'He's too big'

I complained.

'We could use a challenge'

she said.

I stared at him in his new tank.

'He was in that shop for so long'

Mum said, not noticing his water bowl

was empty.


'His name is Frank'

she said.

'Great.'

I said, holding him at arm's length.

His long, scaly body felt dry.

I check his humidity.

Mum doesn't look up from the TV.

'I don't know why we got him'

I said, cleaning out his poop.

'I just felt so sorry for him'

she said, watching me.

I cleaned his newspaper bedding.

I changed his water.

Mum had lost interest.


'He looked so sad in that shop'

said Mum.

'I know, you've said'

I tried to tempt Frank with his food.

Mum clicks through the channels.

I tap his thermostat,

the 'on' light flickering back to life.

'He's so cold!'

Mum cried.

'His heat was off'

I said, immediately going to the faulty thermostat.

I took him in my arms.

Warmed him with my body.

'Well turn it back on then!'

I said, impatient.

She hesitated,

did nothing.


'Someone must have left it open'

Mum said.

I stared at the empty tank.

I said nothing.

It was too cold for him outside.

A shame, a waste.

I never wanted him but

I loved him.

She only wanted him for his story.