Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Tin Can

When I was twelve years old, we lived in a mobile home in Louisiana. For those of you unfamiliar with mobile homes, ours was 14 feet wide by 70 feet long, made out of easily destructible metal. It is jacked up & set on cinder blocks. If you want to make it look pretty on the outside, you can add a "skirt" to hide the plumbing underneath.  

There were 3 small bedrooms and 1 1/2 baths, of which my room included the 1/2 bath. I was separated from the rest of my family by a living room & dining/kitchen area. In that tin can, I felt like an outsider. So I started collecting animals. 

I had a poodle named Napoleon (my mother had traded a pet skunk for him in Kentucky), numerous cats, 2 cows and several rabbits (my favorite was a big brown girl named Aurora). My brother had a boa constrictor that once got loose & was napping in his closet. My mom found him. That scream still haunts me! 

That mobile home was our home for more than 4 years. We were lucky. Our home was parked on the edge of the park so we were under the pine trees, away from the sewer pond. Others were not so lucky. In the Louisiana humidity, the smell from that pond could take the paint off your house. Up by the highway, a circus sideshow moved into an older, worn out building. My brother made friends with The Captain and started working for him, cleaning animal cages. Yes, you read right. Animal CAGES. He had 2 tigers, a number of monkeys, snakes and other creatures that I never saw. I remember one of the monkeys escaped his cage and The Captain sent my brother to find him. My brother lured him over the fence that surrounded the sewer pond with a bunch of fruit. That monkey climbed onto his back and held on for dear life. I don't think he wanted to go back. The Captain left soon after that. I'm not sure if he took all the animals with him. Every now and then, late at night, we thought we heard the monkey in the woods.

I know the burning question in each of your minds....
his name was Pepe Le Peu and he liked to eat hotdogs.

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