Monday, August 11, 2008

Finally: "... and then there were three."

Finally, I have had a chance to type this up. Sincere apologies for my tardiness; my life has been a little crazy-busy of late. But here it is, as yet unfinished. But begun, which is the point.

She couldn’t believe how unlucky she was. She looked at the small bucket of food in her hand; three pairs of eyes blinked at her from behind the wire mesh. She didn’t think there would be enough food for all three, particularly because the little one probably wasn’t strong enough to push past the others and get his fair share.

She crouched down, put the food on the ground and pressed her right eye up to one of the holes in the mesh. She wasn’t quite sure how this had happened. Yesterday there had been only two guinea pigs to feed, both male. Now a third had appeared. She didn’t understand how a baby could appear without a girl guinea pig.

“Where did you come from Little One?” She asked, using the name her father called her, and poking her fingers through the mesh at the animals, who were all whining at her in expectation of food.

  • shared sibling moment – her slightly older brother comes out to get her, sent by her mother, and realises immediately hat one of the ‘boy’ guinea pigs must be a girl.
  • the parents only gave in to the repeated requests for a guinea pig on the condition that they only got one; but the man in the shop explained that guinea pigs don’t survive very well without companionship. The daughter overheard this and was horrified to think of how lonely her guinea pig, Max, would become, so the parents reluctantly agreed to get two, as long as they were both male: “we don’t want any baby guinea pigs”
  • now the girl and her brother are terrified of getting in trouble, and of what might happen to the baby if Mum and Dad find out it exists.
  • they discuss their options: letting it go (“but what about the neighbour’s cats!?”), hiding it, taking it to school to give away.
  • their mother opens the back door of the house and calls out to them to hurry up – she is going to be late to work, and they to school. At this point a hurried decision is made: the brother expertly catches the baby guinea pig and his sister puts it in the pocket of her school dress: “Sally always said she wanted a guinea pig.”

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