Above: A miserable, piece-of-shit failure
TUSCON--Their dreams of a healthy, loving, mutually beneficial union apparently dashed, local couple Benjamin Hargen and Felicia Cox have decided to blame Cuddles, the puppy they purchased last month.
Procured in a shortsighted attempt to conjure common ground in a relationship that had grown stale and unfulfilling, Cuddles has failed miserably at every turn, even going so far as to prompt several arguments between the former college sweethearts over whose turn it was to take the two-month-old lab for a walk.
"I really thought this dog would fix everything," said Hargen. "The resentment, the boredom, the twenty pounds she's packed on since we moved in together."
Cox agreed completely, adding, "I had every reason to suspect that Cuddles would encourage Ben to get off the couch once in a while. Maybe get a job or realize my vagina isn't just for show. Something to redeem the hollow coexistence that passes for love around here."
Cuddles is but the latest scapegoat in a year-long process aimed at rehabilitating a relationship neither party can even remember enjoying. Hargen and Cox had progressed through various rare plants, two gerbils, several macaws, a kitten, a ferret, another kitten, and a Vietnamese pot bellied pig named Ernesto before discovering Cuddles.
"Honestly, I'm sick of hearing about it," said Hargen's best friend, Jay McMillan. "Either Ben is bitching about his girlfriend or trolling petfinder.com for some magic fix. They just need to break it off before anything else gets hurt."
The "anything else" McMillan referred to was the first kitten, Jinx. After failing, as all other pets have, to repair this faltering relationship, Jinx was mortally wounded by the ferret that followed.
"It's kind of a just killing, if you think about it," admitted Cox. "Not that the ferret worked out in the end. The vet said it died of natural causes, but I've always suspected that ferret committed suicide. The eyes... you could see it in the eyes."
While the fate of Cuddles remains to be determined, Hargen and Cox continue to contemplate other methods of mending their broken union. While they do not have room in their apartment for larger domesticated animals such as sheep or horses, there is a more aggressive option on the table.
"We're thinking about getting pregnant," admitted Cox.
Though Hargen is receptive to the idea, referring to it as "our Hail Mary," one aspect of the scenario gives him pause.
"If the kid doesn't fix us, it's not as though I can buy a bucket, fill it with water, and dig a hole out back. Well...."
For now the couple has decided to enlist the world of international diplomacy to aid their fading relationship, hoping that an expensive European vacation will rekindle the sparks that, in hindsight, never really seemed to be there in the first place.
"I'm hoping her bullshit won't seem like so much bullshit if I'm within sight of the Eiffel Tower," explained Hargen.
"Ditto," added Cox, noting that perhaps Hargen's inadequacy as a lover would seem somehow lessened standing amongst the ruins of past civilizations.
"Failing that, we can just use one of the cities we lovelessly copulate in as a baby name. I hear that's popular," she added.
At the very least they hope the trip will give them new material to talk about when avoiding discussing the sad shambles their lives have become.
In the meantime, both hope to use the excuse of walking Cuddles as a needed respite from the smothering atmosphere of their empty home life.
"So in that respect, the dog was worth it. Who's a good boy?" asked Hargen, through gritted teeth, before kicking the puppy in the ribs.