Short Story: “The Care and Keeping of Your New Pet Frankenstein”

Normally I would try to write something scary for October, but this year I felt like going in a sillier direction. I’ve wanted for a while to use the idea of writing an owner’s manual or pet care guide for some kind of horrifying monster, like Cthulhu or a zombie. Because I still had Frankenstein on my mind after finishing my article on the 1931 movie, I decided to put the two concepts together. It was a lot of fun sneaking in references to both the original book and the adaptations, as well as trying to write in a cheesy forced perkiness tone that (hopefully) makes for a funny contrast with some of the darker implications and warnings.

If you are reading this booklet, then CONGRATULATIONS! You are now the happy owner of your very own Frankenstein! Caring for a pet and giving it a forever home is always a big responsibility with unique challenges, but your Frankenstein is no ordinary dog or cat. Understanding this unconventional specimen can be a daunting task, which is one reason for the many misconceptions and negative stereotypes surrounding Frankensteins. This handy booklet has been produced to dispel those myths and give you the information and tips you will need to care for your new friend. With dedication, education and a little bit of love, you’ll become the best Frankenstein mom/dad you can be!

Contrary to most pop culture depictions, the Frankenstein is NOT a violent, dumb, lumbering monster by nature. Most Frankensteins are in fact highly intelligent and expressive. The prevailing myth of the Frankenstein’s limited brain capacity comes from a misinterpretation of how it communicates. The most common variation of the breed, the Karloff, is often non-verbal and prefers to express itself through body language and basic vocalizations. Compare its behavior with that of the older and rarer Shelley variation, which is quite vocal and picks up language with ease. The former may convey its feelings with simple words such as “Alone bad, friend good.” The other will opt for more elaborate turns of phrase like “Hateful day when I received life! Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned away from me in disgust? Satan had his companions, fellow devils, to admire and encourage him, but I am solitary and abhorred.” But all types of Frankensteins are full of love to share with you!

How can you tell which breed of Frankenstein you have? Just check the neck! The Karloff can be identified by the two small electrodes on either side of its throat, while the Shelley lacks these distinctive markings. Skin color is also a useful indicator of breed: the Karloff will have green or gray skin, while the Shelley’s skin will be yellowed. Although such coloration might make your Frankenstein appear sickly, these complexions are in fact an indicator of good health.

Frankensteins are social, codependent creatures. A newborn Frankenstein will quickly imprint on its parent or owner, designating them as its primary companion. Remember, your Frankenstein relies on YOU for its physical and emotional well-being! Having a complete mental breakdown upon seeing its face for the first time and then leaving it to fend for itself won’t do much to build your family bond. The best way to forge a lasting relationship with your Frankenstein is simply to be a constant and positive presence in its early life. If you neglect your new friend at this critical point in its development, it may become disillusioned with humanity and instead find joy in systematically murdering your whole family. And nobody wants that!

Here are some fun bonding activities that you and your Frankenstein can do together!

  • Go on long nature walks
  • Make flower wreaths
  • Learn about things that float (and things that don’t!)
  • Read the works of Cornelius Agrippa
  • Meditate on the nature of life and death
  • Play violin music
  • Dress up in top hats and suits and do a fancy dance

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should your Frankenstein be exposed to an open flame. They are easily distressed by the light and heat of fire, and they WILL panic. We are not responsible for any panic-induced murder or property damage that your Frankenstein may commit.

Once your Frankenstein has learned some good manners, you can introduce it to your friends and relatives. But be warned that others may not be able to see your Frankenstein’s inner beauty as easily as you can. They might ignorantly refer to your new friend as a “fiend” or a “demon” or a “unforgivable sin against God.” In order to combat such reactions, you may first want to introduce your Frankenstein to your more open-minded acquaintances and gain their support. Start with a blind person, if you know one. Your Frankenstein should know what it feels like to be judged for be judged for their personality and not their face! Once your Frankenstein is more confident and has a solid foundation of friendships, it can meet the rest of your social circle. Remind your Frankenstein that its job is NOT to convince other people that it deserves to be loved. It’s already perfect just the way it is!

We cannot stress enough that your Frankenstein requires the companionship of others. Research has shown that they are particularly fond of playing with children and/or small animals. If you set up a playdate, however, all parties involved need to be supervised. Your Frankenstein needs to be taught about the proper rules for play, or else somebody could end up all wet!

If your Frankenstein asks you to get another Frankenstein for it to play with, consider its request but use caution in doing so. Some Frankensteins can be very territorial, and they just don’t get along well with their own kind. On the other hand, two or more Frankensteins may get along TOO well and start plotting to destroy you or humanity in general. In the best-case scenario, however, a multi-Frankenstein household can be a lively and eclectic environment that helps all your Frankensteins live happier, healthier lives. The topic of introducing multiple Frankensteins is covered in the “Advanced Frankenstein Care” booklet, available separately.

Above all, the most important key to successful Frankenstein care is to remember that no matter what, you should always be there for your Frankenstein in its time of need. A pet Frankenstein is not a toy, it’s a RESPONSIBILITY. You are the first experience that your Frankenstein will have with the real world, so make sure that it’s a positive experience!

Good luck, and try not to get strangled!

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