Pickles Magee moved in the day my girlfriend dumped me.
I came home from work, tired, strung out, still reeling from the text message break up, and there he was, bouncing up and down in my bean bag, shagging a petite, whiskered lady-friend, his tail slapping loudly against the floor.
‘New chicks are the best chicks,’ Pickles said, grinning. He pulled his pants up over his hairy brown belly, showed his woman the door and grabbed a beer from the fridge. ‘Take a leaf from the book of Pickles Magee and everything will be sweet as, bro.’
Five months later, as I waited for a phone call, for a message on Facebook, for some sign of post-break-up hope from the ex, I put up with Pickles and his mates: I cleaned up the empty pizza boxes, paid for the phone sex calls, recycled the beer can pyramid in the bathroom, and even swept up the plump, musty smelling droppings left in windy trails throughout my little flat. Pickles really knew how to party.
But when I found Mr T, Faceman and the rest of my mint condition A-Team collectable figurines melted in the microwave, enough was enough—I carefully laced a plate of nachos with rat poison, covered the dish with an extra layer of cheese, and watched Pickles gulp down his meal. He died with a strange smile on his grubby snout.
With Pickles gone, something clicked into place that night. I headed down to the pub, charmed a chick who worked at Video Ezy, and later as we tumbled to bed in the wee hours, a drunk, writhing mess of legs and arms, I saw myself in her wardrobe mirror and recoiled in horror: a wrinkled, ratty face with flea-ridden ears stared right back. The new girl gently pulled my paw to her breast, kissed me deeply and we had the best sex you could possibly imagine.