Will Palmer ‘21
First things first, we should probably discuss the photo that accompanied the last installment of this series (hopefully there’s a new one in place by now). I’m not going to lie, it’s not a great look. The lumberjack phase was questionable in and of itself, and I’ve never been good with student ID photos. That said, I can assure you that it is indeed my student ID photo and not a mugshot––those are either for people who got caught or people who wrote about their misadventures in the school paper before the statute of limitations ran out. Far be it from me to fall into one of those camps. But I digress.
We left off with my new chinchilla, having already demonstrated a somewhat malevolent streak, freshly installed under the bed in my dorm room and ready to wreak havoc. In less than a week, my friends had organized a death pool regarding how long Brutus would last in his new environment; the longest bet was two months. To everyone’s great surprise, he not only survived, but prospered (depending on your definition of “prospered”). Within three weeks, he was slamming whey protein shakes and doing prison workouts in his cage while blasting Immortal Technique on a speaker he’d procured on the dark web. By the two-month mark, he was the most swole chinchilla on the eastern seaboard and had dropped five mixtapes on DatPiff (if you’re wondering, the most popular one was All Idez On Me). Needless to say, my cohort conveniently “forgot” the death pool and acquired a newfound interest in treating Brutus with proper deference.
The local squirrels were put on notice as well. On a fine spring day in mid-May, I was polishing my glass eye when I noticed that the door to Brutus’ cage was hanging open. Even worse, my collection of 16th-century throwing stars was missing. I realized that the little fella may have taken the wrong lesson from the episode of Family Guy where Meg goes to prison. Sure enough, I looked out the window and saw Brutus stalking towards a group of chittering squirrels in the center of the quad, ready to find the proverbial toughest guy in the room and punch him in the teeth. I hurried downstairs, prepared to throw hands if my sidekick needed some backup.
As it turned out, he did not––he didn’t even need to use the throwing stars. He approached the erstwhile leader of the squirrels, a nasty specimen that my friends and I had dubbed Harvey Dent (one guess why we picked that nickname). I like to think that Harvey said something uncultured about chinchillas and that Brutus told him he’d need to “get woke,” but I’ll never know for sure. At any rate, Brutus performed what appeared to be a Tombstone Piledriver and introduced Harvey’s good side to the ground at Mach 2. Seriously, he hit the floor so hard that even the NFL would have a hard time covering up the long-term damage. Over my shoulder, I heard my friend J.T. say, “Damn, dude, this is like that scene from Terminator 2.” (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.)
“The one in the biker bar?” I responded, as we executed a crisp dap.
“Word,” J.T. said. “Smoke?” We lit up a couple Camels and turned our attention back to the mêlée at hand. At this point, Brutus had Harvey sprinting around the walls of my dorm like he was Achilles pursuing Hector of Troy. “By the way,” J.T. shot me a glance and took a long drag on his cigarette, “Have you looked at the Wikipedia page on chinchillas? Or, like, done any research at all on them?”
“Not really, I just asked Dennis for some basic tips. I know I’m not supposed to get him wet and stuff.”
“Who’s Dennis? And––wait, you can’t get him wet? Like in Gremlins?”
“Dude who works at PetSmart. Great salesman. What’s up with the Wikipedia?” I paused to ash my cigarette. “And yeah, I guess it’s kinda like Gremlins, now that you mention it. Chinchilla fur is so fine that it won’t dry naturally. Crazy stuff.”
“Anyway,” J.T. responded, clearly still somewhat shook by Brutus’ Wicked-Witch-of-the-West vulnerability, “I was pretty drunk last night and spent some time on Wikipedia, ended up reading about chinchillas.”
“As one does,” I interjected.
“Bro, did you know they can live to be, like, 20 years old?” Brutus drove past us in a small chariot, dragging Harvey behind him by the ankles. I whistled.
“Nineteen more years of this shit?”
To be continued…