When I was twelve I had a gerbil named Spike. Spike was no ordinary gerbil, he was a gerbil of integrity and love. Spike and I formed a bond that I believed could never be broken, not even by all of the sexy girlfriend gerbils that I imagined Spike would someday have (he was totally a studly gerbil).
I never thought that a gerbil could be so much fun; he would chew on empty toilet paper rolls and I would watch, he would scamper across my hands and I would watch, sometimes he would even be sleeping and there I’d be, like a stalker with my pants down in the middle of the night holding only a camera and a switchblade, watching. Ah, memories.
Spike’s entrance into my life was completely unexpected, or, I guess as unexpected as it can be to have what you thought were two female gerbils get pregnant and have babies. So, pretty unexpected. I noticed that one of the gerbils, Mocha Latte (most creative name ever, right?), had chubbed up a bit, so we bought her a wheel so she could get busy getting back into shape because no one likes a lazy gerbil. Turns out she already got busy a few weeks earlier, and one morning I could hear my sister yelling about how there were tiny pink worms in our gerbils’ cage. Those worms were six very wrinkly baby gerbils. My parents were SO stoked.
I soon zeroed in on a cute, black baby gerbil who I knew would be the most kick-ass little gerbil ever, so therefore I named him Spike because of the name’s apparent awesomeness. I wish I had named him Spike after Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I wasn't that cool yet, I was just pretty unoriginal, I mean I named my bird Tweety and my fish Fishy.
Spike and I were BFF for a few weeks and I continued to love him and the little white stripes on his back that made him look like a skunk. Everything changed so quickly. One day I went to go watch Spike chew on things but when I got to his cage I couldn’t find him anywhere. I looked inside his little wooden house, under the cedar shavings, on the floor of the room and everywhere in between. I couldn’t find my furry friend.
That’s when I noticed the tail. A black tail with a white tip was sticking out from underneath the food dish; it took every ounce of courage I had to lift that bowl up. My life would never be the same.
Spike was dead. And not only was he dead, he was completely flat.
The food dish, a source of happiness for many, became the source of all that was evil for my twelve year old self. It flattened my best friend.
From that point on I think rage must have clouded my memories of that day because I don’t remember what happened to the food dish, only that it ended up mutilated and in pieces in the garbage later on. My parents were slightly concerned.
The next day I went to gaze at the empty place where Spike once slept in his cage and almost immediately fell in love with another baby gerbil whom I subsequently named Spike.