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Introduction

I met Trenz Pruca about ten years ago in Daly City California. In order to escape the fog and mist, I had ducked into a coffee house in a strip mall. As I ordered, I looked around the shop and noticed a large dark presence in a booth at the back of the cafe. Since all the other booths were occupied, I with my cafe latte in hand walked to the back of the shop and asked the presence sitting there if I could join him. He nodded and I took the seat opposite. Now close enough for my eyes to penetrate the gloom and study my table mate, I received a shock. Sitting across from me in the darkness appeared to be a six-foot-three-inch white rat with dark glasses wearing a black fedora and a red and white striped scarf. Before him, a Mac-book was propped open. Next to it, a half finished cup of espresso settled wearily.

We had a brief mostly one-sided conversation as I tried to slake my curiosity. He responded to my attempts to engage him in a dialogue with a series of grunts.

Thereafter, I would run into him by chance now and then. He could usually be found sitting in the dark corners of lightly patronized coffee houses in semi-forgotten towns that rim San Francisco Bay or during the winter months, Marrakesh, typing away on his Mac-book and obsessively downing endless cups of strong doppio espressos. Although he never spoke much and he certainly never indicated he enjoyed my presence, we became what seemed to pass for friends.

A few years after that first meeting he surprised me by showing up at my door on my Name Day bearing a bottle of Charbono. Thereafter, once a year on my name day, March 15, he stops by my house to celebrate with a glass of the Charbono wine that he likes so much. Every day, he sends me reams of emails, most of which are gibberish. Now and then, however, I find he has written a clever bon mot or an interesting sentence or two from which I have culled the contents of this book.

A few months after I first met Trenz, I ran into him in a coffee house in Emeryville. It was here I received another shock. Until then, I had thought he was a six-foot-three-inch white rat. I was wrong. I had assumed he was a white rat from the few times we met because of his rodent-like denature and my youthful conjecture that, unlike me and my swarthy Mediterranean neighbors, individuals with slightly pink skin were considered white. Nevertheless, I noticed a rather un-rat-like short stubby tail jutting from his long almost floor length dark coat and the strange bluntness of his snout. After some prodding, I learned he was, in fact, a Naked Mole Rat, one of those hardy, courageous and gentle creatures so beloved of scientists and odd individuals everywhere. He finally admitted to it when I pressed him during that visit. The long dark coat and cap he explained, protected his sensitive skin from the sun and hid his nakedness as modesty demanded. He required the thick dark glasses held together by adhesive tape because his vision was poor and the light disturbed his eyes.

“Why,” I asked, “do you live here and not with your own kind?” He stared at me silently for a while, as he often did — a long while. Then finally, when I thought he would not respond he said in a soft voice, “I assume you noticed I am quite large.” “Yes,” I acknowledged. “But why with humans?” Again a very long silence. Then, “True, you humans are rather untrustworthy, barbaric and not very bright, and you spend all too much time foolishly talking about yourselves.” More silence, finally: “But I decided sitting in a dark coffee house with you humans was slightly preferable to living in a cave somewhere with a bear or similar creature, eating raw meat and grunting and growling and scratching myself — only slightly better, you understand.”

That, I was to find out much later, was not exactly the truth. He grew up in East Africa near the Horn of Africa. His family was reasonably well-off for Mole-Rats. As the photograph, he gave me that graces the top of this Introduction shows, he cut a dashing figure as a young Mole-Rat rat. Alas, war and political turmoil ended his idyllic life and he was forced to flee the land of his birth. After bouncing  about the world. he landed here in the Bay Area penniless and if truth be know slightly deranged.

I obtained more recent photograph of him taken during his travels. It appears as thought the photograph was taken of him as he passed through Japan. As the photograph shows, it must have been a difficult time for Trenz.

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As far as the items contained in this book are concerned, I have attempted to cull the more interesting from the mass of emails and provide some rudimentary editing. Some of the longer pieces included here he never finished and I have no hope he ever will. Others, seem to defy comprehension. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy at least some of them.

One note, although, for the sake of organization, I attempted to gather similar subjects into chapters, there is no magic to the order in which the chapters appear, One can start one place as well as another. There is no reason why readers cannot begin anywhere. I suspect it will be just as enjoyable, or not, no matter how they go about it.

J.E. Petrillo, Editor.

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I have mentioned that my friend Trenz Pruca, who provides me with his many observations some of which I pass on to you, was a six-foot-three-inch white rat. I was wrong. I had assumed he was a white rat from the few times we met because of his rodent-like denature and my youthful conjecture that, unlike me and my swarthy Mediterranean neighbors who were not, those individuals with slightly pink skin were white. Nevertheless, I noticed no tail emerging from his long almost floor length dark coat and the strange un-rat-like bluntness of his snout. He was, in fact, a naked Mole Rat, one of those hardy, courageous and gentle creatures so beloved of scientists and odd individuals everywhere. He finally admitted to it when I pressed him during one of our visits. The long dark coat and cap protected his sensitive skin from the sun and also hid his nakedness as modesty demanded. He required the thick dark glasses held together by adhesive tape because his vision was poor and light disturbed his eyes.

“Why,” I asked one day, “do you live here and not with your own kind?”

He stared at me silently for a while, a long while as he often did. Then finally. when I just thought he world not, he respond in a soft voice, “I assume you noticed I am quite large.”

“Yes,” I acknowledged. “But why with humans?”

Again a very long silence. Then, “True, you humans are rather untrustworthy, barbaric and not very bright, and you spend all too much time talking foolishly about yourselves.” More silence, finally: “But I decided sitting in a dark coffee house with you humans was slightly preferable to living in a cave somewhere with a bear or similar creature, eating raw meat and grunting and growling and scratching myself — only slightly better, you understand.”

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I have postulated that the Naked Mole Rat (NMR) most likely are our evolutionary successors. I believe that we, humanity, should get to know our heirs better and I proposed the creation of the NMR Appreciation Society. I have attached a recent photograph of the handsome fellow above (He looks a lot like some of the westerners I see sitting at the bars in Bangkok).

Recently Peter G, (not related to Kenny G.), a sometime faithful reader of these posts, sent me what I believe is the clearest, most thoughtful and insightful analysis of our beloved successor.

“Known among bureaucrats as NMRs, the [dare I say it?] NMR does indeed have a bright future. As the depredations of the Corporate Humans, southern white male radicals, Newts, and other assorted dimwits and brigands dismantle the fragile remnants of civilization and hasten the total environmental breakdown from global warming, the NMR will thrive. How and why?

This little critter barely breathes oxygen and its metabolism is the opposite of ADD. So, as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere increase exponentially with global warming, the NMR will kick back in salubrious delight and thrive in its subterranean burrows while the humanoids tear each other apart and gasp for breath. The real rats and the cockroaches and mosquitos won’t bother with the NMR‘s underworld; they’ll have enough to feast on above.

The warming will only benefit the NMR, which, to avoid overheating in this post-petroleum fumed world, will change its bundling habit when it’s cold (no longer necessary) and expand its habitat range. NMR burrows will increase in extent by orders of magnitude, so more room will be available and overheating will not be a problem.

Now, sharper teeth and endurance will be needed to extend the burrow network of the NMR. The NMR will adapt — after all, what’s evolution all about? — and thus be able to enhance its tuber intake, becoming bigger and stronger and eventually enabling its burrow network to underlie all of eastern Africa. Then the fun will begin, as the NMR expands its domain Out Of Africa, learning Danish in the process and having its queen becoming the toughest bitch in the hood. Oxfam, whose few workers in the region will be the last surviving humanoid remnant before oblivion, will document this NMR evolution, which is how all of this is known. Remember that the cycle continues after the Age of Kali, and the data will have reposed in the Cloud for some time already, available to those who have access.

The NMR will also evolve spiritually, it’s becoming the superior mammal simply ineluctable. The NMR eats its own feces, which aids digestion of its main source of sustenance, the tough tubers (not to be confused with The Tough Tubers who used to open for the Rolling Stones). Here’s the key: a former Indian Finance Minister routined drank his own urine as part of his whole spiritual discipline and enhancement. The evolving NMR will obtain similar benefits from recycling its own waste matter. As its habitat range expands, so, too, will the spiritual and physical dominance of the NMR become manifest.

And so, Naked Mole Rat über alles, with a super queen whose name is Alice, ubiquitous but without malice, looking like a tooth-ed phallus. NMR Zindabad!

I invite any and all of the readers of these posts to share with me your thoughts about this formidable, yet beloved, rodent. Together we can raise world-wide awareness of NMR and its destined role in evolutionary development.

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I am called Glabix XI or Eleven for short. Being a soldier is not too bad a life. Once the Old Horror, The Queen, may she long live and reign in peace and prosperity, choses her consorts (one of whom was my father) the rest of us were free to go about our business without all that hustling about, preening and fighting for poon-tang so to speak. It takes a lot of pressure off guys. The ladies still have to hang around the nursery and the old Queen waiting for her to sicken so that they can beat each other up too see which one gets laid and takes over running things. Not us guys though, we just keep doing what were doing until one of the ladies wins the fight and in her sex-crazed madness jumps our bones. Then, for the lucky two or three guys it’s an even softer job than being a cop like me. In return for giving it up, so to speak, to the Queen whenever she is in the mood, the consort gets to boss everyone else around just like the Queen.
Most of my days are spent wandering the tunnels searching for things that do not smell right, usually that means there is an intruder to deal with. It is pretty easy stuff really, except when the Old Horror, The Queen, my beloved mother, may her reign be long and glorious, is up and about pushing everyone around for whatever it is that itches her tooth at that moment. If truth be known most of us soldiers are a big and lazy lot, but when the time comes we do our job. Our job…? Well primarily, it is to push out from the tunnels those things that do not smell right. Sometimes when it is something too big and too dangerous to push out, it is the job of one of us soldiers to, well, give ourselves up to be eaten so that the intruder busies itself dining long enough for the rest of us to wall off the tunnel the intruder used to get in. I know it is a thankless job, but someone has to do it.

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