A man wakes up to find a dead pig in the swimming pool in his back garden.
Cue confusion and introspection!
PIGS MIGHT FLY
Chapter 1 – Rise and Shine
He decided it was time to get out of bed. Couldn’t stay in bed all morning after all. He pulled the covers over and swung his legs over the side of the bed, feeling the soft carpet gently feather the soles of his naked feet. He yawned and heaved himself into standing. He padded over to the window, threw the curtains open, and saw a pig in his swimming pool. Strangely, the first thing that struck him wasnot‘How the hell did that pig get there?!?’ but ‘Is that pig wearing a shirt and tie?!?’…
Chapter Two – Pigs Might Fly
Minutes later he was standing in the garden.
Having checked the house and garden thoroughly, he had established, with a little surprise and not a little relief, that the only thing thatwasin any way extraordinary this morning was the dead pig spinning terminally out back. He had feared momentarily that the entire fabric of reality had torn open and all kinds of hideous and alien visions awaited him downstairs, but thankfully his home had been kind enough to remain exactly as he had left it the night before. Despite the inevitable crystallisation, the wine glass stood unchanged and unmoved on the coffee table. The ashtray was full to the brim and still disgusting, and the train ticket he had used as a makeshift bookmark lay reassuringly between pages 70-71 where he had left it. In fact,everything was completely normal… apart from the pig.
A gentle breeze tousled his hair as he watched the beast rotate and send tiny ripples across the surface of the water in silent yet concrete confirmation of it’s being there. And there was no mistake. It was wearing a shirt and tie.
Chapter Three – Deeper and Deeper
He had never had a proper net to clean the pool with (he had never cleaned the pool) but he figured that no standard net would have been in any way large enough to accommodate this circumstance anyway, so that didn’t really change anything. He didn’t have a mop either. Or even a long brush. But he couldn’t just leave it there.
He cursed his inadequacy as he lowered himself into the pool.
The pig was in the deep-end so he had to take a few long strides to bring himself alongside. The water was freezing and, if he hadn’t been fully awake before, then he certainly was now. Was that a good thing? Probably not.
Up close now, he could see its face. Two eyes, two ears, a snout, a small, narrow mouth. Again…all normal…nothing strange there. He’d never beenthisclose to a pig before but he’d seen them alright, and they looked just like this. The only thing odd about this one was its location and it’s dress sense.
He reached out a finger and touched its flank. It was slimy but inescapably solid. Upon actually touching the creature, his body seemed to realise where it actually was and what it had got itself into, and he had a minor crisis. His instinct was to get out, right now, go upstairs, pull the curtains, hop back into bed and just start all over again. His brain, ever the rationalist, told him to stop being so stupid, ‘it was only a dead pig after all’, and sort this mess out. He sometimes wondered whether he liked his brain very much.
Using his fingertips he gingerly manoeuvred the bizarre corpse to the pool’s edge and, in one swift motion, with his eyes closed (just in case), rolled it up over the lip and out onto the slabs. Well, at least it was out now.
Chapter Four – Small Mercies
So now what? Was there someone he should call? Was there anyone hecouldcall? Do you get Unwanted Animal Removal agencies in the Yellow Pages? He somehow doubted it but figured it was worth a try and had a flick through anyway… Nothing under U, nothing under A, nothing under R. Ok, so no Unwanted Animal Removal Agencies. But there was always the RSPCA. Good old reliable RSPCA. He flicked the pages until he found their advert and punched in the number.
Drrring drrring…..drring drrri
“Hello, RSPCA, how can we help you?” came the voice from the other end.
“Erm, hi, yeah…I was just wondering if I could ask your advice on something?”
“Of course sir, what’s the problem?”
“Well, it’s not so much a problem as a simple question really…”
“Ok…well…you see, I got up this morning…” he paused to make sure he was about to say what he was about to say, “and…”
“Go on…” urged the receiver
“well… I found a dead pig in my back garden.”
“………” said the receiver,”………pardon?”
“Erm…a dead pig…in my swimming pool, in a shirt and tie…”
“A shirt and tie?” came the eventual response
“Are you having a laugh mate?”
“No, honestly!” he had been half-expecting this “There is a dead pig wearing an M&S shirt and tie combo lying in my back garden and I have absolutely no idea where it came from!”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course I’m sure! How could I not be sure?”
“Yeah, one of those cheap combo thingies.”
“Like where you buy the both together?”
“How do you know it’s M&S?”
“How do you know it’s from Marks and Spencers?”
“I went in to fish the thing out and saw the label, but listen, is this really the important issue here?”
“Sorry, I just wondered”
“Right…Sure…But what I really need to know is what to do about it!”
“How did it get in?”
“How the hell would I know?” this was getting stupid, “I told you, I woke up and just found it there.”
“Did you leave the gate open?”
“The garden gate, did you leave it open last night?”
“What’s that got to do with anything?”
“Well if you did then it might have wandered in that way. Animals often wander off and pop up in the strangest places.”
“How irresponsible of them!”
“There’s no need to be sarcastic,” said the receiver, “I’m just trying to help.”
“Look, I appreciate your efforts but think about it; I live in the middle of the city, on a terraced street. Leafy it may be, but it’s hardly the peak district. One just doesn’t expect to see farmyard animals sneaking up people’s alleyways in the middle of the night!”
“Right, fair point.”
“And besides, I didn’t leave the gate open.”
“However,” he went on, “that doesn’t change the fact that itisthere, right now, lying dead on my patio and I just need to know what the correct procedure is.”
“Well I don’t think there really is an official procedure to be honest. I mean, like you said, in urban areas you just don’t expect to see farmyard animals sneaking up people’s alleyways in the middle of the night.”
“So what the bloody hell am I going to do with it?”
“Calm down please sir. No need to get angry.”
“Ok,fine…” he breathed in “but just tell me what to do would you?”
“Erm…you could…..” there was a pause,
“Could what? Go on!”
“I was just thinking….you could always, well…you could always, just…eat it?”
He hung up.
Chapter 5 – This Little Piggy
He was sitting at the kitchen table facing away from the bay windows that opened onto the back patio. Out of sight, out of mind, bollocks! Guaranteed that phrase wasn’t coined by someone who had found a dead pig in their swimming pool and then tried very hard to ignore it.
His brain was doing somersaults. It’s not every day the bold, irrefutable reality of something so outrageously improbable inconsiderately materialises in your backyard overnight. Was he going mad? Is this what it felt like? He was trying hard to suppress the persistent urge to panic. He started going over and over the situation in his head, thinking of any conceivable ways in which it might have arisen. If he could just find a sensible explanation.
Maybe it was a practical joke? That would explain it. Unfortunately, he just couldn’t imagine any of his friends doing something like this. For one, it would have required a lot of effort and they weren’t, as he wasn’t, what you would call energetic. Besides, where would they get a pig from? And why a pig? He wasn’t convinced.
So then, maybe it had fallen out of an aeroplane or something? But surely if that was the case it would have looked more like an extensive area of floating pig remains than one, whole pig.
Maybe it had somehow got loose from somewhere, found its way into his garden somehow, and then drowned? That wasn’t impossible. Could pigs swim? Either way, it didn’t sound likely. But then finding a dead pig in your garden wasn’t, strictly speaking, ‘likely’ anyway.
Maybe it was…oh maybe, maybe…maybe this, maybe that…this was useless. At the end of the day, did everything have to have a rational explanation? Was there any real reason why a pig couldn’t just turn up? He lit a cigarette and allowed his brain a moment’s respite. His eyes followed the wisps of smoke as they curled up towards the ceiling, drifting this way and that way, at the mercy of invisible and inexplicable forces.
Later that morning, he had a large bacon sandwich on thick wholemeal bread, with brown sauce and a pickled gherkin on the side. And life went on.