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From: Uncle Bob
Sent: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 6:33 PM
To: Dad
Subject: I caught them - big time

I may not have told you but whenever I go away I'm a little shy for the first day or so and am reluctant to go to the bathroom. I'm usually back to normal within 24 hours as I get over my shyness.

Well my keepers totally forgot about this phenomenon. Earlier today they arranged my jail-stand in the work room and came to get me. No sooner was I on the stand when I had to go. I couldn't help it and, as I'd been saving it up for over 24 hours, it was huge - I mean it was stupendously big. After the shouts of "gross" and "yuck" they realized that the wall needed to be painted. I thought it was a nice pattern, green dots on a cream background, but they didn't seem to think so. I only get one chance at this per trip. Glad I made it count.

Apart from that, I've been really good. I have asked for shrimp but no luck so I've had to manage on polenta, chee, rice, bread sticks, cherries, melon and pasta with meat sauce ("gravy" in the NJ parlance).

From: Dad
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2003 5:45 AM
To: Uncle Bob
Subject: Great Shot, Bob!

You are just FULL of surprises!

We had a nice flight, but there is no way around it -- it takes 24 hours door-to-door to get here. Your mother is still resting, but I'm trying to work out a few business issues.
It is cool and sunny here as we figure out what to do for the day. I believe we'll head to the aquarium first. Tomorrow is Stellenboch where we have at least one introduction.

Hope all is well --

From: Uncle Bob
Sent: Monday, July 07, 2003 6:58 PM
To: Dad
Subject: I'm doing well....

I've almost covered their work room with a layer of down and feathers. The problem is that the A/C keeps blowing them around so it's tough to get a really even layer. I'll have to think about heavier feather or, maybe, sticky feathers so that they say where they land.

The diet is OK but not as varied as I'd hoped. I want cherries! No, not those small red fruit with pits (they give me lots of those) but the strange pink colored sea creature with crunchy claws. Anyway, apart from the lack of cherries it's not bad. Last night it was tuna steaks. They only gave me a little but it was quite nice (not so sure about the wasabi though). All three of us are having Chinese tonight. Aunt and Uncle are each going to cook a beef dish. One with mushrooms and peppers and the other with onions, carrots, fennel and special peanuts. One thing they haven't given me is peanut butter. I'm not sure why but there was some talk of the problems of getting off of the ceiling.

Afraid there's not much more to tell. Food and preening are the important things in life. Well, apart from making burglar alarm sounds that is.

Hope you're having fun .... Uncle Bob

From: Uncle Bob
Sent: Friday, July 11, 2003 3:32 PM
To: Dad
Subject: Only six nights to go!

Not doing too badly though there seems to be a severe chee shortage in this part of the world. They keep offering me stuff that's the color of polenta and saying that it's chee. Now you and I know that chee is a deep orange color so why are they feeding me this strange stuff. It's got the same texture, taste and smell as chee but I'll just keep lifting it out of my dish and dropping it onto the bottom of my house 'cos it's not the right color.

We're all in the work room and I'm working hard on my "feather flooring" plan. You know, we really should charge for this. Think of the marketing possibilities:

"Want a new, soft as down, renewable floor? Rent-A-Bob can help. For only a few fruits, some leftovers and a nominal charge (and twelve hours dedicated attention a day), Rent-A-Bob will guarantee the softest, most luxurious flooring that you have ever known. Revel in the luxury of genuine down and feather flooring. Be the envy of your friends. Note: slight imperfections and the occasional unspeakable deposit are perfectly natural and are signature features of this magnificent, self renewing floor covering".

Waddya think? Have we got a product here? Let me know. It's my idea so I'll take 50% of the snacks and you can keep the rest as a sales commission.

Love .... Uncle Bob

P.S. I hear them talking about going to a place called Bee Jay's to get some real, orange chee. It's good to know that there is real chee in New Jersey.

From: Uncle Bob
Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 12:05 PM
To: Dad
Subject: I did it again!

Aren't you proud? Twice in one trip!. I was so excited by your phone call, and the news that this torture will soon be over, that I couldn't help myself. I came up, got on my jail-stand and it just happened - SPLAT! My keepers are rushing around with 409 and paper towels and are laughing hysterically while muttering something like "we'll never get the green color out so from now on we'll have to call this 'Bobs Wall'".

Wonderful news that you are coming back. Hope you had the nest time.

Love .... Uncle Bob

From: Dad
Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 1:39 PM
To: Uncle Bob
Subject: Great Job, Bob!

You DO have a strange way of expressing yourself, however.... Sounds like your mother and I should bring back the 409 for your jailers.....

Please tell them that if they can work out the menus for the wine dinner that it would be great to do that with them. We'll try to bring you back some shrimp tails from dinner if we go.

And, yes, we'll see you day after tomorrow. After all your jailers have been through I don't think they should have to drop you off (but maybe they can't wait!) We'll see if you and I can't just do a boat ride again together -- because I have the keys to your jail!

We saw one of your cousins at a camp in Botswana -- she really reminded us of you, except she isn't nearly as cheeky!

See you soon --