All God's Creatures
Cool It >> by Sean Bonniwell
TERMS & CONDITIONS | Site by:
Copyright © 2012 Uncle Helmet's Music, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
I gave Ron a white guinea pig for his birthday, which he promptly named Cool It while putting the mascot/pet into his pocket. He fed Cool It secretly, in airplanes, restaurants, anywhere — ordering salad with no dressing — wearing the peacoat I gave him in the middle of summer. Muffled peacoat-squealing always preceded quizzically lifted eyebrows — followed by, "What is that noise?" "What noise?" was Ron's reply, and of course the noise would stop.
Ron originally believed the pig to be male, and insisted that testicles were developing even as we speak. We got used to him whipping the pig out of his pocket and turning it over for closer examination: "I see balls, don't you see balls?" If you didn't, there was something wrong with you, so the best response was..."Maybe." The response from unsuspecting strangers was astonished repulsion! As the pig matured, so did her obvious gender, and Ron's protectiveness became paternally indignant; so did the pig, whose insatiable appetite was more than just a little irritating, and proved by way of terminal indigestion to be her ticket to the big salad bar in the sky.
Ron left Cool It in a Florida motel room, and we were two-hundred miles out of town before we discovered she was missing. Ron was uncommonly reticent about making the return trip to retrieve his pet. His attitude, and the unusual fact that the pig was left behind, roused suspicions that Ron's limit of tolerance for her incessant demands had indeed been attained. We questioned him quite carefully so as not to make more of the matter than was required, but I still had to rule on the advisability of turning us around and adding six hours of road to our next destination. We got no indication Ron felt one way or the other about Cool It's fate; he stubbornly but graciously insisted, the decision was mine. Thinking it may be a test of compassionate friendship, I turned us around. There was much moaning and grinding of teeth...
By the time we got back everyone was breathless with worry and frustrated curiosity; everyone, that is, but Ron. He followed us rather casually as we all rushed to the motel room hoping to find Cool It under a bed, or maybe in the wastebasket chewing on a donut wrapper? What we found was a scene of diabolical proportions, and I was certain that Ron would be so horrified by the result of his neglect he'd lose his imperturbable equilibrium, if not at least the lunch he didn't have...
He was the last to come into the motel room. Having been somewhat unwilling to go whole-hog — as it were — into the teeth of the dilemma, we supposed his bringing up the rear the consequence of a heart heavy from loss. The now fully matured, quite obnoxious guinea pig had gorged for the last time, and lay dead on the rug with half a bath towel protruding from her open mouth. Evidently the maid ran screaming from the room and has not been heard from since. Mark (Ron's road/roommate), was quite smug about Cool It's suicidal gluttony. For that matter, so was Ron.