By Lily Mulholland
Max headed into the bar. Rocky was already there, three sheets to the wind. Max nodded to the bartender, who knew to send down two of the finest. He poured the shots and whizzed the glasses down the well polished bar. It was a neat trick. One glass stopped in front of Max, the other in front of Rocky.
‘Max,’ grunted Rocky in greeting.
Max saluted his friend with the glass before downing its contents and signalling for another.
‘Wassup?’ asked Rocky.
‘Lemme just get this into me. I need it after the day I’ve had.’ Max slugged the second shot and slumped down on the barstool next to Rocky.
Rocky raised an expectant eyebrow.
‘Got the vet’s bill today.’
‘Five hundred. For a freaking teeth clean.’
‘Jaysus. That’s more than my kid’s orthodontist’s bill.’
‘Aint that the truth.’
Max signalled for another round.
‘Yeah, and that isn't the worst of it. Vet tells me that I’ll have to bring him in twice a year for a teeth clean – that’s ten thousand over ten years! I should’ve got me some of that pet insurance.’
Max and Rocky stared at the TV above the bar.
‘Who’s winning?’ asked Max.
‘And,’ continued Max, ‘the vet tells me that I’m likely to have to fork out for a full tooth extraction after about ten years. That’s another three freakin’ thousand.’
‘Jaysus mate. Is that normal?’ asked Rocky, dragging his attention from the game.
‘Yeah, the vet says it’s normal with this breed.’
‘Shoulda got yerself a smaller pet. Like a goldfish. They don’t have nearly as many problems,’ said Rocky, with just a dash of irony.
‘Yeah, I reckon I was sold a pup.’
‘You gonna get it put down?’
‘What’ll I tell the kids?’
‘That it’s gawn to live on a farm?’
‘That oldie. Don’t know if they’d go for it. They know humans were kicked off their farms after the Overthrow.’
‘Damn. They teach kids too much at puppy school these days,’ said Rocky.
‘Yeah, not like the good old days where all we had to worry about was chasing balls and catching frisbees.’
‘Ah well, dogs rule the world now. We’d better get used to the responsibility, I spose.’
Rocky checked his watch.
‘Well the missus will be wondering where I am. Best head off. It’s bath night. My job to make sure the kids haven’t picked up any fleas at school this week. There’s been an outbreak apparently.’
‘Righto mate. Give the missus a sniff for me. Tell her Princess says hi and we’ll see you on the weekend.’
‘Save a snag for me,’ said Rocky as he shrugged on his leather coat and padded out the door.