the smell of my desperation has become a stench

The lowest of lows

Every day as a company we sit down to have lunch together: me, Jon, Tyrant, and my cousin McKenzie who took over my niece Mariah’s job of watching Marlo when Mariah started school back in August. Why have I not mentioned McKenzie until now? I’m just this second trying to think of a really good reason, and I can’t think of one. Let’s just pretend that she’s horribly disfigured, and I couldn’t bring myself to talk about her because I was scared people would find out about the sixteen toes on her right foot.

She wears special shoes. We taught Leta not to stare or ask questions. She often trips while holding the baby.

Anyway, Tryant is a vegetarian — sometimes self-righteous, sometimes not self-righteous at all, depending on his mood and how badly he wants to make me feel like a monster — and despite this he cooks a few breasts of chicken every day to put in our salads. He does this for us because one, he is awesome, and two, he knows the business is more likely to have money to pay him if we work instead of using that time to cook chicken. Also, it’s one more way he can screw with me, as if my mere existence were not enough.

One day last week after he had texted me that lunch was ready, I ran downstairs and into the kitchen only to feel a certain vibe. A wicked vibe. A sneaky vibe. And then Tyrant picked up a specific plate of salad, set it in front of me, and blurted, “THIS ONE IS YOURS.” Except the look in his eyes said, “DIE YOU WRETCHED WHORE!

Maybe not that emphatic. Maybe it was more like, “I hope it’s a slow, painful descent into Hell for you, you who choose to give it up to so many so easily.”

I stopped, took a careful look around me, eyed McKenzie for a second, then asked, “What is going on? Something doesn’t feel right.” McKenzie shrugged, but she is very loyal to whoever was the first person in the room, so I knew I couldn’t get any answers out of her. Plus, those sixteen toes take a lot of blood from her brain. UNRELIABLE.

I cautiously proceeded with my lunch, looking over it carefully to make sure he hadn’t slipped in a wad of Coco’s hair or maybe a vial of his own blood, and then all of us settled into our meal. And the salad was delicious, the conversation as jovial as it usually is, right up until Tyrant saw me finish my last bite. That’s when he jumped up, ran over to the island, and pulled a black box out of a drawer.

“Glad I found this thing out in the freezer!” he said waving it around. “I thought it was the perfect addition to your salad, don’t you think?”

OH to the EM to the GEE OH DEE.

Let’s rewind a year, shall we?

In November 2009 my betta fish Lou died. It was sudden and unexpected, but he had lived longer than any other fish I’d ever owned. I chronicled his existence a few times on this website, how he had come into our lives, and a few photos here and here and there, so I decided I wanted to honor his death in some sacred way. So I basically built him a coffin out of a black box, wrapped him delicately in a vintage handkerchief, and then lined the outside of the box with a makeshift paper tombstone:

I had planned to bury him the next day in our backyard and write about his death, except there were a few feet of snow on the ground. Digging a sufficient hole in the ground was almost impossible. So I put his handmade tomb into the freezer in the garage. Note: your author did not flush him down the toilet like a normal person because your author is one, sentimental, and two, you guys, I kept him alive for almost three years! His sacred funeral was as much in honor of his death as it was a celebration of my success! I NEVER ONCE TRIED TO BOIL HIM!

Except! That snow didn’t melt until the end of May, and by that time I had loooooooonng forgotten about the handmade tomb in the freezer. In fact, that handmade tomb somehow survived the move to our new house. I didn’t realize this until a couple of weeks ago when I discovered it underneath a package of frozen peas, and I was all:


Yes, of course, I inspected it. Of course, I peeled back the handkerchief to see what state he was in, the curiosity was as unbearable as Christmas. And not surprisingly he looked exactly the same as when I had laid his plump, wet body there twelve months ago, except, you know, frozen.

Is this shit sacred, or what?

Fast forward to last week when Tyrant intimated that he had slipped Lou, my dead pet, into my salad. To the part where he dusted his hands, threw back his head in laughter, and cackled, “You ate him! Wasn’t he good?”

That’s when the room started to spin in slow motion, when half of the salad tried to claw its way up and out of my stomach. This was a new low. The lowest of lows: you do not feed someone her dead pet, especially if that someone is gullible enough to believe that you are evil enough to do such a thing. Especially if you are then going to hysterically laugh and then point at the person who thinks she has just eaten her dead pet.

Sixteen-toed McKenzie finally let me off the hook and said that Lou was still in the freezer wrapped in that vintage handkerchief, but by then I could taste dead pet fish in my mouth, and Tyrant was on the floor hyperventilating on his victory.

Too bad I’m in charge of the Christmas bonus, BITCHES.

  • JMBauhaus

    2010/11/19 at 1:31 pm

    …that is ALL KINDS of effed up and evil.

  • Mays45

    2010/11/19 at 1:34 pm

    I need to know more about this Tyrant guy.

  • Twinkie

    2010/11/19 at 1:37 pm

    I think the contents of my stomach just hardened – you know, like right before you throw up?


    What I do know is that this evil will not stand, and Tyrant has it coming to him good.

  • naffy

    2010/11/19 at 1:37 pm

    What a cruel and unusual (and diabolically hilarious) trick! And, what a beautifully made resting place for your little friend.

  • Agent Scully

    2010/11/19 at 1:39 pm

    Skipping past the hilarity, I came here to say just one thing:

    Tyrant is *the* perfect man. Seriously. Tall, handsome and a vegetarian?! Perfection.


  • Brookelyn Bridge

    2010/11/19 at 1:40 pm

    My mom did, in fact, eat her pet duck. That’s what happens when you grow up on a farm.

  • musickatt

    2010/11/19 at 1:40 pm

    Oh, he is EVIL, I say, EVIL!! And you must extract revenge some way, somehow.

  • Twirls

    2010/11/19 at 1:44 pm



  • Amanda Brumfield

    2010/11/19 at 1:44 pm

    You are so sweet.

  • Erin47

    2010/11/19 at 1:45 pm

    I almost stopped reading at “In November 2009 my betta fish Lou died.” and left the room to vomit. But I stuck it out. Thankfully it’s a happy ending. WOW, TYRANT, NOT COOL.

  • msnorway

    2010/11/19 at 1:55 pm

    Beautiful coffin. Horrible prank.

  • kaseekrueger

    2010/11/19 at 1:59 pm

    I sit here anticipating the revenge story.

  • luv and kiwi

    2010/11/19 at 1:59 pm

    wow…almost threw up in my mouth a little bit just then.

    why are veggie heads so cruel? don’t we too count as animals? if you make us eat our fish don’t we too bleed?

  • herpecin

    2010/11/19 at 2:01 pm

    Is it just me, or are the rest of you readers getting the impression that Heather wants to bang Tyrant? Anyone?

  • martywombacher

    2010/11/19 at 2:02 pm

    I think the name Lou is the perfect name for a fish. And I think Tyrant should be forced to eat Lou for the cruel trick he played on you. It would make for a good video!

  • angelamw

    2010/11/19 at 2:07 pm


    I got a goldfish in the 3rd grade for Easter and it ended up living until my senior year of high school. My mom couldn’t bear to flush him so waited until a nice day to bury him… I’m now 23 and Fish is still frozen. Every year when my brothers and I come home for Christmas one of us always forgets and opens the tin in the freezer expecting to find my mom’s cookies.

    Just wanted you to know that you are not alone and that for Leta and Marlo’s sake I thank you for labeling the box.

  • thatton

    2010/11/19 at 2:07 pm

    People in my office think I am crazy – I am laughing so hard at this! Funny stuff, nice work Tyrant.

  • katewestrich

    2010/11/19 at 2:12 pm

    When my uncle was younger he had a pet rabbit. It pooped all over the house and ticked my grandma off. So she killed it, skinned it and served it. She just told everyone it was chicken. I am pretty certain she told me that and not my uncle so he still doesn’t know he ate his pet!

  • Taratory

    2010/11/19 at 2:24 pm

    If cartoons have taught me anything, it is that dead fish MUST be flushed down the toilet lest their souls haunt you forever (they like to be in water).

    See Dexter’s Laboratory “Fillet of Soul”

  • swindled

    2010/11/19 at 2:26 pm

    I highly recommend youtubing the video for Carrot Juice is Murder and passing that along to Tyrant.

    Not cruel like the fish …”gag?”…but at least funny

  • Daddy Scratches

    2010/11/19 at 2:28 pm

    I don’t even like anchovies. Dead former pet beta fish? BAAAARRRRRFFFF.

    I’d have thrown something at Tyrant’s head. Something heavy.

    Glad you didn’t really eat your former friend.

  • signot

    2010/11/19 at 2:30 pm

    Did you ever write about his death? I can’t remember reading about it, and I was actually just wondering about him the other day. And now I’m traumatized. Poor Lou! He’s looking down from the Great Fishy Beyond and laughing hysterically.

  • RioLee

    2010/11/19 at 2:31 pm

    WOW! Tyrant is really living up and possibly exceeding his title? I am thinking he may need a new one, maybe something along the lines of Tyrant Vlad Tepes?
    He did seem to get a huge joy out of pretending to almost impale you with that staple gun…hmmm.

  • jaimeclewis

    2010/11/19 at 2:31 pm

    Mmmmmm, fresh beta on a bed of greens.

  • reymiland

    2010/11/19 at 2:32 pm

    Bang Tyrant? Is there something she doesn’t know about?

  • Dani

    2010/11/19 at 2:35 pm

    If you’ve got a good enough sense of humor to put up with that and calmly plot revenge I admire you.

    I on the other hand would fire him. Sorry dude you do not make a joke out of a dead pet. But then I still cry about pets I lost 20 plus years ago.

  • Ames422

    2010/11/19 at 2:37 pm

    Am I the only one who doesn’t like Tyrant? I say this based on the fab video of Heather and friends playing Kinect. If you look closely in the background, Coco sniffs his hand ( just saying hello, please pet me) and he pulls his hand back like she pooped on it. I don’t trust people who don’t like dogs.

  • reggittino

    2010/11/19 at 2:39 pm

    It’s such a nice working environment you guys have! I do have to agree though that Tyrant is slightly evil!

  • msmoose

    2010/11/19 at 2:43 pm

    And the countdown to the post on Heather’s revenge begins…

    Oh hey, Tyrant, give me a call, please. I have a husband who has been all kinds of evil this week, and I suck at coming up with diabolical revenge plots. It’s a side job!

  • LDC Soundsystem

    2010/11/19 at 2:48 pm

    My mom put our dead cat in the deep freeze. True story.

  • arishell

    2010/11/19 at 2:53 pm

    Tyrant is so asking for something evil to happen to him! I was laughing hysterically. I cannot wait to hear about the retribution!

  • picklepie

    2010/11/19 at 2:57 pm

    you just don’t find that kind of evil everyday. sounds like he is a keeper

  • tallnoe

    2010/11/19 at 3:00 pm

    AWESOME! I think that Tyrant is perfect as well. DAMN that no girls policy!!
    Oh, and I’m with @Brookelyn Bridge: I had to eat Donald and Wilbur. It was way not nice.

  • stresso

    2010/11/19 at 3:08 pm

    oh Heather, you’ve made me LAUGH OUT LOUD! I keep my dead kitty’s ashes in my PJ drawer. I understand.

  • Mo

    2010/11/19 at 3:09 pm

    WOW. I think I would like him.

    I say you pull the same sort of thing on him…but ACTUALLY feed him something gross. And you act all…”haha-funny joke right? NOT! SUCK IT! I AM THE QUEEN OF EVILNESS, NOT YOU!!!”

  • tokenblogger

    2010/11/19 at 3:16 pm

    Best kind of story to come home after spending all afternoon at the doctor’s office!

  • Maggles

    2010/11/19 at 3:23 pm

    I love this guy. Tyrant, I love you. One of the best practical jokes I have ever heard. Beautiful!

  • simpliSAHM

    2010/11/19 at 3:26 pm

    And here I was thinking (until you got to the dead pet fish part) that you were going to tell us he’d replaced the chicken in your salad with tofu.

  • tokenblogger

    2010/11/19 at 3:27 pm

    @ herpecin:

    Go back and watch the video — you missed something important.

    @ Ames422:

    It looked to me like Coco licked Tyrant’s hand and then he wiped it off on the back of his shirt. BFD!

    @ Both of you:

    I come here for entertainment, pholks. Quit trying to mess that up!

  • Feeling Very Creative Right Now

    2010/11/19 at 3:27 pm

    Dude. My mom currently has TWO cats in her freezer. It’s only been about 6mos for one of them, but I am almost certain they’ll still be there when I have to clean out that freezer after her funeral.

  • Eh What Huh

    2010/11/19 at 3:45 pm

    That was the most disturbing thing I have read in a long time. I am the most weirded out by the fact that you made a coffin for your fish and left him in the freezer.

    Love it!


  • Fartnarna

    2010/11/19 at 3:48 pm

    My son lost his pet Beta Fish last Winter too and could not flush dear Swimmer either. So he buried him in the soil of our big house plant with a popsicle stick that read “R.I.P. Swimmer.” I was a little worried that it would stink but it didn’t. It is nice to think that Swimmer added life to the plant.

  • apostate

    2010/11/19 at 3:50 pm

    So is a beta fish like a fish that’s still being developed?
    I lost a parakeet once and we burried him in a box for checks.

  • vjl0027

    2010/11/19 at 3:53 pm

    Wow. I too expected just a tofu story. The fact that you spelled it TRYant in the 3rd paragraph is telling – he is tryin’ to drive you insane! Perhaps the commenter who thinks there is a sexual undercurrent has it wrong and Tyrant really wants you out of the way so that he can have Jon all to himself? 🙂 I look forward to the revenge story.

  • thehappyscientist wife

    2010/11/19 at 4:06 pm

    Wow what a lovely little sarcophagus fer da fisch.

    Ester Williams aka, flushing fish.

    I have a funny feeling a bunch of you are googling ole Ester.

    Great post, and ha ha with the bonus remark. Boss always gets last laugh. Always.

  • workroom

    2010/11/19 at 4:17 pm

    so the point of the story is that Lou tastes like chicken?

  • lubstimes4

    2010/11/19 at 4:42 pm

    Best. Prank. Ever.

    I’m totally on Tyrant’s side with this one.

  • Shannonz823

    2010/11/19 at 5:21 pm

    Literally lmfao! Tyrant, I love you. That was genius!

  • Janice

    2010/11/19 at 5:41 pm

    In the context of your relationship, it’s a great joke and I can’t wait to hear how you get even. Personally I would make not screwing with my food a condition of employment. When I was a kid, my family often went to a local tavern with friends for turkey sandwiches. One time I bit into my sandwich to find a band-aid. The cook had cut his finger carving the turkey. The sandwich was sent back to the kitchen but the next three sandwiches I was served all had the same disgusting band-aid on it. Everyone was laughing except me. My hope is that the cook thought he was playing a joke on drunk adults and didn’t realize the band-aid was being sent out to an 8 year old girl. I never did eat that night…. And while I don’t expect you and I would ever meet, it would NEVER be over a meal 😉

  • vent

    2010/11/19 at 6:11 pm


    But what I found even MORE hilarious was this….

    “I couldn’t bring myself to talk about her because I was scared people would find out about the sixteen toes on her right foot.

    She wears special shoes. We taught Leta not to stare or ask questions. She often trips while holding the baby.”

    Bwhahahahahahahaha! OMG Heather, YOU. CRACK. ME. UP!

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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