Afro Ken

I have a new doll. It is a pink dog with a velcro blue afro. He is called Afro Ken and I love him.

Vital Information on Afro Ken

Name: Afro Ken

Mood: Always in good mood

Characteristic: Likes to get close to things that look like Afro Ken (Maybe it wants to be friends). Afro’s hair color changes to the Afro-like things that it gets near.

Species: Afro Dog (Like Shiba dog, Tosa dog, there is also Afro dog)

Yelping: Unconfirmed
(From Confidential information, it speaks Afro language)

Sex: Unknown

Food: Afro Ken will try anything at least once

Personality: Innocent, blameless Afro Ken surprises many people

Movement: Walking


Material for possible children's story about the saga of my pet rat:

On January 17, the day before the full moon, I ran into my boyfriend's badass friend Ted while walking home from the library. Ted asked me if I needed a pet rat, and when I expressed interest he told me the pathetic story of how he had bought a rat earlier in the day to use as a practical joke. He put it in somebody's coat pocket as payback for that person having adulterated his looseleaf tobacco with pencil shavings. Apparently the joke was a dud because the guy didn't even check his pockets when he put his coat on, so Ted had to stop him and tell him he had a rat in his pocket. Ted had made no provisions or plans for the rat after this incident. He placed the rat in a 10-ream paper box, gave it some granola bars and a sawed-off Dixie cup of water, put the lid on, and left it in the mail room while he prowled the streets for someone naive enough to take it as a pet. That person was me. When I saw the rat at the bottom of the box, wet from stepping in its water cup, and shivering, and pretty cute, I said I would take him home. I stopped by my boyfriend's work and as soon as he saw the rat he gave me his credit card and told me to buy it a proper cage and some food. He's a good guy.

At the pet store the girl told me that Ted had dropped the rat while trying to put it in a box, and then told her he was taking it home to get it stoned. She was very unpleasant to me until I told her that I had rescued the rat from Ted and would like to give it a good home. Then she gladly sold me $46 worth of rat supplies. She also told me the rat was a boy. On the drive home I decided to name him Henry.

Over the weekend I read up on rats. I learned that they don't like apples, shouldn't eat lettuce or cat food, and are very intelligent. If your rat has no rat friends, you should play with it at least one hour a day. Unfortunately the more I play with Henry the sicker I get. Wherever he touches my skin I get pink itchy welts, and after playing with him I have trouble breathing. Every day my boyfriend and I play with Henry (he specializes in sleeves and will spend the entire hour sitting in the sleeve of my sweater destroying my shirt while I watch movies). And every day I get sicker. After eight days I can no longer sleep through the night because I keep waking myself up by gasping for air. It feels like there is a concrete block on my chest. I have to sleep propped up or else not enough air gets into my lungs. I have coughing fits that last for half an hour at a time. It feels like my rib cage is going to break from coughing. Also my eyes are watering and my sinuses are running like a faucet. Every time I exhale it feels like there's poison ivy inside my lungs and I start to cough again. Am I ALLERGIC TO THE RAT?

We start changing variables. We buy different rat bedding. We buy different rat food. We break out the air purifier and buy special chemicals to clean it and the air in the rat room. I buy homeopathic asthma medicine, and Breathe Easy tea, and Apitherapy Honey Wild Cherry Syrup, and my mother gives me a bottle of "Vitamin O," and I also take lots of other vitamins and herbal extracts and drink tea and lots of water and use an Olbas Inhaler. After two weeks I am utterly exhausted.

Then Henry runs away. We've had him for sixteen days and played with him every day (mostly my boyfriend does the playing because being near the rat seems to propel me towards death) and he obviously hates us because he is always hiding in sleeves or boxes or trying to burrow into things. In a fit of energy I built Henry a rat playland featuring a simple labyrinth and some toys and boxes and also a VIP room with groovy wrapping paper on the walls. Perversely, Henry enjoys hanging out in the maze and doesn't like the open parts of his Playland. On the sixteenth day, Groundhog Day, Henry disappears into a hole in the cabinetry under the kitchen sink and does not reappear. We watch the hole for hours. During my nightly coughing fit I sit with my back to the fridge and wait for Henry to come out for food or water. He does not come out. Is he dead? Has he fallen into the plumbing? Is he happy to be in a dark hole under the cabinet? In the morning I try to coax him out with a dog biscuit. He pokes his nose out the hole and YANKS the biscuit out of my hand, then runs back into his hole. We feel completely betrayed by the feral rodent. The next day I am so upset that I leave work to get my mom's Havahart trap and set it up on the kitchen floor. I've also constructed a wall of cardboard around the cabinetry so if Henry comes out he won't run into other parts of the apartment. But Henry does not come out. I'm worried he might start to dehydrate so we set up his water dispenser on the wall of cardboard and we can hear him come out and drink--but only when we're nowhere near the kitchen. He still isn't falling for the trap. After he's been under the cupboard for 48 hours I am actually starting to feel better. I can sleep through the night and don't need a hankie with me at every moment. But we're so worried about Henry!

At 2AM on Wednesday morning, I catch Henry by hand. I do this by calling his name over and over again (we've been trying to teach him his name) and rubbing my hands with dog food. He falls for it. When I put him back in his tank I notice that Henry is strangely fat. Is he suffering from malnutrition? Does he have tumors? Has he been drinking too much water? Is he a she? By now we're definitely going to take Henry to the Humane Society. He is stressing us out. We have started to bicker. I call the Humane Society but they are fricking closed on Wednesdays. So I make a vet appointment for Friday morning so we can get Henry checked out before getting rid of him. We love Henry, but he's just too much trouble. We're not meant to be rat parents!

On Thursday Henry is still fat. When I check up on him in the evening he is sitting on something strange and purple. It is a dead rat baby. I am completely distraught--Henry and his babies were malnourished while he was hiding under the cabinet! We failed to care for him during a crucial part of his pregnancy! I read up some more on rat breeding and learn that rats will instinctively dispose of any dead babies. It turns out that only one baby wasn't born completely healthy. The other eight are fine.

Now we have nine rats. We are getting used to calling Henry "she." She turns out to be a good mother, and we make sure she gets enough seeds and pellets and nuts and oats and things. The babies are still pink and hairless and their eyes are still shut, but they're starting to get some color where their fur will be. They'll be black and white like their mother, Henry. I am feeling almost completely recovered. One of the many things we changed about Henry's cage or room seems to have solved my asthma problem. We now understand why Henry was so interested in finding close snuggly places to hang out--she was nesting. I thank heaven she did not have those babies under the kitchen cabinet or else we would have had to saw them out of there. Also according to my rat literature Henry must have gotten knocked up the day before Ted bought her--their gestation period is 21 days, and we had Henry for 20 days when she suddenly produced a litter. I am more convinced than ever of the incompetence of that particular pet store. The manager there is also insanely rude.

We will have to give away most of the babies once they're old enough, but I am secretly thinking of keeping one of Henry's daughters along with Henry. Then she will have someone to play with all the time.