My family left for Ohio this morning, so the house, and its multitude of pets, are in my care. There are two dogs, three cats, some random fish, and one other pet - the one my brother dragged me outside to see.
When he said there was another animal my first thought was please, for the love of Jesus, don't let it be a snake. My brother loves snakes, because he is weird, and he had a snake once before (who died by choking on his own food - an understandably traumatic experience for Cormac, who witnessed the scene). We went outside and he lifted the lid of a plastic container, saying,
"He eats nightcrawlers or slugs, but the slugs can't be any wider than his head and the nightcrawlers need to be cut up or he'll choke and die. And the slugs are hard to find so you'll probably have to get a worm. Now I'm not too happy about this either, but we need to keep him alive for study purposes so you have to take good care of him."
And I thought:
It's not the snake itself that I mind, it's the worms. I do not want to cut up a worm. I do not want to drop little wriggly worm bits into the home of a snake that is "probably a bull snake but could possibly be a baby rattler," and I do not want to watch the thing digest.
I'm not too thrilled about feeding the fish either, because I find fish kind of gross-looking and hate how they look when they die, and if any of them die on me I'll have to take them out of the tank and flush them down the toilet, which is disgusting. But asking someone to take care of fish is, at least, a normal request, and doesn't necessitate slicing up a live worm.
I am so tempted to don a trench coat and, looking all shifty on some curb, offer naive kids five dollar bills to do the dirty work for me. But then I might feel guilty about luring unsuspecting adolescents into the seedy world of worm-dicing, and anyway, I'm not a Dickens character. So instead I will prove my love for my brother beyond any reasonable doubt, and hopefully overcome my fear of potential rattlesnakes and the worm bits they slurp.
With shaking hands and my eyes squeezed shut, of course.