June 21, 2007

I lift the fog that shrouds the mystery that was GERBILGATE! (and 3Q with Megan Crane)

OKAY SO, a week or so ago a woman from Sweden contacted me about a picture of one of my Gerbils---I linked to the thread, but the admins of the forum have now removed it. But it is all clear what was happening now. She was askign about my favorite, the one we call Cosy Mole Mouse whose picture was up on the blog. You can see the picture here. For the record, I know the actual word is spelled COZY. But her name is spelled Cosy. Don’t ask. ANOTHER of the Gerbils is named That Cross Dressing Poet Tennyson, so you have to know it is probably too long and weird and steeped in internal family lore to adequately explain, and it is better just to ACCEPT Cosy’s alternative spelling without delving too deeply.

Cosy is a weirdo – probably because she is the product of incest. One of our BROTHER gerbils turned out to be secretly a sister and so….remember Flowers in the Attic? Well, we had Gerbils in the Kitchen, and it had pretty much the same PLOT, if you follow me. The plot resulted in BABY gerbils. 16 in two litters. 11 were black (as were the parents). 4 were white with red eyes.

Cosy was the only GRAY, just one shade darker than the whites (you can see how close they are in the pic, that’s a white beside her) and she did not have red eyes! They were brown, but a slightly lighter brown than the eyes of her black siblings. They are not, in point of fact, QUITE as light as the eyes appear in the pic – the flash lightened them. But they are a medium brown instead of black beads or red orbs.

Anyway, this woman contacted me very excited about Cosy and wanting to know if I had bred her or if she had any like siblings etc. etc. Well, we all have our passions. When I had a spare minute, I shot off the answers to her queries, which resulted in two more detailed lists of questions and requests for pictures and video of Cosy.

Which I thought was….odd.

So I just hit delete, and then yesterday I got two things…
A message from the original woman offering to come BUY Cosy for 100 dollars, Yes, really, and how was that ‘sposed to work? Did she want me to put Cosy in a box with some crackers and MAIL her? I deleted that, and then a small flurry of messages from people who are all members or administrators of the website I linked to yesterday.

They all wanted to know the same thing, but I am going to quote the one who best explained what was going on, although I have redacted his or her name and identifying details as I suspect some sort of mental illness is happening among the fjords and do not wish to SIC anyone less than stable upon her or him:

I am writing you this mail because an argument has started on the Swedish critter-website zoonen.com, over a picture of your gerbil Cosy Mole Mouse. Some one claims to have bred the very gerbil in the picture a few weeks ago here in Sweden and now it has run away. The eye-colour is not known in Sweden and therefore every one was very interested in her litter. Now when it is proven the picture is copied from your website the breeder claims she and you know each other and her family often travel and visit you and bring gerbils from you to Sweden and vice-versa. Cosy Mole Mouse is stated to be identical with the swedish gerbil and that is why she copied the picture. Now she can not take one of her own to prove her story since the gerbil is said to have run away.

When I read your website I noticed that you wrote your gerbils came from a pet shelter and you thought both were males, which would indicate you never had any intentions to breed gerbils, and that they are not from Sweden, unlike what the Swedish breeder states. So, I am asking you to please either confirm or dement the story; that you actually do have contact with a Swedish breeder, and that Cosy Mole Mouse is related to the animals of the Swedish breeder.

…the enviorment of our forum is getting kind of sour because of this and I would like your help to put an end to all the bad-mouthing.

SO. Yeah.

SO BASICALLY she said it was her gerbil, then some Swedish GOOGLE MASTER found the same pic here on Kudzu and called her on it, and she told a few whoppers about the long standing gerbil swapping friendship we have shared and she tried to buy Cosy so she could present her as the REFOUND lost mythical Swedish brown eyed blonde Gerbil. OR SOMETHING? The upshot is, those of you who voted WTF were RIGHT on the money.

My friend Sara says I should put up a guard around the aquarium lest Swedish Gerbil Ninjas come and spirit Cosy away…

I got to meet Megan Crane
at the big “GRAND CENTRAL PUBLISHING is no longer called Warner Books” party in NYC, and she is just as funny and charming in person as she is in print. I THOUGH|T I had a picture of us somewhere but I cannot find it on my sloppy hard drive. Very frustrating. ANYWAY...

Her latest release from GCC’s 5 Spot is FRENEMIES, the story of Gus Curtis, who is on the far side of 29 and finally feeling like she has it all: a strong career, great friends, and a wonderful boyfriend. But all of this comes crashing down when Gus discovers Nate, her "Mr. Right," hooking up behind her back with her so-called "friend" Helen. Soon it seems like the life Gus has worked to make so adult looks a lot like the one she already had as a teenager, and Gus is left with more questions than answers: Can she win Nate back before she turns 30 alone? (And if so, does she really want him?) Is Helen really as devious and manipulative as she seems, or, worse, is Gus more like her frenemy than she ever imagined? And is she ever going to grow up? With the clock ticking down to her birthday, Gus discovers that sometimes the best thing about best-laid plans is trashing them altogether.

Marian Keyes Says, “"FRENEMIES is a hugely enjoyable novel with brilliant, convincing characters and dialogue. It's romantic, funny, intelligent, believable and gripping. I couldn't put it down and am now very sorry it's finished!"
(This blurb impresses me – I’m a big fan…)

JJ: What do you think of your cover and how does it compare to the cover you imagined when you were writing the book?

MC: I am wildly, madly in love with this cover. When I first saw it, I literally squealed like a small child at Disneyland. Isn't it just so pretty? With the blue and that arm and the paperdolls?? I adore it. I would love to tell you that I compose covers in my brain as I write, but I do not. I am really not at all artistic in that way. But this cover certainly exceeded my expectations, and I loved my previous covers, too...

JJ: I actually get all kinds of cover ideas, and then I see the actual, brilliant cover Anne Twomey comes up with and I say, “Oh. Nevermind. Wow!” So apparently I am not artistic in that way either, but unlike you, I need to go by Target and pick up some “sense enough to KNOW it…” Who did you dedicate this book to and why?

MC: I dedicated this book to my friends because, frankly, they put up with a lot and deserve it. Also, the book is about evil friends who betray you, and I thought it was important to celebrate the non-evil friends who would never do such a thing.

JJ: Ooooh. Tell us about the REAL LIFE evil ones.

MC: I seem to be able to walk into any room and find the craziest person in it, who will then want to be my friend. As I am easily flattered, I think this is a great idea, and then am shocked (SHOCKED) when my new friend talks atrociously about me behind my back to my actual friends, hits on the guy I like, tries to do a social end run around me, calls me their best friend and then gets married without telling me, turns out to be a pathological liar who steals my writing and pretends someone else did, or claims that I might be their only true friend moments before I am to discover that they systematically destroyed my job prospects. These are all true stories. My conclusion? Stop being friends with cheap, flattering floozies. But I bet everyone has a few of these stories tucked away in there, don't they?

JJ: HA! I have that gift, too. Crazy Magnet. Hrm we did kinda hit it off in NYC…I wonder which of us is the crazy? *evil cackle* *drools a little bit* *plots world domination*

Hey Megan? Did you know I am in the middle of an international rodent incident? Yeah?

Me neither.

Posted by joshilyn at June 21, 2007 8:16 AM


That is all.

Posted by: Mir at June 21, 2007 9:04 AM

Now see, Gerbilgate is one of those stories that would be nearly impossible to incorporate into a novel because people would read it and think "Oh good grief, what kind of crack was she smoking when she wrote this? Swedish Gerbil Scammers?? That would never happen to anyone." Little would they know....

Posted by: DebR at June 21, 2007 9:20 AM

Wow. That is about the most bizarre thing I've ever heard.

I agree with Mir. It could happen only to you!

Posted by: Keetha at June 21, 2007 9:53 AM

"please either confirm or dement the story;"

"Dement" seems to be the perfect word here, no? Demented gerbil breeders. Yep, only in real life.

Posted by: amy at June 21, 2007 10:00 AM

That said, I think that you and Maisy and Sam and perhaps Bagel should start a band called Swedish Gerbil Ninjas, because that is too good a name to lie fallow on Teh Interwebs.

Posted by: crinklish at June 21, 2007 10:11 AM

"...and now it has run away." OMG, that was the best laugh I had all day. Little mouse with his red kerchief on a stick taking one last woeful glance over his shoulder at the home he once loved.

Well, did she have him microchipped? Did she put up posters? Has she looked in all of the usual runaway mouse spots? Perhaps he had a drug problem.

I shouldn't make fun, like you said, we all have our passions but this just made my day. Thank you!

Posted by: Em at June 21, 2007 10:22 AM

It's a small, small Internetty world. E-spouse is going to Sweden on Tuesday (really!), if you want him to make a special delivery. Or strongarm the crazy Swedish gerbil ninjas.

Posted by: Edgy Mama at June 21, 2007 10:23 AM

Still giggling about Swedish Gerbil Ninjas. Are you wondering which of your friends is twisted enough and has enough time on their hands to have concocted this surreal little bit of freakiness? Because this MUST be a joke. MUST.

Posted by: Jennilynn at June 21, 2007 10:30 AM

I always suspected there was something SWEDISH about Miss Cosy Mole Mouse. Finally, vindication is mine! All mine!

Seriously, I am just snorking at the thought of Miss Cosy with her little gerbil suitcase, boarding a Transatlantic flight for Georgia. Truth really is stranger than almost any fiction.

Posted by: Aimee at June 21, 2007 11:00 AM

What Mir and everyone else said.

sheesh the things people lie about and fight about boggles my mind.

Posted by: Cele at June 21, 2007 11:54 AM

That. Is. Hilarious.

Seriously laughing myself to bits over here!

Thanks for sharing!

And Mir is totally right--could ONLY happen to you!

Posted by: Erin at June 21, 2007 12:21 PM

Yep...definitely only to you. That one has to go down in history as one of the strangest things to ever happen on the interweb.

Posted by: Lindsey at June 21, 2007 12:33 PM

Oh, what a relief to have that mystery solved.

And not to be a ninny, but the Alps are near Switzerland and Italy... not Sweden, which is much farther north in Scandinavia. But who is to say? A mental illness in the Alps may very well affect hybrid gerbil breeders in Sweden :)

Posted by: Stephanie at June 21, 2007 12:40 PM

What Mir said. Also? International Gerbil Genetic Intrigue trumps the Pink Sock Story any day. This ranks right up there with Boobs Under the Bed. *grins*

Posted by: David at June 21, 2007 1:48 PM

oooooooh I think it could Tewtally happen to Mir. But no me. Thank the sweet baby jeebus above.

Posted by: ScottsdaleGirl at June 21, 2007 4:53 PM

And the Flowers in the Attic reference slayed me.

Kilt me DED

Posted by: ScottsdaleGirl at June 21, 2007 4:54 PM

Jaw agape, stifling snorts of laughter.

This is SO beyond bizarre. I think you should hire bodygards for Cosy. Like some big tough Guinea Pigs ::sniggle, snort::

At least you can't say your life is boring ;)

Posted by: Angel at June 21, 2007 5:30 PM

The internet is very public. Kind of like public transit.

Posted by: Gwen at June 21, 2007 7:37 PM

and i thought i had the corner on drama.....

Posted by: dramamama at June 21, 2007 7:48 PM

Oh. My. Great. Heavenly. Days.

*********** (that is me being speechless).

That is all.

Posted by: Roxanne at June 22, 2007 12:41 AM

"International Gerbil Genetic Intrigue" - snort! I love that, David. And I think Angel is right, perhaps some guinea pig bodyguards are in order. TOO much!

Posted by: Brigitte at June 22, 2007 6:50 AM

Yeah... WTF. Exactly what I was thinking!

Posted by: jenn at June 22, 2007 6:53 AM


I giggled all through this. OF COURSE the gerbil ran away! OMGosh.

If you wrote this in a story I swear I'd never be able to suspend my belief enough to believe it. But because it's true... wow.

Posted by: Heather Cook at June 22, 2007 4:04 PM

Hmm...about the crazy friends...I bet you both also attract 10x more people who really and sincerely think you are the best, too, than, say, your average introvert. That's my theory. So there are more bad apples because there are more apples, period.

Of course that COULD just be flattering floozy talk.


Posted by: Laura Florand at June 24, 2007 8:39 AM