Friday, October 8, 2010

Alfred Hisscock <--That's what she said.

A kid I barely knew except through mutual acquaintances was getting ready to start his first semester at Stanford. He was moving into the dorms and more than a little concerned that his pet hissing cockroach would preclude any efforts on his part of securing a mate or making new friends at school.

And thus, I inherited Alfred Hisscock--the hissing cockroach named after the famed filmmaker and producer. & I was in luck; I was taking entomology & we could gain extra credit by keeping a pet insect for a month and keeping a journal of its daily activities.

Alfred was pretty low key. He ate dog biscuits and didn't do much else.

And then one day he started to stink.

I noticed this fact one afternoon as I poured myself a bowl of cereal.
The small reptile cage Alfred lived in was giving off a very light fart odor.
I cleaned out his cage but realized the next afternoon that the smell was getting worse.
I finally caved in one afternoon when I pulled into the driveway and my front yard smelled like I'd left a bowl of brown gravy out on the lawn in the heat.

So Alfred came with me to school where I asked my entomology professor why Alfred smelled so bad.

As it turns out, Alfred was really a girl and in the prime of her life; she was giving off the scent of sex pheromones--a distinctive smell that was meant to draw other cockroaches to her--you know, for reproduction purposes.

"She's horny," is what Dr. Gold told me.
[More or less. I might be paraphrasing.]

Dr. Gold didn't really seem to want a horny hissing cockroach hanging around his office for longer than need be so Alfred came back home with me.

I tried passing her off to whoever would take her;
the kid I got her from didn't want her back,
the pet shops wouldn't take her because she was in heat,
the other entomology students would gladly take her but only because they wanted to kill her and use her carcass as part of their bug display (which was our final grade).
So, what I'm trying to say is, I was stuck with her.

I moved Alfred to the back yard until it started getting too cold.
& then she moved into the garage.
I would have let her continue living in the kitchen, but she still stunk.

To make an already long story shorter, I moved her into the garage.
Which was a bad choice.
Because she still made my house smell like boiled eggs and fish.
But moreover, because apparently the garage was not much warmer than just being outside and she died anyway.

I'd like to pretend she died of loneliness.

But anyway, afterwards, I didn't really know what to do with the body.
I didn't want to bury her because part of me thought it was disrespectful...
So I put her in my freezer.

And she stayed there for two years until I donated her body to science.

This is a true story.

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