A ferret fracas

A lot of strange things have happened to me in Ann Arbor.

None were weirder than the time my friend and I decided to go to Zoup, a delightful establishment on Plymouth Road that sells – wait for it – soup. It was a nice day, so we sat outside to appreciate the stunning view of the parking lot. As I enjoyed my bowl of Mexican chicken soup, I noticed a middle-aged woman walking a ferret.

When she came close to us, I asked her why she was walking her ferret. She responed by whipping her ferret onto the table by its leash. She told me his name was Fuzzini (as in a fuzzy Harry Houdini) because he was an escape artist.

As I batted Fuzzini away from my piece of sourdough bread, she told me a story about how once the window of her car was slightly opened and her ferret managed to slip out. She then had to chase him around the parking lot.

I quickly became fed up with Fuzzini on the table, so I decided to find out just how much faith the woman had in her ferret’s escape abilities.

I said, “Well, if he were really an escape artist you would shackle him up and throw him in the Detroit River.”

She shrieked, clutched her ferret to her chest and stormed away.

PETER SCHOTTENFELS

You didn’t see that, right guys?

One fall night last year, I was in the Arb with some friends. We strolled down to the bench overlooking the big field – I’m sure you know the one – and sat down to enjoy the greenery.

We heard odd noises coming from the adjacent path. We sat in silence waiting to see what was going on. From the path came several guys leading someone with a black hood over his head. They were hissing and making all sorts of eerie noises. One came up to us and told us to make hissing noises to help them out.

“We’re hazing a pledge,” he said. They knelt him down facing the valley and ripped the hood from the pledge’s head.

“Where are you?” they asked.

“Garcia’s grave, sir!”

“Who are you?”

“Garcia’s pledge, sir!”

The tirade continued as we watched in awed silence.

The hissing men offered the pledge some him quiet encouragement as they plodded through the ritual, raw terror tripping his words. Suddenly, they replaced the hood, stood up the pledge and walked off, still hissing.

We sat in bewildered silence, shocked by the glimpse into a hidden world.

PAUL BLUMER

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