'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.


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.