Can We Talk?


Always. We can and should talk because our minds are always working, and most people haven’t learned to read them yet. Thank you to Joan Rivers and Robin Williams for making us laugh uncontrollably simply by speaking your unfiltered thoughts. Rest in peace, you comedy geniuses, and we’ll do our part to keep the laughter flowing.

Last Thursday was Albert’s 48th birthday, which put him decidedly in his late 40’s. I don’t like to be late for anything, particularly my youth. As we were leaving the house for a day of celebrating, a Mexican lady was pushing a baby stroller in front of the house and stopped by our walkway. She was looking at something on the ground, and then started calling out to me. “There is something alive over here! Hey, there is something moving.”

I assumed it was a little mouse or something in the landscaping that the cat would later bring me as a present. I walked over expecting to see a Stuart Little, happily playing in the bushes. Instead, I looked down to the sidewalk to see a rodent fetus. It was a squishy, gray eraser with ears and a long tail, no more than a few inches long, and it was breathing.

The woman looked down at the devil monster, and with a heavy Spanish accent proclaimed, “I think it’s a puppy.”

A puppy? I am not a veterinarian, but I’m pretty sure that looks nothing like a puppy, and I don’t think dogs just drop their babies on the sidewalk, willy-nilly. I was in no mood to argue with this woman, when clearly vermin was falling from the tree overhead, so I just agreed. “Yeah, maybe it is a puppy.”

The woman exited with her baby stroller, and Albert joined me in fetus identification. “It’s either a baby squirrel, a baby rat, or possibly a baby possum.” Albert narrowed it down to three potential animals and immediately put it in a box, brought it in the house, and started to nurse it back to health. He got out the dropper and we tried to hydrate the little rodent or dog with water. This was made more difficult by the fact that the thing barely had a fully formed mouth. I’m pretty sure at this point we were trying to save some sort of abortion, which is not the way Albert wanted to spend his birthday.

I go through all the possibilities in my head. Even if this thing lives, which I doubt, two of the potential animals it might become, I don’t want in the house. At best it’s a squirrel, and I’m not even sure how well that would fare with our cat, Ratty. We decide that if it’s actually a rat we will name it Kitty, because our cat is named The Rat. It’s already complicated. We create a nest for our new preemie using a heating pad and some fake fur and move on with our adventures.

We visit a beautiful Buddhist temple in Hacienda Heights that we had wanted to check out and go hiking in Altadena. The Hsi Lai temple was a striking orange-roofed monastery nestled on a mountainside, and the subsequent hike nearly killed us, because it was pushing 100 degrees outside. We get home to find another fetus on our front sidewalk, this one squished to death. What is happening in this tree? Are these rat-squirrel babies just falling out of their nest, or are they being pushed out by an unfit mother? I can see her, chewing on the butt of a Marlboro Red, kicking her unexpected litter, one by one, out of the tree, squealing, “Momma’s going out tonight, I don’t have time for this.” Do I call Peta or Child Protective Services?

Albert tried to keep the original vermin alive for most of the weekend, until he found it stiff and dead in its box one morning. A few days later I was walking in the front yard and I found a third squished devil fetus on the sidewalk. It is raining aborted babies in Hollywood. So, no matter how your day is going, you can say, “At least rodents aren’t falling from the sky, like at Billy’s house.” You’re welcome.