It's a long time ago now, more than two weeks since Grandma Pig passed away and as I remember it was on that very day that I decided that I no longer wanted to eat anything. Not even basil. Because I wasn't eating I stopped pooping. It has to go in to come out, right? I've lost an awful lot of weight and whenever anyone picks me up they always remark on how they can feel my bones under by fur. Thank heavens I had a really good layer of solid muscle before I became ill, that has at least given me a little breathing space.
Anyway over the last two weeks I've been in and out of hospiggle several times. More than one hospiggle too. I even had my back teeth ground down a little because the vet thought they might be hurting my tongue when I try to eat. They found a couple of ulcers in my mouth which probably didn't help, but overall nobody seems to know what's wrong with me. Still, I can't complain about the standard of care I've received. I insisted that my staff drive me to the Albany Creek Vet Surgery in the northern suburbs of Brisbane - almost two hours away. This surgery does a lot of work for the Queensland Guinea Pig Refuge where Alfie and Tom came from, so I know that they are au fait with guinea pig issues. I am now ensconced in the boss vet's house for the weekend so that they can keep a constant eye on me. There are other guinea pigs living here, so I have people to talk to.
Despite all this nobody knows what the hell is wrong with me. Maybe I'm just pining for Grandma Pig. Whatever it is that ails me I keep exciting the vet and my staff by eating a little and looking as bright as button so that they think I'm on the road to recovery, but then I stop eating again and resume my depressed state so that everyone feels deflated once more. I even missed Grandma Pig's funeral because I was so poorly. That really made me sad. I'd saved her a bunch of basil to put on her coffin, after all, I didn't feel like eating it.
Then yesterday, Saturday, my staff arranged with the vet to visit me at Albany Creek. I was looking forward to seeing them because I hadn't seen them since Tuesday when I was admitted to the hospiggle. I suspect that they might of been anxious to see me too because I like to think that they quite like me - at least a little, despite me being a rather strict boss sometimes. So they decided to drive down in Grandma Pig's Mercedes as it gives a more comfortable ride than the Getz even though you have to take out a mortgage to fill it with petrol.
It had been fine and dry for about two months, but Saturday was wet, cold and miserable. The sombre grey clouds were hanging lower than a guinea pig's testostricles. Rain was pouring down and spray was swishing up from the big trucks as they drove down the Bruce Highway towards Brisbane. About halfway there the car started to feel "funny", it became sluggish and then suddenly veered violently towards the median strip. I think that had I been on board it might have cured my constipation. It certainly had that effect on my staff. Luckily my male staff was able to haul the Mercedes back into a straight line and then gradually braked and pulled off into a slip road some twenty metres off the Bruce Highway. Having removed his soiled underwear he stepped out into the rain muttering darkly. (By the way, I think Muttering Darkly is the name of a village in the English Cotswolds.) It was a puncture. Yes, it's amazing isn't it, even German efficiency has yet to put puncture proof tyres on a Mercedes. It was time for my male staff to utter one of his favourite expressions "Faaaaaaaaaark!" It was wasted though, lost among the hiss of tyres on the wet road and the roar of passing trucks.
So while my female staff painted her nails and read about the latest royal and celebrity scandals in a glossy magazine my male staff jacked up the offending wheel and removed it along with generous amounts of skin from his knuckles. He then fitted the spare tyre and tightened the final bolt. It wouldn't tighten. "Perhaps it's cross threaded" thought my male staff and tried to remove the bolt in order to try again. It wouldn't come loose. Now it would neither tighten nor undo. It was time for another "Faaaaaaaaark!" It didn't help though and my male staff wasn't prepared to drive for an hour to the vet surgery and then another two hours home with a bolt not securely fastened on the driver's side rear wheel.
With rain dripping off the end of his substantial nose he climbed back into the car, admired the colour of my female staff's newly painted fingernails and called the RACQ Roadside Assistance. He explained to the "deaf imbecile" on the phone that the care was situated just off the Bruce Highway on a slip road and gave the approximate location.
"We can't send a patrol vehicle because you're on the Bruce Highway. It's too dangerous for the patrolman to work on your car there. We'll have to send a tow truck to get you off the highway first" Said the deaf imbecile.
"But I'm not on the Bruce Highway," said my male staff. "I'm on a slip road about twenty yards from the Bruce Highway."
"Okay sir. There'll be a tow truck with you in about half an hour."
"Wait!" Said my male staff. "I'm not on the Bruce Highway, I'm on a slip........." Drrrrrrrrrr. The line went dead. "Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaark!" said my male staff and my female staff looked up from her magazine and tutted.
An hour and a quarter later the tow truck arrived. "You don't need a tow truck" said the rather moist, irate tow truck dude. "You need a patrolman. He'll be able to fix that little problem in no time. Why didn't you tell them you were safely off the highway?"
My male staff glared at him. "I did bloody tell them. Anyway, can you help removed a jammed bolt?"
The tow truck dude sucked the rain filled air through his teeth. "No, I don't have the tools. I'll call a patrolman for you." The tow truck driver made a call. "Okay" he said. "A patrol man will be here in about an hour. He'll soon have you on your way."
"Well I certainly hope so," replied my male staff. "We have to get to Albany Creek to see a sick guinea pig who could pass away at any moment." The tow truck dude backed away from my male staff as though he though him a dangerously deranged lunatic and scrambled back into his truck before screeching off with undue haste.
An hour and a half went by and a patrolman turned up. My male staff left my female staff touching up her lipstick and went back into the teeming rain to greet him. Having explained what the problem was he watched as the patrolman sucked the rain filled air through his teeth. "Oh dear." He said. "You've used the wrong bolts."
"What do you mean I've used the wrong bolts? I used the bolts that came off the original tyre."
"That's what I mean. There should be a special set of short bolts than go with the spare tyre on this model of Mercedes. If you use the original bolts you'll damage the brake on that wheel. I'll tell you what. I'll removed the bolts you've used, you look in the boot for the other set." Sure enough, using a special tool the patrolman managed to removed the jammed bolt. Meanwhile my male staff had located the other set of bolts in the boot and sure enough they were half the length of the originals.
"Silly isn't it?" Said the patrolman cheerily.
"That's a frigging understatement." Said my male staff somewhat less cheerily. Five minutes later the patrolman had reattached the spare tyre using the short bolts but he was sucking in air like crazy.
"I'm not happy with this wheel." He said. "I think you've damaged the brake by using those long bolts. It's up to you, but I wouldn't drive this car if I were you. At any moment that wheel could lock up while you're travelling at 110kph and send you spinning across the median strip into oncoming traffic where you are likely to be mashed and incinerated by an twenty three ton oil tanker." Well he didn't actually say those exact words but my male staff got his drift.
"So what do you suggest?" Asked my male staff.
"I'll call a tow truck for you. Where do you live?"
"Cooroy." The patrolman tapped a few figures into his smartphone thingy. The RACQ cover the first fifty kilometres of towing but Cooroy is seventy five kilometres away. It'll cost you $185."
My male staff sighed. "Okay, call the tow truck. They can drop the car at the RACQ Service Centre in Cooroy and then give us a lift home."
"I'll call the tow truck but he won't be allowed to give you a lift home once he's delivered the car to the service centre. You'll have to get a taxi." Obviously by now my staff had realised that would not be able to see me after all.
"You do realise that this means we won't be able to visit our sick guinea pig?" Ranted my male staff, "And if he dies without us seeing him again I will be writing to my member of parliament."
The patrolman made a hurried call and said that the tow truck would be along in about an hour. Then he too scrambled hurriedly back into his vehicle, looking over his shoulder all the time to make sure that my male staff wasn't following him wielding an axe.
In ninety minutes another tow truck arrived with a different driver and the Mercedes was hauled up onto the back of the truck while my staff climbed in out of the rain. An hour later the car was locked away in the yard of the Cooroy Service Centre and my staff had called for a taxi. After an hour of waiting my male staff decided to chase up the taxi booking.
"Sorry sir, we're just trying to get someone to come out to Cooroy for you." The dispatcher told him.
"Bloody hell! Cooroy is only ten kilometres from the nearest taxi rank, not ten kilometres from Timbuk-frigging-tu! Pointed out my male staff, not unreasonably.
"I'll get the driver to give you a call with an ETA."
Fifteen minutes later my male staff's cell phone buzzed. "Hello." said an irritatingly cheerful voice. I'll be with you in about half an hour."
I wonder if I'll ever see my staff again.