Stephenson Tales

Spartacus the Skunk

Spartacus in all his obese gloryThis was given to Robin. It had been a beautiful specimen, I have no doubt, but the previous owners had not used much discretion in the animal's diet and had rarely let it out of its very small cage, and it was almost as wide as it was long. It could barely walk it was so obese. Of course, it had been operated upon to remove its defense glands, but it still retained the aura of the breed. It was not overpowering and, from across the room, really not bad.

It lived in her room on the second floor above the living room and I suspect was a pretty lonely kitty since Robin was in school all day and was often in rehearsals at night. She and Bill Coke were entertainers at "Wonderland," a small amusement park in Streetsboro. With a wonderful pianist, they sang and danced on weekends - four or five shows a day, as I recall.

The only thing that all this has to do with Spartacus is that when Robin went to Interlochen for the summer, Spartacus was moved into the small zoo, which was part of the attraction at Wonderland. By the end of the summer Wonderland was in the red and going out of business. All the assets were sold off - as well as Spartacus, who by this time looked more normal and less like a black and white balloon. I do not know, really what happened to the beast...Maybe Robin does?

Spartacus the obese skunkRobin's note: When we got Spartacus, I put him on a diet and took him for regular exercise walks. I took "before" pictures in anticipation of the "after" pictures that I would take when his stripes went straight down his back instead of making a big oddly-shaped circle. The "after" pictures never happened. Spartacus, being nocturnal, slept most of the day and was wide awake and active at night when I was trying to sleep. He often made nests in my clothes or blankets, ruining some in the process with his very sharp little claws. If I scolded him, he would stamp his front feet and raise his tail not realizing the impotence of his threat. When Wonderland went under, Spartacus was kept by the owner's children. He was far from svelt, but had lost some weight, unfortunately not enough. They told me he was going down the stairs and took a tumble, broke a rib, and it punctured his lung. His size very likely had to do with his lack of agility and contributed to his tumble.

Composed 18 October 2008; Transcribed by Lucky

Note from Toni: Robbie and I used to delight in frustrating that poor, fat skunk by lunging and hissing at him. Spartacus would lift his tail, straight and stiff, pound his claws on the floor, and hiss back at us, trying with all his might to spray his stink all over us. We were so cruel. One time Spartacus disappeared for several days. We searched the house for him with no luck. After about the fourth day, we heard him rummaging around under Robbie's bed amid piles of dirty clothes and assorted junk. He probably could have survived under there indefinately. (And perhaps lost a bit more weight! -Robin)

© Jim Bob Stephenson 2008

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