Boris had just returned home from the gym when the call came; his wife was in labour. Boris was about to become a father for the first time and he knew exactly what to do; he slapped himself in the face and ran straight to the petshop.
An hour later Boris arrived at the hospital, where his wife had already given birth to a healthy 8lb boy, who was now asleep in her arms.
"This is your son."she exlaimed.
"Very nice, but look what I've got!" Boris replied, unveiling a puppy from inside his coat.
"What? Why the fuck have you got a puppy? Is there something wrong with you? We haven't got time to be raising a puppy, we've got a baby to take care of!"
"It's fine," Boris said reassuringly. "You're going to raise the baby and I'm going to raise the puppy. Whoever does the best job wins."
Boris' wife had a strong urge to throw the puppy out of the window, but she was very tired and a tiny part of her was worried that her husband might retaliate by throwing the baby out after it. He took his challenges very seriously.
Months went by and Boris took an early lead. The puppy was quick to become toilet trained and it had mastered walking on four legs with ease; it could even sit on command six times out of ten. Meal times had become a nightmare for Boris' wife. The across-the-dinner-table taunts (ranging from gentle banter to soul crushing insults) had put a huge strain on the love she felt for her husband. There are only so many times a woman can be told "You'd better up your game or our son is gonna end up a spastic." before she starts to think about divorce.
After two years, the dog's progress had stalled, whereas the human boy was developing all kinds of tricks; walking, talking, high fives. Boris was devastated. He set about disrupting his son's development as best he could; he would teach him the wrong words for things, so that when his son referred to an apple as a pig-cartridge in front of his mother, Boris would laugh riotously. "A regular old Einstein you've got there. Keep up the good work." he would say, but with heavy layers of sarcasm.
More years went by, and despite Boris' best efforts, his son became far greater in mental and physical ability than a dog. Through intense training Boris had been able to teach his dog to carry out simple sums, but his son was already capable of algebra and long division. His wife never bragged about this, she was just doing what a mother should. She also knew her husband would not take it well.
When Boris' son was nine years old, his school held a science fair in which he won 2nd place for making a fully working model volcano. As Boris watched the bicarbonate soda gush from the papier-mâché fountain, and his son proudly displaying a silver medal, he came to accept that his dog could never achieve something so wonderful. His heart sank and his stomach twisted into a thousand knots.
For many days after the science fair, Boris had been unable to get himself out of bed. The world had become filled with an inescapable grey mist. He couldn't look at his son without seeing a black hole shooting out despair and defeat, despite black holes not working that way.
Then, one morning, about a week after the science fair, Boris' wife awoke to find her husband gone, along with the dog. He returned at ten o'clock that night, but he returned alone. Nobody mentioned the elephant in the room, the elephant that was actually a dog and the room that was actually not the room. It was enough that Boris seemed to have returned to his normal self.
Two months later, in early November, Boris came home carrying a dozen newspapers. He slammed one on the kitchen table in front his wife and ecstatically roared "Read it and weep!" And weep she did; Laika was dead."The first animal to orbit the Earth!" sang Boris, who was doing a sort of dance. "I win, I win!"
"But your dog is dead." she said, concerned at her husband's reaction to the loss of his beloved pet.
"It doesn't matter, you will never beat it." and so confident was Boris in these words, that he wandered out into the woodshed and fired a bullet into his brain.