When I left their dad, it was hard to persuade the boys of the advantages (which were obvious enough to me) of having me out of their father's target range. One liberty I gave them at our new place was their choice of pets, which included tiny frogs that sat like stones in their terrarium till 4 am when they would begin a chorus of barking not unlike a terrified Pekinese; fish; a mouse named Stuart Little (who unbeknownst to us was allergic to his cedar chips and would eventually scratch his ears off before the vet figured out the problem), and what soon became several obscenely oversexualized guinea pigs. You might think that guinea pigs can't mate successfully until they've reached at least the juvenile stage. Trust me this is not the case. We became all too familiar with the sound of two guinea pigs fucking in the total darkness after bedtime.
We separated the boys from the girls.
One night when the boys were at their dad's house, I heard that inexorable squeaka-squeaka sound the females make in full penetrated lordosis, jumped up from my dining table and ran into the bedroom shouting "NO! NO!" Considering only briefly it was a possible case of lesbianism, and deciding not to chance it, I got there just in time to see two guilty looking beady eyed white faces staring at me from the horniest of the male guinea pigs' cages. Somehow the oldest female had sprung her cage, crawled down the dresser, up the back of a chair to the windowsill shelf where Squeaky the Sex Demon's cage had been moved. Yes, he was in isolation for his previous crimes, the evidence of which clutched their little paws on the bars of their own cages as they observed me yanking their mother/grandmother/aunt from Squeaky's cage, half in horror, half in wonder at her determination. There was no doubt in my mind she was now pregnant with twins. Time proved me right. We now had seven.
By the time we all accepted defeat at the hands of the guinea pigs, and had brainstormed our way through the surrender, Squeaky had died of old age and sexual exhaustion and been buried at sea somewhere off the shores of Long Island. (Jesse was not pleased-- "you tossed him in the ocean?" but what else could we do? There's noplace to bury rodents in the city that won't draw the attention of the parks department, they won't flush down the toilet like a proper pet, and he'd have been even madder if we'd tossed him in the trash).
We knew we couldn't let them loose (someone had done the same thing not a year before, gotten caught and had to pay the $50 fine for each of the 40 or so guinea pigs he'd set free in Central Park), sell them to Ecuadoreans, or return the adults to the pet store. So we put up signs around the boys' schools, and gave away all but the youngest females. Which had both managed to make themselves somehow pregnant. I took them in a shoe box to the closest middle school, found two suckers-- err, sweet schoolgirls-- and put one ripe piglet in each one's hand. And made sure they didn't catch my last name before I left.