She looks at the the cages, and shakes her head. An adorable blinded baby basilisk smells her and mews in her direction.

“Cute,” she thinks.
She walks on. A heavy man with a combover and a tight white polyester suit steps in her path, stopping her progress down the row of the pet shop.

“May I help you, miss,” he says, for all the world sounding like Jeeves, but in every other possible way not resembling Steven Fry at all.

“Uh… no thanks.” She steps back. He loves garlic and onions, she thinks, his breath is foul.

“Are you perhaps looking for a new companion, miss? We have all varieties here. A phoenix, perhaps?”

“No, I’m just browsing.” She turns away, tries to escape him down a side row. She sees that she’s ended up precisely where she does not want to be. The dragon aisle. Her eyes tear up in spite of her attempt to not think about Bob.

“Ah, I see you like dragons. May I say you have sublime taste, miss.” It’s not just his breath, but his body odor that nauseates her further. She wants to run, but she’s stuck, held still by an unexpected wave of grief.

“For a lady of your discernment, may I suggest a pygmy dragon?”

He reaches into a cage and pulls out a tiny, red, sleeping beast, the size of a kitten.

“I can’t. Put it away. It’s t..t.too soon.” She stutters, she gasps. “I told mom, I told her. It’s only been a day. I can’t do this.” She backs into a cage, frightening a winged monkey into shrieks.

“I have to go.” She staggers back, finds her way to the main aisle, and staring at her feet, walks out as quickly as she can, tear blind.