Permanent Life Support

by pjmcbride

…is what Nick said this blog seems to be on. Maybe I should make that its title. But then someone would think I was mocking people who were on life support. The human capacity for taking offense is limitless.


Remember I was offended by people leaving their trash cans blocking the sidewalk, no doubt thinking, “Well, no one uses sidewalks anyway”? Since I am World Leader, the city actually made it illegal to do so. Who’s gonna enforce that one, I wonder?


Dear People Who Don’t Think It’s Their Job To Pull The Weeds From The Sidewalk In Front Of Their House–Were you under the impression the city sends a crew around to do so?


Someone is tugging at my sleeve. Rather forcefully.


“Isn’t it time for something…for something there hasn’t been for a long time?”

“A story about Nick? I don’t know if we can afford one in these days of Permanent Life Support.”

“I don’t think you can afford not to have one,” Nick replies loftily. There is no  point trying to reason with him, for he is only a beast, and takes these truths to be self-evident.

For the uninformed or forgetful, Nick is a large, but not huge, beast, with scales, wings, a great many teeth, and semi-retractable claws. (“Don’t forget the barbed tail,” he says. “Stop looking over my shoulder or I’ll swat you,” I reply.) However, he is neither venomous, nor can he breathe fire, being hard enough to handle as it is. He is a…pet, of sorts. (“What sort? I mean, I am not!”) OK, a co-worker. A… subordinate, if you will. (“If I will what?”  “OK, get out from behind me and sit where we all can see you.”)

“OK, Nick. There are people here who may not have heard of you.” He looks dubious. “Help them out. What are your Attributes?”

He draws himself up proudly.

“Teeth. Claws. A plate-y hide. Wings, which distinguish me from the females of my species. The ability to speak. Intelligence beyond that of other talking beasts you might encounter.”

“And what is your food?”

“I feast on the blood of the innocent and the tears of the fallen.” I frown. “The blood of the guilty?”

“Good enough. As you were.”

He drops down, and begins rooting around on the floor. In spite of myself, I have to ask, “What are you chewing?”

He doesn’t answer, so I reach for the unknown object, ignoring the growls and the terrible teeth. It turns out to be one of those rawhide chew toys. The largest size, of course. Than which there is nothing slimier, once chewed.

“Oh, gross.”

“Indeed. I was surprised you wanted it.”

“Take that thing outside.”

“Hey, I heard that at the Pet Food Center, they have cow esophaguses! Can I have one?”


“Or pig ears! How about those?”


“Hey, that place lets you shop with your pet! You can take me along, and I’ll pick out something for myself.”

“I thought you weren’t a pet.”

“I am a Service Animal.”

“Oh? And what need of mine are you addressing?”

While he thinks about that–it’s taking awhile–I consider actually taking him there. Then I remember all the live small animals they have in cages, and decide otherwise.

“Tell you what. I’ll take you to the Fall Festival next week, and you can have whatever you want. Well, except for blood and tears, I mean.”

“Not even of the fallen?”

“Especially not them.”

He looks crestfallen–literally, there’s a downy crest on top of his head that droops–but then brightens. “See? I perform the service of making sure you write a blog post next week.”