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Gil C. Schmidt was born. Lucky for him and some 416 people, many of who don't seem to know it. Lives in Puerto Rico, which is convenient because he also works from there. Gil writes about dozens of real things (with relish) and dozens of imaginary things (like phantasmagoric pickles), in separate forums. Author of several books and a son, Gil gets in trouble when he's bored. Please head to the egress now.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

Scuzzo

I think Don and Bill gave him to me as a birthday gift. A tiny ball of fake fur, eyes and nose and feet connected to a roughly ovoid head, his color that of runny diarrhea. We named him “Scuzzo” and he became Rapline’s Official Mascot.

As Official Mascot, Scuzzo’s duties were quickly determined to be football, annoying projectile, conversation starter (“Have you seen Scuzzo?”) and gamepiece in the ensuing battle between Sonja, Protector of Scuzzo and “The Miscreants,” led by the rest of us.

One of Scuzzo’s first and most most frequent rescues was freeing him from hangman’s nooses. I would weave a noose from the curtain cords and then execute Scuzzo, a piercing metaphor for our times that Sonja thought was just plain cruel.

Bill and I would often carry on conversations with Scuzzo punctuating our wisdom as he flew back and forth across the office. Scuzzo’s usually-perplexed expression never altered, giving him the look of a dazed dodo as he hung in mid-air.

Time and again someone would hide Scuzzo, usually in a drawer, underneath a seat cushion, behind a file cabinet or even kidnap him for a day or two. However, the weeks of using Scuzzo as a prop ended when Sonja, winner of an enthusiastic game of “keep-away,” made a promise to protect Scuzzo “once and for all.”

Obeying the new rule that Scuzzo had to remain within Rapline’s two-room office, Sonja confidently announced to us that Scuzzo was “safe.” That night, and the next day, we searched the offices and came up empty-handed. As neither Bill nor I were known for reining in stubborness, we kept searching, but found neither cloth nor thread of our nearly-departed Scuzzo.

Life intruded and the search for Scuzzo took a back seat for almost a month. Bill asked Sonja if Scuzzo was within the office and she answered firmly “Yes,” prompting a renewed search.

Nothing.

After pondering for a few days, Bill came into the office and told me he had an idea. He placed a chair in the doorway of our “file closet,” climbed on the chair and peered up inside the closet. In a neutral voice he said: “I found him.”

Coming down from the chair, he politely waved me atop it. I climbed, peered back above my head and my mouth actually dropped open. High up on the “inner” side of the closet wall, about a foot from the top, was Scuzzo, his beady eyes wondering who I was. His feet, tucked neatly against his head, had been nailed to the wall.

I climbed down. “She crucified Scuzzo!” Bill nodded, climbed back up and using the filing cabinet as brace, managed to de-crucify our Official Mascot.

Well I can tell you that word of Scuzzo’s crucifixion flew through Rapline’s staff like measles in a playpen. Naturally, we had to hold a burial ceremony for Scuzzo, with the obligatory rising on the third day. Sonja acted casual about her cruelty and I, for one, was envious of her idea.

Scuzzo did return to his usual duties, except that his role as gamepiece was pretty much over. What do you do to someone who’s already been crucified?

Later that year I lost track of the critter and I don’t know where Scuzzo ended up. I suspect Sonja retrieved him and I hope he didn’t end up with her in a nunnery. He’d already been crucified for several weeks: he didn’t need a fate worse than that.

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