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Nutzle Image
Futzie Nutzle artwork from The Armies Encamped in the Fields Beyond the Avenues (p.48)

My Friends and Their Pets

My friends and their pets.

Their blue gazelles, their red chimpanzees, their full-bellied iguanas changing from purple to green and back again like neon signs.

Their kangaroos, their elephants, their seals.

Leased, these pets are always on parade when my friends stroll down the avenues, or when they take them to the office and set behind their desks small bowls of blood and strips of their own flesh.

They dress their pets in diamonds and silks. They teach them tricks, like crying for money or begging with paws beseechingly joined for a Sherman tank.

My friends insist that only their pets understand who they are. "Look at those eyes," they say. "Look at the nod my elephant gives." (The camels raise an eyebrow when they chew, but the elephants, with tired, distracted stares, peer out the windows and over the fields.

At parties, these animals stand around eating hors d' oeuvres which waiters bring on silver trays: the camels releasing enormous gushes of urine, the elephants and bison thudding excretions on the marble floors. Soon their masters are slipping on the piles of urine and dung, patches of manure smearing their faces like off-center toupees. They begin to yell at each other, kick one another's pets, and throw khaki handfuls at the wives of friends, while ripping off each other's clothes and rolling their bodies under the hooves. The animals panic. Even the distracted elephants begin to trumpet, flapping their ears and stomping on the figures below.

Some of my friends do not recover. But the majority are back on the boulevards the next morning walking their pets at a dignified pace.

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