goodbye annabelle


That was a good day. Claire was five weeks old; her Janny and Uncle Barnes had come out from Australia to rejoice in her presence. We took her to visit Afshin in the Oakland Hills, then we dropped by Alcatraz to see Jack and Salome and their menagerie.

Janny said: “I can live with the cats and dogs playing with the baby, but I draw the line at the rat!”


But Anna was the best rat ever. I was a sad disappointment to her because my hair is too short: her favourite place to sit was under your ponytail, although she would settle for a pocket or a hood. She was a cheerful, friendly, highly intelligent person, with delicate little pink hands that she used to keep herself scrupulously clean, and a strong and beautiful tail.

Unlike Salome’s fraidy-cat dog Belinda and big gay horse Noah, Anna was brave as a lion. She was bred for snake food, and when she was a few weeks old she was for sale in a huge cage full of white rats. Salome reached in and all the other rats ran away from her hand, but Anna sat looking up with her customary merry confidence. She faced death with the same courage.

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