By Manijeh Badiozamani
My friend, Howard, shared the following story one night after dinner.
Flower and Joey were two gerbils in a cage in his son’s first-grade class. These two relatively inexpensive pets were not only a source of fun for the students but also an educational tool for the teacher. The children learned about the behavior of gerbils, what and how to feed them, and how to take care of their cage.
On occasions, if a child had excelled in the classroom, the teacher would permit the child to take the cage home for a weekend. Howard’s son became the recipient of this prize and brought home Flower and Joey for a weekend visit. That Friday afternoon, his two sons spent hours in the basement playing with the gerbils.
Early Saturday morning, a knock on the bedroom door woke up Howard. There was trouble in the basement. Apparently, the boys had let the gerbils out of the cage!
They were able to find Flower, but Joey was missing, nowhere to be found.
“No problem,” Howard told the boys. “We will go to the pet store and get a new one.”
But it was not that simple.
At the pet store, he was asked if he wanted a male or a female gerbil. Howard had absolutely no idea! He had not paid attention to the sex of the gerbils and didn’t even know how to differentiate between the two! However, he got a quick lesson. One has to make sure, he was told, that only members of the same sex are together in a cage, to prevent accidental breeding. He bought a gerbil and came home.
Sunday morning, again there was a knock on the bedroom door. The boys were truly upset, rather hysterical because the new gerbil was attacking Flower.
When Howard rushed to the basement, he witnessed there was no fighting going on, rather, the two gerbils were making love! One was humping the other.
The gerbils were back in the classroom on Monday morning. No questions asked, none answered!
Approximately twenty-four days later, Flower gave birth to little baby gerbils. Truly a live science experiment and a lesson in sex education for the first-graders.
MANIJEH BADIOZAMANI is a literary non-fiction writer whose stories have been published on the web and in anthologies. She was born in Tehran, Iran, and has lived in the United States for fifty years. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Idaho. She has taught at the college level and has also worked in the private sector.
Manijeh Badiozamani’s latest book, One Summer in My Life, A Memoir in Short Stories, chronicles her life in a series of short stories that offer glimpses of a life lived in two cultures, rich in friends, ventures, and love is published by Hallard Press is available on Amazon in both print and ebook formats.