brought him up proper. And now this is all that’s left.”
“I’m awfully sorry, I really am, but I don’t see what I can do about it.” Vicky edged toward the door; the woman was obviously deranged from grief.
“Clone him!” Mrs Davies cried. “There’s more than enough cells left there, and whatsit, DNA. You can make me a new Percy. Please! He’s all I’ve got.”
“I’m sorry. That’s just not possible. I don’t have the – Well, the technology just doesn’t exist.”
“Liar! I’ve seen it on the telly. There was that sheep.”
Vicky opened the door. “I am truly sorry for your loss but there really is nothing I can do. I’m afraid I must ask you to leave. I have other patients.”
Mrs Davies bundled up the greaseproof paper and thrust the remains of Percy into her bag. “I know you think I’m crazy,” her eyes blazed. “Keeping a pig as a pet. Well, they’re just as intelligent as dogs, you know. More so, probably. Why should it be one rule for one kind of animal and another for the rest? It’s discrimination, that’s what it is. I shall be writing to my MP.”
She trotted out of the surgery and slammed the door to Reception behind her.
Vicky let out a sigh of relief and leaned against the wall.
“Trouble?” said Claire, the receptionist. “I wouldn’t have let her through if –”
“It’s OK,” Vicky waved dismissively. “Nothing I couldn’t handle. Poor cow. Think I’ll take an early lunch.”
“Don’t blame you,” said Claire. “Got you your favourite. It’s in the fridge.”
“Yum!” said Vicky, rubbing her hands in anticipation.
A nice cup of tea and an Alsatian sandwich would set her up for the afternoon.