Dear Roobie and Blackie (Or, A Letter to My Childhood Pets, from Peru: Guinea Pig Eating Land)

Dear Roobie and Blackie,

Hi there, it’s me, Erin. Do you remember me? I was your owner back in 1993, when I was eight and your were little baby guinea pigs.

How are you? Did you make it to animal heaven? What’s it like? Are you whizzing around in the sky, fighting over lettuce and pooing to your heart’s content like you did here on earth?

I want to apologise for not having thought of you much since you went off to guinea pig heaven – but I can assure you, I’m making up for it here in Peru. You see, they eat your kind here.

Don’t worry, I haven’t tried any yet…But, I have to admit, I’m thinking about it. (I hope that after hearing that, you still want to continue reading this letter.)

I guess you’re wondering how you’re served? Well, I’ve seen you guys on lots of menus around the place. You’re usually served whole and often with a spicy sauce; though I did see you barbequed and cut into reasonable-sized chunks for sale in a village. I almost had a taste then, but didn’t in the end as I was too full of potatoes to bother getting off my seat.

People breed you and sell you to nice housewives to make dinner for their families. I’ve seen dozens of you stuffed in groups into bags for sale at markets, and by the side of the road. The first time I saw that, I felt really sad, but then I looked closer and decided that it didn’t seem like anyone was that upset. That’s the best thing about your kind – you’re always munching or squeaking away, content.

The family I’m staying with now has four hutches on the rooftop (just like the one Poppy made for you) absolutely full of you guys. This morning, I went with Gabriel to buy big stalks of corn leaves to feed the group with and watched as everyone got stuck in.

I even held two of them: A baby one the colour of straw and a big old light brown one (just like you, Roobie, but with dark eyes instead of red). They didn’t give me a rash like you guys ended up doing in your old age. Do you remember how in the end I had to hold you wrapped up in tea towels?

Well, I just wanted to check in and reassure you that I haven’t forgotten you, even if I haven’t dedicated that much neuro-space to you in the past 20 years.

Also, I wanted to ask you to forgive me if I end up trying you while here in Peru. Do you think that would be ok?

Take care up there!  Eat lots of veggies and meet lots of girls…I never let you in sight of them while you lived with me, so I hope you’re making up for it now!

Big cuddles, Erin

PS: I’m sorry for giving you such uninspiring names. Roobie, I thought I was being creative by acknowledging the colour of your eyes while changing the spelling from “Ruby.” And Blackie, well, you were more than just black. Sorry ’bout that one!

PPS: And just so you know, you were much more social pets than the rat I got after you. It seems he was too small to desex, and so I was always subjected to him running over my arm, dragging his huge balls with him. That’s something you guys never did – so cheers for that!


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