rose’s ferret

‘Granddaughter? No! I’m actually his daughter, believe it or not,’ says Rose, dropping her bag on the floor and herself into a chair. ‘He had me late. When he’d finished all his tomcatting around. Isn’t that right, Dad?’
Charlie laughs, and tips me the kind of wink you might expect from a pantomime dame leaning out across the footlights: folded arms, a discreet bob of the head inclined to the closed eye, and a wry, downward tilt of the mouth.
‘You’re a cheeky monkey,’ says Rose. ‘But don’t push it.’
Charlie is ninety-five, Rose around forty, but I’d have put them both at least twenty years younger. Charlie is immaculately dressed in a suit and tie, Rose in a crop top that shows off her tattoos.
‘I almost didn’t make it,’ she says. ‘The ferret’s sick.’
‘Sorry to hear that,’ I say. ‘What’s the matter with him?’
‘I don’t know,’ she says. ‘He’s just kind of all … blurrrhhhh.’
‘Could be the heat. I wouldn’t fancy wearing all that fur in this weather.’
‘No,’ she says. ‘It’s a design flaw.’
She watches patiently as I examine Charlie, checking his blood pressure, temperature and so on. Everything seems fine, though. There’s still the issue of his unexplained collapse a few days ago, but none of the tests done point to anything.
‘Could just be one of those things’, I say as I complete the observations chart.
‘What? Like Rose’s ferret?’ he says, and tips me another wink.

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