Landing in Seattle, I got a craving for the best gerbil pie I’ve ever tasted. A scenic drive south along the Pacific coast brought me to Phil’s Gerbil Ranch in Paso Robles, California. Phil’s ranch is a warehouse buried beneath Caso Robles park. Phil breeds gerbils used for experiments, food, and “other” uses. One of his clients has him cross breeding Meriones Unguiculatus, a Mongolian breed with Rhombomys Opimus, a tasty chicken sized roaster.
After enjoying the Wusterennmauspfeffer and Heretic wine, a local variety, we discussed the possibility of designing a breed to be both vicious, and thick skulled. After explaining the need for the creatures to survive crash landings, Phil considered the job plausible. He already has a genetic abomination he calls Cruentus Mortuus, which after ingesting human blood, dies from hydro-intoxication. Phil is pretty sure he can adapt it to suit my needs.
Phil put me up for the night in a spare room he keeps for paying clients. At 3:25 AM I awoke to the sound of shouting, door slamming, and whip cracking. Dressed, and out the door to investigate, it seems a few of the Rhombomys escaped. In that part of California, gerbils are illegal to keep as pets because they ravage crops if they get into the wild. Phil’s operation skirts the law, but if Phil lets any of his herd get away, the whole operation would be in jeopardy.
We hunted down and killed the last two of the seven escaped Rhombomys, using our night-vision glasses and silenced hunting rifles. Examining one of the critters, I noticed it had six limbs. Phil explained it was a new breed designed to yield more drumsticks. I wondered if they tasted any different, Phil didn’t know, these are the first ones he’s been able to catch.
I left Phil’s ranch with his gratitude and some gerbil jerky. I figured I’d drive the 7 hours to Las Vegas, Nevada and try my luck there. Just as I approached Bakersfield, my rental car overheated. I pulled into a service station, popped the hood, and found a baked Rhombomy gerbil. The critter had chewed through the radiator hose and died under the hood. I decided to make the best of it and stay in town for the night.