27. Pronto – Elmore Leonard
Thaddeus and Harry Arno have some things in common – they both had ornery dispositions in their old age (although, really, sixty-six and possibly five [I’ve never been able to figure out how old Thaddeus was when I got him, but I had him for four and a half years] are not all that old), they’ve both traveled, they both had girlfriends, and they were both protected by people whose names begin with “Ra.” Granted, I am no Raylan Givens, but I could potentially be for Halloween, and Thaddeus wasn’t skimming off the books of Jimmy Cap and pursued to Rapallo, Italy. This is the first novel of Elmore Leonard’s to feature Raylan as a major character and several incidents from it have ended up on Justified in some form. I have to say though, I did not know that there was a television version of Pronto until I was double checking that this is the first Raylan book and Wade Messer from Justified was Raylan! It’s very hard for me to picture, so I’ll have to track that down. Apparently his hat was not right though. That’s an important detail. Of course, Olyphant’s hat isn’t right either, but it looks good. And I like James LeGros as Wade Messer, he and Dewey Crowe are seriously amusing together.
As far as I know, being in captivity and finally getting to live with Pammy prevented Thaddeus from a life of guinea pig crime. Living with me did not stop him from whistling louder than any other guinea pig I have ever had at seven AM to be fed, enjoying large amounts of Swiss chard, and establishing himself as pig-in-charge when Belvedere passed away. He was an excellent successor to my first family of guinea pigs and he was certainly a big part of the second since he made it obvious that he loved Pammy very, very much. He and Pammy had been in a cage together where Mr. Cheese and I used to buy our guinea pig food and they clearly remembered each other when reunited at my apartment, although they did not get to live together until a few months after Pammy was spayed (she had ovarian cysts, I wouldn’t have bothered with major girl-pig surgery just so they could live together, they were already touching noses through their grids). Thaddeus weathered pneumonia, being covered in essential oils to fight off two fungus situations (he was referred to as “Jersey Shore Thaddeus” during that time period because of the shiny, overly perfumed pig he became), and he is the second guinea pig that I’ve had that was allowed by the universe to die of just old age. On Christmas night. He also had an excellent sense of irony as in 2012, I thought he might not live through Christmas because he had begun losing weight rapidly around October. I managed to sort him out mostly then, and for all of 2013 he was off and on the weight loss train but always, always peppy and interested in eating his food, his treats, and his supplemental Critical Care. Always. He was pretty demanding. On Christmas morning, I knew he didn’t look like himself. I’d been debating about whether or not to put him down once he really couldn’t keep any weight on and started to have some trouble getting around; and just like several pigs before him, he made the decision for me. Thaddeus was a glorious pig.