Like all other pigs, these pigs had sawed-off noses, and they used them to push their business into your business. Lovingly: they were loving pigs, healthy pygmy pigs that were, inevitably, cute. When he took them places, a crowd would gather. “Oh, sweet!” “Adorable.” “Look,” they’d say, “how cute.” He loved the pigs inordinately, but he did not love small talk, had no energy for it really, so eventually—and with very little thought—he confined the pigs to his fireplace and took them out in their tote no more.

The fireplace gave them ample room to cavort and rut. It wasn’t large, just a typical suburban wood-burning fireplace ca. 1935, in which he burned no wood nor ever had, because the after-smell offended his nose much as day-old beer bottles did. But these pigs were small. They were palm-sized. So why should it not happen that the pigs’ turds would dry out neatly on the firebrick and on the pigs’ hooves, and, leaving very little smell, submit to a quick crusting-away by means of bleach-infused cleanup mitts, pulled one after the next from the dispenser?

In exchange the pigs gave him the sound of play. Their swiving and japing were near continuous, so that as he entered figures into the columns of another spreadsheet, doing his freelance actuarial work, he could listen to Edgar and Minnie dating in 6x fast-forward. The squeals delighted him. These were not sexual per se—they were the contented chirps and eeps of admiration and mutual need.

What he liked about the pigs was their communal narcissism, the selfish way they had of taking care. Their nuzzling and cuddling and sudden trips over top of one another to reach the next mate. He would push back from the narrow table where he worked—its shape designed for piles by client and insurance vehicle—and stare at the wall listening. You didn’t have to look directly at these pigs to enjoy them, any more than at a waterfall.
Photo © flickr user pasukaru76

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