By Fairley Rothsman
There is no animal more majestic and beautiful than the tiger, and man’s cruel destruction of its habitats have left it critically endangered. That’s why I’ve dedicated my life to saving these misunderstood creatures. Knowing that, it should be clear to you that the following five tiger-related deaths of my loved ones are anomalies and should not be interpreted as reasons to stop working to fill the world with more tigers.
1) My Best Friend Angelo
Angelo and I were fast friends since first we summered together as youths on the sun-drenched costas of Spain’s Basque region. While I took to tiger conservation after university, Angelo became a virtuoso of flamenco guitar, his dextrous fingers fluttering over the strings in an elegant complement to the ruffled, flowing dresses of the dancers. Then he visited me on one of my tiger habitat rebuilds and a tiger jumped out of a tree and tore his head off. As I held Angelo’s severed head in my hands, its eyelids still twitching, I said to myself “Yeah, this looks bad, but still.”
2) Angelo’s Mother and Father
Angelo’s death was major news, the world having lost one of its brightest lights far before his time. At his funeral, I approached his bereaved parents and took pains to explain that actually it was good that I kept on rebuilding tiger habitats and funding tiger breeding programs because tigers are a very important part of the ecosystem we can’t afford to lose. I’m pretty sure I was getting through to them but then a bunch of tigers walked up and bit off their legs before dragging them into tall grass where I couldn’t see them but their agonized wails suggested disembowelment. The other funeral attendees were freaking out but I made sure to yell about how you’re much more likely to be killed by a car than by a tiger, so it’s not actually a big deal and no one blames mechanics for trying to save cars so don’t blame me now.
3) My Beloved Quintuplets
Quinlance, Jean-Luc, Thierry, Rhiannon, and Everluce, my treasured children. I had my dearest wife Roberta rest in a bespoke French featherbed as she recovered from the taxing birth, and as I looked into the comically oversized crib which held our darling children, I could not help but feel as though these innocent, perfect angels were the pinnacle of my life, the light that it had all been building toward. But then I remembered, no, tigers, they’re more important–humans can have children whenever, but the birthrate of tiger cubs is dangerously low. Then a huge tiger smashed through my window and with one mighty swing of his paw clawed my wonderful children into a soggy wad of flesh spaghetti, their day-old blood splashing over my dearest wife Roberta’s screaming face. “The tigers have ruined us!” she yelled, “Never again! I hate them! Fairley, you must stop this!” As the tiger settled down and began to feast on our children, I sat next to my dearest wife Roberta and explained to her that this is just how tigers are, it’s not malice that makes them hunt, it is their nature and to expect different is foolish.
4) My Dearest Wife Roberta
Hysterical, as women are, my dearest wife Roberta sprang from her bed even as I had explained that tigers are not to blame here and they need our help no matter what personal grudge we may have against them. She rushed to the tiger in our room and began to beat at its majestic waves of rippling muscle with her tiny fists. It looked up from the mangled mush of ground meat that had been our quintuplets only long enough to pierce her jugular with a flash of its massive fangs. As blood began to pool on the floor I said to no one in particular, “Yes, I know how it looks, but it’s nowhere near as tragic as if tigers were extinct.”
5) My Adult Son Mathis
At the funeral for Quinlance, Jean-Luc, Thierry, Rhiannon, Everluce, and my dearest wife Roberta (which was closed casket, obviously), I saw my adult son Mathis for the first time since he had left for Oxford. His prematurely lined face had been ill-treated by the stresses of his life, and he wept bitterly for his siblings’ and mother’s deaths. As I moved to embrace him he cruelly shoved me aside, and cursed the glorious tigers for whom my life had been dedicated. “I hate you father,” he shrieked, “and I hate your damned tigers!” He stormed out of the funeral, yelling to all who would hear that he would never see his father or his tigers again. Truly, this hurt me. He boarded a plane to Toronto and said he hoped I lived just long enough to see every tiger die. This was so hurtful and ignorant that I decided to sneak a tiger into his carry-on luggage so he would discover it later and understand how incredible the cats truly are. Last I heard the plane crashed in the ocean with no survivors. I can’t be sure the tiger was at fault so I was hesitant to put this on the list, but I think that’s what Mathis would have wanted.
Fairley Rothsman is currently in mourning over every single member of his graduating class, all of whom were killed in a freak accident at their class reunion which, yes, did have a tiger involved but that’s not the point nor should you draw any conclusions from that