Subject: An Ode to Stumpy

Date: 01 Jul 1996 00:00:00 GMT

From: (MegEliz)

Organization: Gene Wolfe Library and Family Restaurant, East Wing

Newsgroups: alt.slack, alt.foot.fat-free, alt.basement.graveyard







The smallest progeny of two gerbils the experts at Petland swore were

both female, Stumpy was a fighter from day one. In the frenzy of

birth, Stumpy's mother destroyed her entire litter, with the exception

of Stumpy. Little Stumpy did not escape the blood orgy unscathed,

however; Mama chewed off one of his front legs, which my mother found

when cleaning the cage.


Bloody and maimed, seperated from his rampaging parents, Stumpy showed

an indominable will. It was if the lack of one leg made him jump all

the higher and all the harder against the lid of his little cage. One

day, he decided once and for all to go over the wall. We had to turn

off the furnace and remove all the covers from the registers in order

to facilitate his return to captivity. Rodential wanderlust sated,

Stumpy dropped into my father's lap one afternoon, and was thus

extradited to a maximum security holding facility.


Stumpy lived out his days in gerbil paradise, yet one cold winter

morning, we found he had left us permanently (so we thought) for that

great gerbil nest in the sky. With snow on the ground, we decided to

put stumpy in a paper bag and store him in the freezer until we could

provide a proper burial for him.


Yet as the ground thawed, so did our grief, and Stumpy remained in the

freezer, waiting. That summer, a kind neighbor brought us some fresh

snap-peas from her garden in a paper bag, which mom stuck in the

freezer. Weeks later, she set a pot to boil, and grabbed the peas to

throw in. Her scream could be heard all over Columbus, Ohio that

evening, as my mother watched Stumpy's frigid body bobbing in the

angry wake of the water. I lost Stumpy a second time that day, and my

mom lost her best double boiler.


Now in college, I have moved on to larger forms of rodent life (a rat,

Azie) but Stumpy holds a special place in my family's heart. His

antics, both before and after his death, still bring a smile to our



Love you, Stumpy!

Kit Messick, NYC


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