Hey! This time, I have a new and different species for an Anipal Interview! A fellow South American. Say “Hola” to Nermal the Chinchilla!
Interview with Nermal the Chinchilla, who owns author Michael Crane
Me: You’re a chinchilla! You’re like me, from South America. Your species is from the Peruvian Andes and mine is from Argentina, (although mine can adapt to cold and snow conditions really easily.) How do you feel being a chinchilla in the human world, where most humans have dogs or cats? Do you even think about this?
Nermal: My owner’s family has a dog, and he’s really, really loud. My owner’s girlfriend owns a couple of cats, although I haven’t seen them yet. I’m not too worried, though. If they try to chase me, I’ll just jump right over them. I’ll run circles around them! If they’re going to try to catch me, they’re going to have to work at it!
Oh wait… that didn’t really answer the question. Sorry, I was up all last night trying to find a way to escape my cage again. It was fun last time. I even barked at Mike to let him know how proud I was of escaping. *snicker* But, it’s nice to not be an ordinary pet. When he tells people about me, they usually get excited since they don’t know too many chinchilla owners. Very proud of that. Makes me warm and fuzzy inside! Or that could be gas… *shrugs*
Me: If you search your racial memories, do you have any regarding your ancestral home, or longings for certain kinds of foods or conditions there?
Nermal: Lots of dust, but my owner provides that for me when I need to clean myself. I get all excited when I see him hold the plastic jar thing, because I know it’s dust bath time! My owner also does an excellent job of keeping his room cold for me. He even went out of his way to buy a small A/C unit just to make sure it’s always cool. We’re very sensitive to heat. That’s why I don’t go to the beach. *shudder*
Me: How did you find your human?
Nermal: He actually found me! Him and his girlfriend had been thinking about getting a pet chinchilla. I heard he had hamsters once, but sadly they don’t live too long. They would always look at chinchillas at pet stores since early last year. I wasn’t around at that time because I was sick and the pet store workers had to take care of me. Nothing serious. But I think they were excited to see me since they knew I’d been used to humans by that point. He takes great care of me.
Me: Your human writes books… well, okay, your human writes little stories in collections that he puts into books. These are scary stories, according to my human. I saw some of the pictures she made for them. I didn’t see that there were any parrots in these books. How about chinchillas? Why not, if no? What about other anipals? I mean, a sock monkey isn’t even close, what’s the deal with him having a book with a sock monkey on the cover instead of a chinchilla?
Nermal: He showed me the picture of the sock monkey. He scares me! No chinchillas in his stories yet, but that’s okay… if he turns animals into evil things in his tales, leave me out! I only turn evil when people try to pick me up. Then I’ll bark at them, just to remind them that they should back off!
Me: Does he ask your advice and try to get your insights on certain scenes? Does he give you credit for inspiration or advice?
Nermal: I’m usually asleep when he writes. He likes to write at work and during the day. Sometimes he writes at night, and then I have to remind him to give me a dust bath! I get very angry when he forgets… I’d never do anything to him, but I would give him a look like in the picture.
I also give him that look if I think he’s slacking with his writing. He needs to write, write, write! (just as long as he remembers to give me food and my perrricious dust to clean myself)
Me: When you’re not helping your human write books, what do you like to do for fun?
Nermal: Don’t tell Mikey, but I try to find ways to escape. I think there’s a whole new world out there for me to explore! Plus, it’s winter time… no more 80 degree days! Perrrfect for a chinchilla. Keep that mum for me, will ya?
Me: If you could turn your human into any other species, what would it be, and why?
Nermal: Anything but a blasted sock monkey!!!! Please talk to the human for me. I love him and all, but methinks he has issues. Maybe that’s why he’s a writer? *shrugs*
Now I have a question for you, if that’s okay. Is there any good tips for getting out of your cage? I’ve chewed on some of the handles that hold the cage down, but my owner is smart! He blocked it with a perch thingy! It’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but I was making progress before he had to intervene! Oh? And tell him to stop going on and on about that Break Bad or Bad Breaking or whatever that dang show is called?!? We get it! It was a great show! Gimmie my dust bath now and stop raving about some pretend TV show!!!
Me: Wow. Getting out of my cage… my human got this cage with a spring latch that even gives her trouble opening sometimes. And I can’t stick my head out to get at it. (Which is good, because there is a cat.) No, no escape from cage. Besides, I love my cage. It’s my nest. I get to spend almost all day outside of it and then at night I want to go back in and get all covered up with my blankies. If you want tips for escaping, you should talk to Lexi, the cat who lives here. She’s an expert at getting out of the house and goes into this Ninja-cat stealth mode that makes the humans squawk and run around like… well… silly panicking humans. I’ll send you her email address sometime.
It was great chatting with Nermal! For once—an anipal who is NOT a cat!
Nermal’s human, Mike Crane, writes “drabbles”, which my human tells me are 100 word stories. (Yeah, as if a human can tell a story in 100 words…you know how THEY like to babble, and they complain about us? At least we don’t go around with bluetooths in our ears and fingers glued to teenty tiny keypads. Not that many of us HAVE fingers.) ANYWAY, from some checking around, I hear they’re really, really good. There are three books in this series by Nermal’s human, and MY human did all the covers for these books. So, to make sure she can buy me lots of sunflower seeds and cheese, check them out!
So, the human went out today all aflutter, leaving me alone. Since I had an entire roll of toilet paper to shred and a bunch of peanuts, I really didn’t mind. But then she came back. She came in to get me. AND THERE WAS ANOTHER BIRD—in MY SPOT. MY spot. That left shoulder is MINE. I rushed at the usurper but all of a sudden she was moving me to stand…on the back of a CHAIR. A chair? What the poop? “Now, Apple,” she said, “this is Hugo.”
The jerk sat there, in my spot, flashing his ugly yellow eyes at me. Then he stretched his dark gray head–boy does his neck look stupid all naked–and opened his big, black beak. A little squeeble came out.
The human looked very happy and cooed to him and tried to make the squeeble noise back.
Stupid old bird. Can’t even give a proper jungle scream!
But…I had a chance to talk with Hugo a little bit when she left the room. I sort of feel bad for the old guy. His human died of cancer. His human’s mate had to migrate to a place with cats and the other humans said I couldn’t go with her. I guess he’s not all that bad. He’s had it rough. He had to live in a tiny cage, and he saw the lunch my human gave him and said he didn’t ever remember having food this good.
It sort of made me feel bad for throwing most of mine on the floor. Sort of.
But that left shoulder is still MY spot. As long as he knows that.
Shiny dark green tongue
My beak rends the juicy flesh
Seeking hot seeds.
It’s been a long time since my last Anipal Interview. Migrating, settling in, making sure the new nest is going to work out. But now, I’m back, and bringing all you other anipals out there the real poop on what it means to be the companion of a human who writes stories.
Interview with Coleridge the Cat, who owns author LK RigelME: Today, we’re talking with Coleridge. Thanks for agreeing to pawticipate in my experimental Writer Anipal Interviews, Coleridge. I’d like to get the straight poop on your human companion. Maybe all Anipals can better understand them by sharing. I’m a parrot and I like to talk, so forgive me in advance if I’m a bit wordy. I know some of you cats can more of the type who say more with a glance or a flick of the tail than anything else (well, unless you’re a queen in heat), but since humans will mostly be reading, we need some words this time..
COLERIDGE: Meeya … I suppose it’s necessary. I’ll point out that I sound like Shere Khan when I use human words.
ME: So, tell me about your feline self. Where are you and your human denning? I hope you attach a photo. I’ve met a cat once. I stared at it and said “Hi, Apple!” and the cat hissed and ran away–it was scared of me! Didn’t even say hello back. I was just being friendly. Okay, okay, yes, this is supposed to be about you.
COLERIDGE:My human and I live in a horrid place in what she calls Northern California, though she seems to like it. Our other place had a big green jungle outside, and my friend Buddy lived next door. She doesn’t let me go outside at our new place. She’s attached a picture of me watching my favorite show. She thinks it’s funny. I can’t figure out how they get all those humans and animals inside that box.
ME: How did you find your human?
COLERIDGE: There was a DOG in the house before I came. Can you believe it? A DOG. When he crossed the rainbow bridge, her son came to get me at the animal rescue lady’s house. I was very young, and that place was scary – too many other cats – and birds, by the way. I was so happy to get out of that cage and have my own house to run around in and explore, and my own human’s lap to sleep in. But don’t tell her. She thinks she’s the lucky one, that I came to grace her with my presence.
ME: Your human writes science fiction books. (My human does, too.) Are there any parrots in these books? How about cats? Other anipals? What’s the deal with the spider one? Spiders are nice pets, too, but not really as cuddly as birds or cats.
COLERIDGE: I couldn’t agree with you more. Spiders? What’s up with that. I told her it would never work, but she doesn’t listen to me. She even has DOGs in her books. No cats. There are some birds, but they’re too scary to think about. Giant mutated raptors – eagles and peregrines as big as Eurocopters. Sheesh.
ME: Does she ask your advice and try to get your insights on certain scenes? Does she give you credit for inspiration or advice?
COLERIDGE: Believe me, I try. Sometimes I have to bite her toes to get her attention though. She thinks she’s the one with the story ideas, but I bit her toes big time when she tried to put Edmund in pale yellow. Dark leather is the only way to go with that guy. She saw it my way in the end.
ME: What would you say is your main role as a cat who owns a Writer? When she’s completely engrossed in her work at the computer, does she ignore your repeated pleas for food or scritches? What do you do to remind her you’re still alive and that YOU should be the most important thing in her life instead of the computer?
COLERIDGE: Yes, you have a point. What would they do without us? Turn into lumps of bones and mush, I’d say. In my case, biting the toes always works – eventually. If I’m desperate, there’s always sitting on the keyboard.
ME: If you could turn your human into any other species, what would it be, and why?
COLERIDGE: A cat, of course! then we could play all day together, race up and down the stairs, climb into the window and watch the birds go by … ahem. Sorry. Just for watching, I assure you.
ME: Now you get to ask me a question! Dealer’s choice.COLERIDGE: If you don’t mind a personal question – does it feel wonderful to scratch yourself with that beak? I feel sorry for you that you don’t have paws, but I’ve always been a little envious of those beaks, I will admit.
ME: Hrm…well. My beak works pretty good for scratching but it’s MUCH better for biting. I like cracking nutshells with it, or ripping off pieces of meat—uh, I mean bread and fruit and stuff. I use my feet to scratch, too. Especially on my head. I can’t scratch my own head with my beak. That’s what humans are useful for. I like getting the head scritches from the human, she gets those pesky new feather shafts and knows just how to pop off the dry skin from them. Ahem. But enough about me!
Be sure to check out Coleridge’s humans blog and the books she writes. My human says they are good and have nice cover art, too!
I know I’m a bird, but I also have a Cat friend. (I think.) And I found out a virtual Cat friend, whom I interviewed on this very blog, recently crossed The Rainbow Bridge. Crystal left behind a human who loved her very much and two other cat-pals. This haiku is for Crystal and her human. (It might not be perfect…but I’m a bird.)
Her lap you warmed
You played; she laughed. Now you purr
Forever in her heart.
Well, maybe not so new…or strange.
I’ve been offline a while and there’s good reason for it. Recently, the human and I migrated. She emptied her nest…I was VERY upset with this. Nothing looked the same. Things were disappearing. Then one day—Yellow Bird and Tourmaline were gone! More things were disappearing, or going into boxes and bags. The human was a bit crazy during this time. She hurt herself, and was upset a lot, and so I was upset, too.
Then one day, she put me in a different cage, the one I usually go to The Vet in. My nice big cage went out, too! What was going on?
I found out soon enough. She carried me out to a strange car. I used to like going for rides in a car, and it had been a long, long, LONG time. We’d go places and people would give me stuff, like pieces of bread, cheese, or cucumbers. Or french fries. Mmm. I guess that happened along the way, but we drove and we drove and we drove and we drove and each night we stayed in a new and different place. I didn’t like some of them, but since the human was with me, it was OK. I was nervous, though, because I never knew where we were going to stop. I wanted to get out and fly away from it all, so I paced back and forth so much the human worried I was going to walk all the way to Minnesota.
Minnesota. I didn’t know what Minnesota was. Now that I’m here, I guess it’s just another place. There are strange birds around here, and a CAT that lives in the nest. More about The Cat later. I have a bigger flock now at this new nest.
It’s hard to find time to write at the computer with The Cat around all the time. But the human shut The Cat up in another part of the nest, so I don’t have to worry.
More coming soon!