"The Care and Feeding of Peeves"
We're not the only household
with an unusual assortment of pets,
from the aquarium full of eyes to
the radiator dragon, along with
a seeing-eye gremlin who is
actually a service animal.
A few blocks over there is
the crazy peeve man, kind of
like a crazy cat lady only instead
of collecting felines he gathers in
the nuisances that other people
have abandoned along the way.
When you pay attention to something,
when you actively feed it, then it tends
to grow on you; and sometimes,
it takes on a life of its own.
But if you stop taking care of it,
then it gets hungry and goes looking
for a new owner to keep it company
and treat it properly as a pet.
We see them at the local park
on the weekends, Mr. Peebley
and his pack of pet peeves all
yipping and dancing around him
like a whole pound's worth of mutts.
Sometimes there's a fellow who
comes in from the county with
his flock of scapegoats, and
the two old men sit down to talk
about whether it's better to warn
people they're getting attached to
a strange pet or not, and which is
the best brand of peeve pellets.
They swap lines from their favorite books,
The Care and Feeding of Peeves and
Practical Scapegoat Raising.
If it's not too hectic, we stop
to chat for a little while, and
they tell us about which cities
have Mythical Beast Supply Shops.
There's talk of another attempt to start
some kind of Ephemeral Animal Control,
but those motions are always begun by
hunters, and nobody with any sense
really wants to call them for help.
Besides, if it weren't
for the pet peeves and
the scapegoats -- and all of
the people taking care of them --
then we'd have to keep our own problems,
and that would really suck.
* * *
The Crazy Cat Lady trope is one iteration of people turning to animals for company when humans fail to provide it.
A pet peeve is a minor irritation which annoys a particular person to a major degree.
A scapegoat is an animal or person blamed for the wrongdoing of others.
An egregore is a thought construct, usually created through a deliberate ritual, but sometimes by accident. Within this setting, pet peeves and scapegoats can spin off into egregores in this fashion.