Small boy arrives this morning, looking rather upset.
"Did you have a good weekend?" I ask.
"No, my gerbil died." With the reply, the floodgates open.
Streaming eyes, running nose, heaving chest.
Eventually I am able to ask questions and commiserate.
I learn that Pop, the world's best gerbil ever, (siblings named Snap and Crackle) was three years old. He would come rushing up when the cage was opened, nose sniffling in greeting. His coat was silky and beautiful. He could count up to ten and had a vocuabulary of twenty words.
The last sentence isn't true: anything is possible, such is the allure of a lost pet.
"Did you have a funeral for him?" I ask, finally.
"No. We only found the tail."
By some miracle, I manage not to splutter with laughter.
I provide a piece of card on which to design a memorial plaque for the cage.
Here lies Pop, my best gerbil ever.
The tears dry up, at last.
An easy solution for a complex problem.