“Well, what about a Toblerone? Those always make good presents.”
Douglas sighed, but it wasn’t like he had expected any different.
“I can’t get her a Toblerone, Arthur,” Douglas explained, “Or to be more precise, I could, but that can’t be all I get her. It’s her birthday, Arthur. She’s turning ten. She’ll expect more than a chocolate bar.”
“Oh, right. So where are we going then?”
“We’re here.” Douglas pulled up beside the kerb as Arthur peered out the passenger window.
“Oh wow! A pet shop!”
“Yes,” Douglas confirmed, turning the car off and stepping out during a lull in traffic, “I figure there’s nothing any kid wants more than a pet animal for their mother to take care of.” Douglas followed Arthur inside, grateful to be out of the summer heat and into the air conditioning.
Arthur looked around with an excited expression on his face. “Remember, Arthur,” Douglas said, thinking of the warning Caroline had given him that morning, “You’re only here to give suggestions. I know my daughter but you’re basically an overgrown child yourself, so you’re providing the child’s point of view. We’re not actually getting you anything.”
“Right-o, Douglas!” Arthur said, but Douglas wasn’t sure he believed Arthur’s assurance. “Ooh, can we get her a bunny?”
Arthur was sticking his fingers through the cages anyways, but Douglas shook his head. “I’m afraid we’ll have to get something a bit smaller - see, I don’t exactly have her mother’s permission for this, and while the point is to get something to inconvenience the woman, I don’t want to be too mean.”
“I thought the point was to get a gift for your daughter.”
“Well, yes. That is the primary goal here.”
Arthur’s attention was soon caught by something else. “Ooh, what about one of these?” He had crossed over into the aquarium section and gestured towards the fishtanks.
“What, a goldfish? A fish sounds like a good idea, but a goldfish seems too plain-“
“No, one of these!” Arthur pointed directly at a few translucent creatures crawling around the bottom of one of the smaller tanks. Douglas had to lean over to get a better look.
“A shrimp,” Douglas stated.
“A ghost shrimp! They’re see-through, see?”
“They’re horrific, Arthur.”
“No they’re not! They’re very interesting looking! See, I think they’re interesting, I’m sure your daughter would think so as well!”
“I’m not buying her a shrimp,” Douglas said, “not even a proper one. They’re disgusting and it wouldn’t even be worth freaking her mother out.”
“Aw, they’re not disgusting-!”
“I beg to differ.”
“-and they’re much more interesting than a goldfish!”
“I think I’d rather go with the goldfish, thank you.”