“So what’s up with the pig, Dell?” asked Panda.
“Ooooh! Isn’t she sweet? I had to have her! She’s ever so smart and she’s house broken already! And you’ll never guess what I’ve named her!”
“Please don’t tell me you named her Charlotte or Wilber.” Panda rolled her eyes.
“No! Her name is Silky. It’s short for Silk Purse, get it?”
“Yes, I get it” laughed Panda. “You could also name her Pearl, you know, for ‘pearls before swine’.”
“Oh, that’s cute!” said Dell with popeyed wonder. “I didn’t think of that!”
Just then the waitress brought their waters and menus. As she sat the drinks down a large, 8 ½ x 11 laminated picture of a collie slid forward on its string around her neck and slapped into the side of the glasses. As had become customary, now, both girls took a moment to gaze at the face of the dog-on-a-placard, before saying almost in unison, “I am so sorry for your loss!”
The waitress nodded, seemed to swallow and tear up for a moment and then got a hold of herself. “Thank you” she said, “I miss her dearly!” They all felt the frisson of mutual pain right then. The world without dogs. So many friends lost at once, and for what? No matter what the TV had been telling them, nobody really KNEW or felt the sense of the explanations given.
Privately Dell wished that someone would pass an ordinance restricting the size of the dog placards to that of a credit card. They were getting out of hand in their largeness. Nobody was really wearing sandwich-board size signs around but she shuddered to think that it might come to that. SEE. MY. DEAD. DOG flashed in neon inside her head.
Val the waitress offered, “Today’s special is Eggs Over Easy Individual Pan Pizza. 1 basted egg with cheese and onion on a thin crust and your choice of Tabasco or Hollandaise Sauce for $18.95”
The girls nodded and looked at their menus. As Val walked away Dell slapped hers down so she could make eye contact with Panda. “Can you believe the price of eggs lately? I just paid $9.95 for a half dozen eggs. That’s SIX EGGS for like 4 dollars apiece!”
Panda quickly calculated the actual price of the eggs in her head and remembered when you could get an entire dozen for that price. She made a mental note to see how cost effective it would be to get two laying hens and set up a little hen house now that the city had passed legislature making it legal to have backyard chickens.
Chickens are not exactly quiet animals, she thought, and wondered if they would have too deep an impact on her stealth footprint if she got a couple. Probably better to utilize the feral chicken population in Fair Oaks when the time came. Safer. Of course she didn’t know about the cancerous eggs, and the fact that all the chickens would soon be gone.
“Hey when we are done eating do you want to come shopping with me?” asked Dell. “ I want to check out this new store called Pig-Mallion.” She waited for Panda to nod before resuming. “Get it? It’s a store full of pig clothing and accessories. Designer styles and everything!”
Panda said, “Oh, that sounds like a riot. Of course I’ll go.”
She always liked going somewhere new to get the lay of the land and see what kind of visible fruit trees were in the area. You never knew how far afield you would have to forage for edibles in the dystopian future. She stretched her foot out and gave Silk Purse a nudge in the belly. The pig grunted in her sleep but did not budge.
“You are going to need to buy a lot of pajamas.” She said.
“Piggy Peignoirs!” quipped Dell.