Here is a creature hardy enough to withstand whatever misfortunes may come.
Greetings, and welcome back to Weekend Reading! We apologize for being off the air last week, but rest assured, the Outside offices are now fully prepared for aerial bear assaults. It’s been a strange week here with many of our staffers out adventuring. Ryan O’Hanlon, on the run from an undisclosed crime against nature, has fled to Honduras where he’s covering the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team; Caty Enders has left for Florida to do battle with malevolent pythons; and our fearless leader, Nick Jackson, has ventured east to witness the glory of Winter Storm Nemo firsthand. Godspeed to them all.
It’s a good thing we’re back, because I have a pressing announcement to make. Ready? Here it is: I’m getting a tortoise. Is your head still attached to your shoulders? Good. Read on. I have a bad history with pets, you see. Observe:
- Hamlet, hamster: My first childhood pet. Ruthlessly snatched from her cage by my dog Petals and crushed. On the upside, my mom was able to wrestle the corpse from the dog’s jaws, allowing for proper Christian burial.
- Dodger, hamster: Suffered what I believe to be a heart attack. Found in a pose of rigid terror, clawing desperately at the walls of his cage.
- Wonton, hairless mouse: Died, I think, of cancer after a long and fruitful career of freaking out my parents’ friends at dinner parties.
- Domino, rabbit: Died of what we believe to be heatstroke after I left his cage out in the sun. His corpse was committed to a garbage bag.
- Petals, first family dog: Struck down by a collection of tumors along her spine.
- Kitchawan, second family dog: Mysteriously died in the cargo hold of Continental Airlines Flight 91. Her remains arrived in a box the size of my fist. We may never know what happened.
- Milford, feral mouse: I rescued Milford from a glue trap in my old apartment in New York. I sheltered and fed him, and even read him passages from Frederik Pohl's Gateway to soothe his jangled nerves. Milford ultimately comitted suicide by repeatedly leaping into the roof of his cage until he caved in his skull. He was buried at the family estate in Westchester, NY.
After Milford I thought I'd never have another pet, but when I saw last week’s story about a tortoise that survived without food, in a box, for 30 years, I knew I’d finally found the pet for me. The tortoise is immortal. Here is a creature hardy enough to withstand whatever misfortunes may come its way while under my care. I will name him Tort Reform and he will outlive me.
Sorry, that was a little grim. On to the Weekend Reading!
Was Anthony Smith a football player, a sociopath, an arsonist, a torturer, or a murderer? Prosecutors believe it may be all of the above. Kathie Dobie, GQ.
"On an empty stretch of road outside the city limits, Rodriguez and Gray examined the body of a thirtyish Hispanic man slumped into a pool of his own blood. He had a black eye and bruises and cuts on his back, as if he had been punched and savagely kicked before being shot to death. (The murder weapon was later determined to be a nine-millimeter.) The identification in his pocket showed the man to be Maurilio Ponce, and soon the detectives were sitting with his widow, Angie, who told them he had left the night before, driving her white Lincoln Navigator, and that yes, of course he had his cell phone with him. The police had found no cell phone and no Navigator. But it didn't take long for them to get hold of Maurilio's phone records, which showed a series of calls to Anthony Smith in the hours before his death."
How a run-down cabin on the edge of the Alaskan wilderness can change a man’s life for the better. Steve Rinella, Outside.