We took possession of two guinea pigs on Saturday afternoon. We are charged with their care and upkeep until July 4th, when Janie’s parents will return from three weeks of vacationing in France and elsewhere. It’s a tough life they have, with the travel and the leisure time and whatnot.
In 2005, we watched their prior guinea pig, Machi, while they sailed around Antarctica for a month. Yes, a very tough life, those two have. For sure. Machi was originally Janie’s guinea pig, whom she entrusted in the care of her parents while she traveled to Peru for three weeks. She inherited this tough life from her parents, as you can tell. After many rough weeks of exploring foreign nations, Janie returned and inquired about retrieving her guinea pig. “A few more days,” they said. A week later – “A few more weeks,” they said. Eventually they assumed that Janie forgot that the pet was hers to begin with and claimed him as their own. They altered his appearance, moved him to a different school and changed his name, assuming no one would be any the wiser.
We were slightly concerned that our three cats might try to eat Machi for breakfast while we were at work, but needlessly so. It didn’t take long before the two ladies, Carson and Harlow, lost all interest in him. Ducati, however, found his salvation. They bonded over manliness and napping. Ducati had spend much time living in a house of far too much estrogen and was simply delighted to have another man around with whom he could discuss Sartre, snacks and more snacks. It was a match made in heaven.
Towards the end of Machi’s stay, I had him out for a little early evening snack while Ducati sat near his cage and eagerly awaited his return. After snack-time was finished, I went to return him to the safety of his wood chips. I put him near Ducati, letting him take a quick sniff of his new best friend and without a moment’s hesitation, he lifted his paw and whacked Machi on top of his head. I was shocked! They’d been having long discussions all throughout each day and suddenly this physical aggression! Ducati still won’t tell me what happened, but from what I could gather from his MySpace blog, it started with a simple debate over American Idol and ended in fisticuffs. Their relationship was forever damaged and they never spoke again. Machi passed away a few months later, on New Year’s Eve.
I’d never told Ducati of his estranged friend’s passing and had forgotten all about it until the new guinea pigs, Thalia and Daphne, arrived. Ducati took one look into their cage and looked up at me, as if to say, “That’s no Machi. That’s a GIRL. TWO GIRLS!” Then he stormed into his room and slammed the door behind him. He hasn’t come near them since.
Harlow and Carson, however, have watched them intently. I think they have been reveling in the power of estrogen pumping throught the rooms of our condo. I swear, if we all get our periods at the same time, this entire building might explode.
Daphne and Thalia have taken some time to adjust. They are more comfortable with Janie, because they can probably smell the international travel on her and can associate her with their mommy and daddy. I only offer the stink of domesticity, and that’s just no good. I have paid close attention to their personalities and it’s clear that Thalia, the younger of the two, is much more adventurous. She’s also very pretty. She has a wisp of color just under her eye and she thinks that’s hot. She enjoys sitting in the corner of her cage, smoking cigarettes and bullshitting with Carson, stealing Daphne’s food and watching Miami Ink. She has asked to get a tattoo, and I’ve told her that she might be able to get one if she behaves, but we’d have to see. She’s thinking she might want some sort of skull. I told her to give it a lot of thought because it’s going to be with her forever. That’s something they don’t tell you at the tattoo parlor and sometimes, maybe, if you’re young and drunk you might end up with a really gay tattoo that you’ll regret for the rest of your life.
Daphne is more of an introvert. She hides in her pigloo all day long, coming out only to drag her lunch or snacks back into her pigloo. She does not like to be looked at. DO NOT LOOK AT HER. She will scurry away if you look at her so JUST DON’T LOOK AT HER, please. When not eating or biting Thalia on the ass for looking at her, she practices Opus Dei rituals in her pigloo and listens to Jagged Little Pill. She feels a little self-conscious about her looks because she can never get her hair to look right. She’s considering shaving it all off, but doesn’t want people to think she did it because Britney Spears did. She doesn’t want people to think she’s that kind of girl.