Miss Jean Louis has been on my mind a lot, lately. I haven't seen her in years, but I still think of her with fondness. We went to high school together, in Djibouti, class of '77. Go Hyenelks! After we walked down the dirt path to the podium to receive our diplomas, she turned to me and said, "It's been a slice, see you around." I thought we'd connect up later at the after party down by the tar pits, but I never saw her again.
Fast forward twenty years to the late nineties when life was simpler. I was sitting at my desk, hunched over a bowl of Ramen reading through a book about a boy who goes off to wizard boarding school, terrible script that will never go anywhere, under the dim light of my single bulb, when the familiar "Uh Oh" of the ICQ screen interrupted my thoughts.
I hadn't been called that in years! JEAN LOUIS? I typed.
HOW THE HECK HAVE YOU BEEN? I typed again, a rush of excitement flooding me as I fondly recalled my old friend. AND WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?
WORKING. TRAVELLING WORLD IN SEARCH OF HYBRID PETS.
WHAT? HYBRID PETS?
DISCOVERED A FEW.
SLANGAROO. ELOPUS. DINOMITE. FOGRAT. WOOSTER.
I was scratching my head at this point, staring at the tiny little conversation box at the top of my computer screen. The most fantastical, far-fetched tale began to unravel as Miss Jean Louis filled me in on what I have now come to refer to as her "lost years." She described each discovery in great detail, explaining the location that she spotted each of them, their habitat, their natural instincts, their mating rituals. They way they fought one another for dominance. She'd been living among these hybrid animals for years, carefully documenting them in a book she was writing called The Absonome Almanac. She subsisted off the generosity of others, doing good deeds in exchange for food and shelter in, what she called "random acts of goodwill." She explained that she had come into town for a vacation from living in the wild, and had looked me up on a library computer while waiting for the glue to dry on a 6 foot replica of a Chinese dragon sporting the face of a little boy she used to baby-sit.
I must have been quiet for some time because she typed:
MUSHIE? WHAT DO YOU THINK?
I wasn't sure how to answer her. It all seemed so far-fetched at the time. Finally, I typed what I'd been thinking for the past several minutes.
SO... BASICALLY YOU HUNT WUZZLES? LOL
I haven't heard from her since.