I just wanted one. What was the harm in just having one? I’d take care of it, wash it, feed it, what was the problem? Jimmy had a few. Leo had two. Even Monte had one! It seemed like I was the only kid whose parents thought they would do nothing but leave a mess.
Mom was in the kitchen yelling at the replicator in a language she hadn’t taught me yet while I sat eagerly at the window looking down at the port. I saw a small cruiser pull into the west dock. I screamed, “He’s home, he’s home!” I ran to the lift and wildly pressed the buttons. I made the panel bend under the pressure of my tiny finger pressing it so hard thinking that that would make it come up faster. I jump in, grab the handle, and say, “Lobby, lobby!” The lift began to move and I steadied myself. The handle was still above my head so I had to reach high to grab it. It stopped. My heart sank. Did I accidentally let go? Is it broken? I need to see what my dad brought me! Then the doors opened and I saw “Tricycle” who lived on the 60th level get on the lift with me. Mom told me to stop calling him that, but it’s hard. If he can have an extra leg why can’t I have an extra pet?
“Going down?” he asked always uppity and cordial.
“I was…” I said trying to be kind but somehow letting the sarcasm slip out.
“He we go,” he replied grabbing the control swiftly. I stumbled a little but was able to situate myself.
“Well you’re no bigger than a Tellarite aren’t you?” He said it with a smile and cricked his long neck looking at me sideways. I tried to ignore the Endosian but he always made it difficult.
“I’ve grown 2 centimeters Mr. Shayrex.”
“My goodness boy, you’ll soon be as tall as me,” he said as he grinned. I doubt it though, he’s almost 3 meters tall. He has to bend his neck almost 90 degrees to get out of the lift.
The lift halts and the doors whoosh open as we finally reach the lobby. I ran as fast as I could, disregarding Shayrex and running right in between is tripodal stature. I saw my dad’s red hair in the back of a long line of a transport shining bright in the dusk by the bay. I rushed into his arms as he stepped out of the evening transport. He picked me up and swung me around and gave me a big hug. I felt his heart beat through his assignment patch, felt the stubble on his cheek, the second cup of raktachino on his breath, and I whispered in his ear the same thing I whispered for the past 6 months, “Is today the day?”
“Not today son. We’ve talked about this.”
“But why!?!?” I whined incessantly, stomping my foot as he set me down on the ground next to the turbolift.
Dad had five PADDs in his hand and dropped a few as he set me down. He never carried a briefcase because he didn’t like to entertain the notion that he was actually that busy. I picked one up and saw something about a “Star Emp..” he took it away before I could finish the line. We got on the lift and started going back up but without an Endosian in tow.
“Dad I want one. Everyone at the institute has one, even Monte’s parents let him have one.”
“I don’t care what Monte’s parents allow. Not in my house. The thing will just make a mess and eat everything in our quarters,” he slammed verbally with such a finality my lip started to quiver at the thought.
“If I don’t get one, I’m not going to join Starfleet! I’m going to run freight or join the Star Emp!”
Dad chuckled at my outburst and began to smile. I have no idea why he was gleeful, I wasn’t. He let go of the control and we stopped. He knelt down, looked me in the eye, and wiped my tears.
“Son, I love you. You make everything seem ok in this universe. Coming home to you and your mom every night reminds my why I go to work every day and try to prepare for the ‘Emp.’” he said with an air of levity. “But, you have to think about what is best for the family and our quarters. Remember what I told you, ‘The needs…”
“Yeah, yeah. ‘The needs of the many,’ I know,” I pushed it passed my lips but couldn’t get the last part out of exhaustion from unfounded anticipation. He stood up, the turbolift got to our level and I ran in fast passed my mother before my dad could even get off the lift. I hurried into my room, jumped into my bed, buried my head into my iridescent pillow case and heard the whoosh of the door shut behind me. I started to cry and whimper, but as I did I heard something else, something besides me. At first I thought my pillow was making the noise. A slight cooing sound that was barely audible. I started to smile and laugh and ripped my pillow from it’s place to reveal a glorious, beautiful lump of fur! My tribble! Not Jimmy’s, not Leo’s, not even Monte’s! My tribble.
I run into the kitchen, tribble in hand, “Dad I’m so sorry for getting upset with you. But how, how did you do it?”
“Oh that was me,” my mom uttered, “Your dad and I wanted to surprise you so I put it in your room when you went to the lobby.”
“Oh thank you thank you! I’ll take care of it! I’ll wash it! I’ll feed…” dad cuts me off and quickly rushes out a command, “Just let your mom and I take care of the feeding part.”