By Tara Adams
Photo via Guinea Pig Culture.
Cradling a guinea pig with one arm, John sat his forehead on the outside of his apartment door. He choked back some liquor that was coming up, fumbled for the keys inside of his fair trade wool blend trench coat and suddenly fell forward as his wife opened the door. He stumbled, but managed not to fall. John smiled a little at his recovery. If he had dented the floor his wife would have her thong in a wad. They had just mortgaged their apartment to install the latest hyper allergenic bamboo flooring. She stared at him with one eyebrow arched pointedly.
Anna had been chewing gum in an attempt to stop craving foods with gluten. She cracked it several times as she said, “What the hell are doing with a rodent? Or is it a small dog?”
“A guy outside of McMenamin’s asked if I would take it,” John debated petting the animal, but instead held his hand over his queasy belly.
John nodded and rolled his eyes, “Because I don’t know.”
“That is not an answer,” Anna said, “That is not even an entire sentence.”
He cringed. John hated it when she pointed out how smart she was. She thought her Marine Mammal Representation in Theatre Puppetry degree was so damn special. John knew she was smart, but her cooking was lacking. It did not help that she was on a health food kick. He went to the table and with his free hand lifted a bottle of red liquid that had tiny bubbles floating in it. John was skeptical, but dehydrated. Taking a big gulp, he tried not to think of the texture as he sat the guinea pig on the table.
“Get that animal off of the damn table, Jonathan!” Anna moaned.
The guinea pig had quickly found the bed of iceberg lettuce that a roasted chicken was sitting on. It was crunching joyfully and John was trying not to upchuck his evening’s fun. Anna stared and then threw down her homemade pot holder that she had bought from an online crafting store. She claimed it helped save the environment to use homemade oven mitts. This particular one had arrived in a box, packed inside a box, wrapped in plastic bubble wrap and placed in, yet, another cardboard box. He did not pick up the guinea pig.
Anna stomped her Birkenstock sandal on the floor, “You ruin everything, John.”
“I do not,” John thought for a few seconds and quickly collected himself, “I could have let it die! How would you feel then, Miss-I-volunteer-for-the-humane-society?” He reached into a nearby drawer and removed a whisk and raised it above the guinea pig’s head. The guinea pig chewed its lettuce.
“What are you going to do, John, fluff it to death?”
He looked perplexed at the object in his hand.
The door burst opened. Anna screamed, John dropped the whisk and three police officers pointed their weapons at the guinea pig which continued to chew lettuce.
The first police officer said over his shoulder, “It’s Baked.”
“No. I’m drunk,” Jonathan corrected.
“That may be, sir. But, I was referring to the guinea pig. Its name is Baked Potato. He is wanted by the state for evidence.”
Anna folded her arms and looked sideways at the officer, “A guinea pig? Is he an eyewitness to something?”
“Illegal larping activities in the Washington Park Rose Garden,” the police officer answered.
Anna turned her back on the police and glared at her husband, “You were larping?”
“What? No.,” John shook his head, “And even if I were, why would that be illegal? Some guys outside hitting each other with foam swords. What is wrong with that?”
The second police officer shrugged. She explained, “It is how the white kids are covering marijuana sales these days. Swords are flying. One falls to the ground, drops the product and the other guy picks it up when he pretends to die. All the while they are wearing goofy medieval outfits. It is all very well rehearsed.”
“You were a part of this?” Anna gasped as she assessed this man that was her occasionally drunk, but law abiding husband.
“The guinea pig needs to be taken into state possession,” the first officer took a step towards the rodent which released a high pitched squeal and climbed up onto the roasted chicken.
Anna placed a hand an inch away from the officer’s chest, “You are not taking this guinea pig. There is no reason that an innocent animal needs to be harmed during an investigation.”
“Ma’am. We are not only going to have to take the guinea pig, but we are going to have to take your husband in to the precinct as well.”
“Have you heard of the Bran Muffin?”
Anna nodded, “I’ve been trying to find a gluten free mix to make them.”
The police officer rubbed his mustache with his index finger, “No, not that kind of muffin. The Bran Muffin, otherwise known as the muffin man, has been the key player in the larping pot ring.”
John raised his hand.
The police officers looked at each other. The female cop nodded towards John, “You don’t need to raise your hand to be called on. You can just say what is on your mind.”
“Why is he called Bran Muffin?”
The third cop finally spoke in a gruff tone, “All of his associates are named Brandon, too. I guess they just need to tell each other apart. One is called Bran Flake and the other is called Oat Bran.”
Anna looked at the guinea pig sadly, “Why does he have to go in.”
“He bit Bran Muffin at a party. Turns out the dude was so high, he tried to eat the guinea pig whole and alive. The guinea pig did not cooperate and bit back. Now that guinea pig has the bad guy’s DNA on its incisors.”
John raised his hand, again.
“Sir,” the second cop spat, “I told you. Do not raise your hand.”
John used his right hand to point at his left thumb, “But, the guinea pig bit me too.”
“Damn it!” The first cop holstered his gun, “I knew we should have stopped this dude as soon as the guinea pig was handed to him.”
Reluctantly, the other two cops put their weapons away.
The first officer walked past the other two in disgust. A scratchy voice came over his shoulder mic, “Fugitive in custody. Repeat, Bran Muffin has been detained. Copy.”
The policewoman shook her head on the way out the door.
“I am sorry,” the third cop said, “We caught our guy and the squeaker is tainted evidence now. Enjoy your new pet. I will show myself out.” He shut the apartment door behind him.
Anna sat down in one of the kitchen chairs, newly upholstered with recycled organic seaweed fabric and sighed.
The guinea pig slid down the other side of the roasted chicken and chortled loudly. Silently, Anna pushed a carrot towards it.
“It’s okay,” John said solemnly, “It is gluten free food.”
Tara T. Adams considers herself a rookie word smith. She enjoys the adventure of writing multiple genres. She grew up in the Pacific Northwest and is currently living in Eastern Montana while teaching. Tara is the proud mother of a Pug and a Beagle.