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It will be perfect,
my mother said.
No potty training
or messes on the carpet.

I know you wanted an RL dog
but they’re rare now
and expensive.

Not the one
I want,
I said.

You’re thinking of the designer ones.

There’s others.
I’ve seen them at the trash depository.
Maybe we could ask the women who work
there where they got theirs from?

I don’t want you speaking to those women again,
my mother said.
It’s unhygienic.

They’re nice ladies,
I said.
She tutted and turned her face to her manicure.

No.

No RL dogs in this house
but what about this little guy.

She turned her screen to me and
I admit he was cute.

A DG-147.
He was sleek, shiny,
copper-colored
with a REAL-FEEL nose
and panting tongue.

His little spring tail
wagged and wagged

and he had one eye—
a camera lens in the middle of his forehead
so he could record his adventures.

Ok, I said.

I like him
and I did.

Deeg and I have been companions for years.
Always together.
He has got me through the bad times and the good.
He’s my best friend,
just like his box said he would be.

I am a responsible dog owner
Even though my mother thought I wouldn’t be.
I have oiled him
and uploaded his updates
and rubbed his shiny flanks with a dry duster.

I ordered replacement parts for him
when his wore out.
Wanted him to be my dog forever.
I worried that if I died he would be alone but

now they say he is obsolete.
They don’t make them like him anymore.
He needs a new motherboard
but they don’t supply them.
My mother won’t help me find someone to fix him.
Asked me if I wanted a DG-1000.

I don’t.

She says I am too old to cry over a toy.

I told her she is too old

and she locked herself in her capsule.

I don’t want Deeg to suffer
so tomorrow I will turn him off.

I will don my gas mask and go to the trash depository.
I will make my mother take me
and I will disobey her and talk to the nice ladies
and ask them to take care of my dog.

I will tell them that he has been a good boy,
the best
and that he couldn’t have been a better dog
even if he was an RL one
and that he is irreplaceable.

I will ask them to let me pet one of their RL dogs

and on the drive home I will tell my mother

that I can’t wait until she is obsolete.



Emma J. Gibbon is originally from Yorkshire and now lives in Maine. She is a writer and librarian. Her poetry has featured in Pedestal Magazine and Clash. Emma lives with her husband, Steve, and three exceptional animals: Odin, Mothra, and M. Bison (a.k.a. Grim). She is a member of SFPA and her website is emmajgibbon.com.
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