The Gerbil: A Novelization Based on the Motion Picture

The following events took place on February 20th, 2004

The Businessman, Ted Davis, walked calmly down the street on his way to work. Today was a big day for him; he was to be interviewing the Minister for Transport, Seamus Brennan. As he strode down French Avenue he caught a glance of something sparkling in the sun, lying on the ground. It was a fifty-cent piece. “It‘s mine!” He thought to himself. As he approached the coin he kept his vision locked onto it but as he bent over to pick it up he was challenged.

The Scumbag had just come from robbing a Snickers from the nearby Spar when his eyes noticed the shining coin on the path. He walked towards it with much haste, as he saw the approaching Businessman who no doubt wanted to snatch up the prize before he could reach it. “No way that arsehole‘s gettin‘ my coin!” the Scumbag thought to himself. Luckily for him he got there just before the Businessman and reached out for the coin.

“Hey, I saw that first!” spoke the Businessman as the Scumbag picked up the fifty cents. “No ya didn‘t!” replied the Scumbag adamantly. “Yes I did, I saw that first,” countered the Businessman, growing angrier with the lower class scum he happed upon. “Get lost it‘s mine!” claimed the Scumbag, trying to turn away from his adversary. “Give it to me,” demanded the Businessman. “No, I got it first!” replied the Scumbag.

The Businessman was growing more impatient and pushed the Scumbag. “Give it to me!” he shouted. The Scumbag pushed back and soon a shoving contest began. “Get away ya!” shouted the Scumbag. “Give it to me!” said the Businessman one last time. He had had enough. He swung back his arm, in which he held his briefcase, and lashed out at the head of his foe with a mighty blow to the ear. The Scumbag fell back upon the wall in pain, yet he still kept the coin from the yuppie dickhead.

The members of Financial Footwear sat around their hangout, sans their good friend Murray Fince. Ralph Tilda, drummer, was sitting there contemplating his empty water bottle. He closed the lid on the bottle and decided to ask the question that had been bugging him for close to three minutes. “How many people do you think I could kill with this bottle?” Floyd Jackson, close friend of the band, had been sitting quietly for hours, enjoying the feel of his favourite cowboy-style hat and keeping a close eye of his new Gerbil. He felt this would be his chance to shine and so quickly answered with “Four,” before returning to his quiet, thinking stance.

The rest of the group were less hasty in answering the odd question put forth by Ralph. “That‘s... that‘s a good question,” answered Rubin Blake, bassist, while trying to think of where Floyd pulled the number four from. “Cause I was thinking like, six or seven, at least,” said Ralph, who was also trying to think of where he pulled those figures from. At that point Castor Bishop, manager and pessimist, chimed in with “how could you kill that many people with just one plastic bottle?” Being sceptical, as ever, Castor couldn’t see how even one person could be killed with a bottle, except, perhaps, if it was jammed down their windpipe.

“Ah, well that‘s easy,” replied Ralph as he readjusted his position on his chair. “You see, you get some guy driving along, throw it in the window, hits him in the head. Bam! Swerves! Hits a load of innocent civil-il-schoolchildren, just walking along the side of the street. You‘ve got six, seven, even a dozen corpses then.” Ralph tripped himself up in the middle of his rant deciding whether to kill off civilians or school kids in his twisted scenario.

“Intriguing,” commented Job Pitane, the band’s violinist. Job was slightly concerned with the level of madness Ralph was exhibiting. Job had always been known as “the crazy one” and didn’t want that taken away from him. “You‘ve thought about this too much,” said Castor. “Yeah, I think of a lot of things,” replied Ralph as he again readjusted his position, due to his stiff back.

“Oh, that reminds me there Rubin,” said Castor, “you have to get those posters for the band.” Job wondered how their conversation had reminded Castor of the posters, but he remembered that Castor’s mind works in mysterious ways. Mysterious, stupid ways. “Oh, okay,” replied Rubin, as he leaned forward to get the money Castor was searching for in his pockets. “Just don‘t blow the money on the Expression Bum again,” said Castor as he reached into his wallet. “But he‘s so good!” pleaded Rubin.

“I don‘t care how good he is, we need those posters,” said Castor, standing by his feelings of hate for the Expression Bum. “You should really try it sometime,” said Rubin with Castor’s money in his hand. Castor just laughed and shook his head in disgust. Rubin sat back in his chair, trying to remember where the poster place was. Just then the door opened.

“Hey guys!” It was Murray Fince, lead guitarist of the band. He was not alone however. Accompanying him was a woman that nobody in the band recognised. Her bright orange jacket contrasted Murray’s dull coat and scarf. The band gave their standard response of “Hey Murray!” As Murray’s friend closed the door behind them Murray spoke up “Oh eh, I want you to meet someone. This is eh... my new girlfriend. It‘s eh, Udora... is her name.” All the guys greeted Murray’s new girlfriend, all that is, except Floyd.

Floyd was playing with his new Gerbil. He had yet to purchase a cage for the little guy, so he kept him in a cardboard box. He was so infatuated with his pet that he failed to notice that Murray had arrived. “This is the rest of the band here,” continued Murray. “That‘s Job, Rubin and Ralph.” Big mistake. Ralph was very particular about the pronunciation of his name. It was pronounced Rafe, not Ralf. Murray had used the latter and Ralph wasn’t pleased.

“That‘s Ralph,” said Ralph, correcting his counterpart. “Yeah, whatever,” said Murray, shrugging off his friend’s objection. “Anyway, this is our manager, Castor, and eh, that over there, that‘s Floyd. We call him “The Bullit”.” Floyd was still playing with his Gerbil and hadn’t noticed the introductions. “Here Floyd, put the Gerbil on the ground,” said Castor to his distracted friend, trying to inform him of the arrival of Murray and Udora.

A sudden look of disgust came upon Udora’s face. She walked over to Murray and told him that she had to leave. “Oh, OK, alright. See ya!” said Murray as his girlfriend made a quick run for the door. Murray walked over to the door and closed it, in a way only Murray Fince could do. Ralph was puzzled by Udora’s hasty exit. “There must be a reason,” he thought to himself.

“So, what did you think of her?” enquired Murray to his friends. Ralph thought to himself and decided he had to come out with it. “You know she‘s a racist don‘t you?” Castor had similar feelings. “Like, you saw the look she gave Floyd,” he said. Floyd in the meantime was still sitting in quiet contemplation. The others had assumed her quick exit was due to Floyd being black. Murray was shocked.

“Look? What look? There was definitely no look!” he insisted. Ralph thought otherwise. “There was definitely a look.” Murray turned and looked to Rubin, who had remained silent. “Well... don‘t look at me. I... I don‘t know! I gotta go get those posters... anyway.” Job was also feeling awkward sitting there and saw this as his means of escape. “Yeah, I‘ll go too!” he said as he got up quickly and followed Rubin. “It‘s about time,” commented Castor.

“She seems like a nice girl to me.” interjected Floyd, trying not to exasperate the situation. Before Rubin and Job could get out the door Castor remember what he meant to tell Rubin. “Get them in full-size!” he shouted. “So what do we do now?” asked Murray, wondering if his girlfriend really was a racist. Ralph clapped his hands in a burst of inspiration. “I‘ve got a plan!” he said as his pencil rolled off the pad he had on his lap.

Rubin and Job walked along French Avenue. They tried to ignore the two ruffians doing battle on the side of the road. “Do you think she‘s a racist?” asked Rubin, trying to get Job’s opinion on the situation. “Oh, I don‘t know,” replied Job, wanting to stay neutral in the situation. “Right, I have to get those posters!” said Rubin as he crossed the road. “Alright, see ya!” said Job, taking off the other direction.

Meanwhile, a few metres behind Rubin and Job, the Businessman and the Scumbag were still fighting over ownership of the coin. The Businessman had the upper hand with the Scumbag’s head locked in his arms, a move commonly known as a “headlock”. The Scumbag was persistent though. “You‘re not gettin‘ it!” he screamed while trying to escape the grip of his opponent.

The Expression Bum sat alone in his alley, holding his new sign. All of the other bums knew about the Expression Bum’s alley and knew well enough to stay away lest they incur his wrath. The Expression Bum didn’t mind his solitary life. He found it quite joyous. He was living the dream, doing what he wanted to do: making facial expressions for money.

As the Expression Bum sat stoically on the ground his long-time fan Rubin Blake strolled along. He slowed down to read the new sign. “Hmm... the Expression Bum. ‘Will make facial expressions for money.’ Ah...” thought Rubin as he searched through his many, many pockets. He came across money. Castor’s poster money. “Castor doesn‘t need those damn posters anyway,” justified Rubin. Taking it out to count he thought “How much have I got?”

As a car zoomed by at the end of the alley Rubin placed all of Castor’s money in the Expression Bum’s hat. “Yeah, that should be enough,” he thought. The Expression Bum tilted his head to see how much money he had been given. He started his performance. “Surprised,” said the Expression Bum as he pulled his expression of surprise, gasping audibly. But Rubin was also surprised.

The Dutch Gold he had been drinking had passed right through him. He needed to use the toilet – soon. “Come on,” he thought to himself. “Happy,” continued the Expression Bum, moving on to his next expression. “Hurry up!“ thought Rubin. His bladder wasn’t going to hold much longer. “Sad,” said the Expression Bum. He didn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. After all, Rubin had just given him €60.

“Oh forget it!” Rubin thought to himself as he walked away to search for an area to relieve himself. “Angry,” said the Expression Bum, who continued despite the fact that Rubin was walking away. He wasn’t going to stop in the middle of a performance. He could go all day for that kind of money. Rubin paced away, trying not to agitate his bladder too much.

Ralph Tilda walked along German Square, passing by the house of his good friend Floyd. Though Ralph did promise to tell his friends about his plan, he needed to get his twelve o’clock sugar fix in the form of Dr Pepper. The plan could wait. As Ralph strut down the road he noticed a strange man sitting on a wall ahead of him. Ralph didn’t want to make eye contact and so kept staring dead ahead.

“Hey, hey, hey, hey,” said the strange man in shades as he stood up to stop Ralph. “Do you‘ve the time?” he asked. Ralph didn’t appreciate being stopped by the stranger. He was even angrier when he noticed the man was already wearing a watch. “You‘ve got a watch on!” insisted Ralph, forcefully. The man moved his arms around and was speechless in disbelief.

“I was trying to make conversation!” he informed Ralph. “Just go make it with someone else!” said Ralph to the stranger quite rudely. The stranger waved his arms about, shocked by the behaviour of his fellow citizen. This stranger was no ordinary man. He was Lance Ackbey, goofball extraordinaire. While Ralph continued to the nearby Londis, Lance crossed the road. The event had caused Lance to lose his faith in humanity.

Lance started playing Radiohead’s Pyramid Song in his head. Being able to remember any song he listened to was a skill Lance prized. He thought to himself how someone could be so rude and angry. He was greatly saddened and had to go home to put on his unhappy socks. Lance kept thinking the incident over and over in his head, then realised he didn’t know where he was going.

He ran around for a few seconds, then regained his bearings. He stopped to prepare himself, and then started to walk again. As he walked quickly along the footpath he realised he never found out the time and decided to check his watch. 12:34. The order of the numbers made Lance feel a little better inside. Numbers do that for him. He pulled himself together a bit more for the walk home and started one of his favourite activates: Picking leaves off bushes.

About an hour after Lance’s encounter with Ralph there was some activity in his back garden. Job Pitane was lying on top of his shed, peering into Lance’s house. While this may seem like a strange thing to do, it’s well within Job’s range of madness. Job had been there for a while now and spotted some activity in Lance’s bathroom. The window opened and out jumped his good friend Rubin Blake, falling as he hit the ground.

Rubin ran towards the back of the garden, looking for a way out. He couldn’t let Lance find him. Job couldn’t figure out what Rubin was doing in the house. Job stood up and Rubin spotted him. “Job?” said Rubin, confused by his friend’s presence. “What are you doing here?” he asked. “Who‘s house is this?” asked Job, not knowing the owner of the shed he was atop. Rubin turned back towards the house and stretched out his arm. “This,” he said, adding a dramatic pause, “is Lance Ackbey‘s house.”

“Ah crap, wrong guy.” said Job, realising the time he had wasted on the shed roof. Job leaned down, preparing to jump off. “Come on!” said Rubin as Job cast himself off the roof. Job landed on his feet but couldn’t maintain his balance. He feel over and let out a grunt as Rubin went to his aid. “Come on!” shouted Rubin as he helped to pull Job off the ground next to Lance’s swing set.

“Run!” he shouted as the two fled for the side passage. “Run damn you!” As the two entered the side passage of Lance’s house Rubin ushered Job in front of him “Go, go, go!” They stopped and Job noticed something wrong with Rubin’s pants. There was a discolouration in the crotch area. “What happened to you!” exclaimed Job. Rubin looked down and examined the large area that was effected. “Oh, oh that.” he said, nervously. “Em... Well I really needed to go to the toilet and... I kinda messed up his bathroom. It‘s kinda...” Rubin continued to explain how he ended up in the house, while making hand gestures.

Rubin walked down the street with his legs tightly squeezed together. He kept his hands on his bladder, trying to keep the cursed liquid inside. “Oh man, I’ve really gotta to go to the piss,” he thought to himself while he moved slowly down the street. He was thinking of swearing off Dutch Gold for good. “God, I‘ve really gotta go!” he thought when he spotted a tree to lean against. “Ah, I can‘t hold this in much longer.” Rubin was bent over in agony, but there was no way he would relieve himself in public. “Oh God.”

As he leant upon the tree he realised that he hadn’t a clue where he was. “Hold on, hold on a second. Where am I?” Rubin looked around and spotted something shocking to his left. He now knew where he was: Dutch Street, home to an old friend of his. “My God!” he thought. “It‘s Lance Ackbey‘s house!” He knew the risks and decided to take a chance, thinking with his bladder. He ran up the driveway to Lance’s door. He impatiently rang the doorbell several times. Nobody came. He rang again. Rubin’s perception of time was gone.

He stopped ringing the bell when he saw a figure appear behind the glass door. It was Lance. He opened the door slowly and stared at the person on his doorstep. He took off his shades for a closer look. “Lance!” said Rubin. Lance replied with a cautious “Hi.” Rubin wondered if Lance had recognised him. “Hi, it‘s me, Rubin! Remember? From eh... from Roy‘s boxing club? Remember?” Lance stared blankly at Rubin.

Lance mumbled something, but Rubin couldn’t hear with the passing traffic. “Can... can I come in?” he asked. Lance looked back into his house and then stepped back. “Yes,” he said sticking his arm out. “Enter.” Rubin walked in, hopeful he could soon use the bathroom. Lance leaned out the door and took a good look around before coming back in. He slowly closed the door and then locked and bolted it. He turned to look at Rubin. “You want juice?” he said. Rubin was a little startled by the strange question. “OK, yeah. Yeah, I‘ll have some juice.” Lance reached into his pocket and took out a cup. He handed it to Rubin but he didn’t take it. He then forcefully moved it right up to Rubin, who reached out slowly and took it.

“Thanks,” said Rubin as Lance turned around to get something. He picked up a glass jug filled with orange juice, which just happened to be sitting on the table next to the door. He filled up Rubin’s cup with the tasty beverage and put the jug back down. Rubin carefully examined the contents of his cup. “So, so how‘ve you been?” he asked Lance. “Good,” he replied as he put his shades back on, tilted to the side as always.

“Say, I couldn‘t... I couldn‘t use your bathroom could I?” asked Rubin hopefully. Lance pointed to Rubin’s cup and said “Drink your juice.” Rubin looked at the juice again, trying to judge if it was made from people or something equally strange. He decided to go for it, since he desperately needed to go. He quickly downed the juice, which for some reason tasted like pineapple. He finished and let out a burp. Lance quickly retrieved his cup from Rubin’s hands. “All done,” said Rubin, after Lance had got his cup back.

Lance stroked the cup while the juice passed quickly through Rubin’s system. “So where... where is it?” Rubin asked as he danced the jig of holding it in. Lance looked around in confusion, then realised what Rubin was talking about. “Oh,” he said and pointed to the door behind Rubin. Rubin quickly turned around and opened the door. “Thanks,” he said, as he rushed into the bathroom. When he turned around to close the door he noticed Lance floating in midair towards him.

Rubin quickly closed and locked the door and went straight for the toilet. It was going to be a close call. “Oh crap, oh crap!” he said trying to make it, but it was too late. He let it go. It got all over his pants and Lance’s bathroom floor. “Oh no!” said Rubin as he examined the damage and tried to shake his legs dry. He turned back towards the bathroom door but realised he couldn’t leave that way. He didn’t know what he was going to do. Then he spotted the window and his way out of Lance’s house.

Rubin finished up telling Job exactly how he ended up jumping out of someone’s bathroom and they were well away from Lance’s house by then. “Well, well that‘s about it,” Rubin said to the intently listening Job. “Wait, wait... why the hell were you there?” asked Rubin, just realising Job was hiding on a person’s shed. “Oh, well that‘s a long story,” said Job and he began to tell Rubin just what happened after they split up on French Avenue.

As Lance was on his way home after being offended by Ralph he left German Square and headed for the Expression Bum’s alley. He discarded his leaves and ran across the road, after carefully checking for traffic first. As he entered the alley he was spotted by Job. Job looked at him and thought to himself “Hey, isn‘t that Bruce?” He mistook Lance for a friend of his and walked up towards the alley. “I don‘t wanna say hello if it‘s not him,” he thought. “I should probably follow him. Better safe than sorry.” Job entered the alley and spotted Lance, still thinking he could be Bruce. “Better safe than sorry!” he thought again, this time in a more jovial voice.

As Lance travelled down the alley Job moved carefully towards him, trying to get a good look at him. Lance stopped briefly to grab more leaves from a bush. He named the bush Steve and bid it good day. The two continued down the alley, past the Expression Bum. The Expression Bum was still in the middle of his performance. “Concerned,” he said, making the appropriate expression. Lance stopped and stared at the Expression Bum. After a minute he ran on to the other end of the alley, spotting another bush.

Lance took a few leaves and put them in his pocket and then ran across the road, this time opting to not check for traffic. Sometimes he liked to take chances. Job was still following him, keeping a safe distance. He was trying to use his surroundings to remain hidden from Lance. They continued for several minutes, with Lance frequently stopping at bushes and taking leaves. As Lance approached his house he examined the leaves he had collected and discarded the ones that didn’t meet his standards. Job was starting to suspect it may not be Bruce, but he wasn’t going to give up that easily.

Job noticed Lance was going into his house, so he made a daring leap over the gate of the house next door. The sound made Lance turn around. He suspected a bear was following him and so made a run for his side entrance. Before he went in he looked around carefully then continued to run, not closing the gate behind him. Job took advantage of this and snuck up Lance’s driveway and into the side entrance. Once in the back garden there was only one place to go: the roof of his shed.

After a couple of hours, and a shower of rain, the Expression Bum was nearing the end of his performance. “Pensive,” said the Expression Bum, finishing up. He felt he had earned enough for the day and this would be his last performance. He was also frightened that the strange man in tilted shades would come back. The Expression Bum was off to do what he did with all of his money: invest. He looked around, grabbed his stuff, stood up and left, confidant that no other bums would try to take his alley.

Back at Financial Footwear's hangout, Ralph Tilda had returned from the shops and was ready to explain his plan. “OK, so we need some way to ambush her,” he told his friends. “Ambush? Ambush! What do you mean?” asked Murray, laughing at the ridiculous plan Ralph had presented. Castor was equally amused and confused. “Well we get Floyd to say, drop something, and see if she helps him pick it up,” replied Ralph. Murray was still confused by his use of the word “ambush”.

“Something he wouldn‘t be able to pick up by himself.,” said Castor, master of the obvious. The band sat there thinking about it for a moment. A flash of brilliance hit Murray. “Oh, I‘ve got it!” he exclaimed while clapping his hands. “Shopping!” Ralph looked at Murray in disbelief. Murray was making less sense than Job. “I think he can pick up his own shopping, he‘s well capable of that,” said Ralph.

Floyd had been sitting quietly, as usual, but had come up with the solution. “Not if I have irreparable spine damage!” he interjected with. Everyone agreed this was their best course of action. “Write that down!” said Castor to Ralph. Ralph leaned forward and wrote “Spine Damage” in large, difficult-to-see writing on the page in his pad. “But, how could we ambush her?” asked Castor. “Well, she walks down Dutch Street everyday.” said Murray, while Ralph wrote “Dutch St.” in his pad. “She‘s off at four today.”

“So that‘s the plan,” said Ralph. “Let‘s do it!” replied Castor, with just barely enough passion to justify an exclamation mark. Ralph and Castor stood up while Floyd leaned over to retrieve his Gerbil. “Right, well we‘ve got a little while anyway,” said Murray. “We have some su- just get everything ready,” said Castor, slurring his sentence by trying to fit the word “supplies” in.

Floyd picked up his Gerbil’s box but noticed something wasn’t right. It felt too light. “Wait,” said Floyd. “What?” asked Castor. Floyd opened the box and his worst fear was confirmed. “My Gerbil. It‘s gone!” he said. Castor let out a laugh. Floyd screamed “No!” in agony. He threw the empty Gerbil box to the wall and fell to his knees, still screaming. Murray turned away from Floyd so he wouldn’t see him laughing. The box landed on one of Rubin’s cans of Dutch Gold, with the hole the Gerbil chewed sticking out.

Meanwhile, Lance Ackbey was out looking for his old friend, now nemesis, Rubin Blake. As he walked down Spanish Lane he happed upon something incredible, something so incredible it made him take a step back, something Lance never liked to do. He preferred to do a full circle to move back. But on the footpath of Spanish Lane Lance had found someone to share his love with: Floyd’s Gerbil. Lance bent down and picked the Gerbil up. He played with it in his hands. Lance was in love. He looked in its face and thought to himself “You shall be my new best friend. I dub thee Geofrey, with one F.” He looked around and went home with his new playmate.

Ralph and Castor stood behind a large tree on Dutch Street. “It‘s four, she should be here by now,” said Ralph, not realising that she couldn’t get from her place of work to Dutch Street in no time. “What can you do,” commented Castor. The two stood silently for a moment while Ralph pondered a question. “Is it prank call or crank call?” he asked Castor. “Eh, I‘d say crank call,” he answered, somewhat sure. “But it‘s a prank,” insisted Ralph, not understanding the origins of the term “crank call”. “Damn Americans and their Americanisation,” he said.

“Wait, this is a stakeout. So like, shouldn‘t we have like donuts and stuff?” asked Castor. Ralph stared at Castor for a moment and just said “Yes.” He then peered out from behind the tree and spotted Udora walking down the street. “Floyd, now!” he shouted out across the road. Floyd was standing on the path wearing a neck brace and holding a bag of shopping. He dropped the bag upon command and began to act as though he couldn’t reach it.

“Aw, my back!” he shouted. “Aw, what happened?” Udora was on her way down the road but before she reached Floyd one Lance Ackbey walked out of his garden, upon hearing the noise. He spotted Floyd in trouble and removed his shades. “Holy helpless!” he exclaimed and ran towards crippled man. As he ran he managed to drop his shades and slip, but quickly picked them back up and continued to Floyd.

“Are you alright?” asked Lance as he reached Floyd and grabbed his arm. Lance started picking up Floyd’s things and putting them back in the bag. “My back is killing me,” replied Floyd as Lance stared at the strange things Floyd had bought. “You‘re good buddy, you‘re good!” said Lance to reassure Floyd while holding his arm again. Udora reached the scene of Floyd’s accident and walked by, seeing he was already being helped.

“What the hell is this crap?” asked Lance. “I don‘t know,” said Floyd. “Somebody just asked me to go shopping.” Lance finished packing Floyd’s things back into the bag and handed it to him. “You‘re good buddy, you‘re good!” he told him again. “Thank you so much,” replied Floyd. “Are you alright?” Lance asked again. “I just lost my Gerbil today.” said Floyd to the kind stranger.

“Really?” said Lance. “That‘s weird, I found a Gerbil today.” Lance took his shades and cleaned them off. He thought it was a strange coincidence that someone lost a Gerbil when he found his one. “Anyway, see ya!” he said, walking off. “Thanks, thanks!” said Floyd as the stranger left. Floyd looked at him and thought for a moment. He started to wonder if the two Gerbils were the same.

The Scumbag and the Businessman were still at war, several hours after they started. The Scumbag had the Businessman on the ground and was shaking him. “This is what you get!” shouted the Scumbag. As they fought on the ground the Expression Bum walked along and spotted a fifty-cent piece next to the two men fighting. He picked up the coin. “Happy,” he said as he walked away, stepping to the side of the two men. “What are ya doin‘!” shouted the Scumbag at the Businessman, not noticing the Expression Bum had taken their prize.

Back in Financial Footwear’s hangout Murray was sitting with Udora. “So, eh, what did you think of my friends?” he asked her, still trying to figure out if she was racist. “Oh, they‘re cool. I like them, they‘re really nice,” she said as Murray strummed his guitar. He was about to ask her about Floyd’s Gerbil, to try to steer the conversation towards him, but she jumped in first. “But eh, just one question.” she said. “Why do you call Floyd ‘The Bullit‘?”

Murray thought about it for a moment. “I don‘t know.” he said. “No reason?” she asked him. Murray thought again, and realised he didn’t know why they called him that. “Absolutely none.” “OK,” she said. ”Yeah, he seems nice too.” Murray knew there was something else coming, he was sure she was going to make a racist remark. “I just hate Gerbils. They freak me out,” she said. Suddenly it all became clear to Murray Fince. “Ah!” he thought to himself, nodding happily.