The man who filled his guinea pig with Helium
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"The Man Who Filled His Guinea Pig With Helium" is a CIA code name for Mr. Norman Guppy, a notorious criminal from Pennsylvania. It is perhaps one of the longest code names that the CIA has ever come up with. In general, the agency prefers short names that are easy to remember. Codename "Bob", for example, refers to the complex fiscal dynamics of the South American drug running financial system. While codename "Huh?" refers to the collapse of the roof tiling industry in Ukraine during the nineteen eighties.
"The Man Who Filled His Guinea Pig With Helium" is unlike most other CIA code names, in another respect. Far from being any kind of "code" for what it describes, it is in fact an accurate description of Mr. Guppy's most celebrated crime. For his crime was indeed the actual, real and frightening filling of his pet guinea pig, Monty, with Helium: by means of a garden hose. The idea behind the codename was that it should form an elaborate "double bluff" for the unwary. It was based on the principle was that no one would think of the CIA using a code name to actually describe the very thing it was supposed to code. They assumed that most people would probably think that "The Man Who Filled His Guinea Pig With Helium" merely referred to some otherwise innocent entity, probably called "Bob."
The codename quickly became redundant in any case, as in this case, the case, that is, the Guppy case, by which is not meant his suitcase or valise, just in case you're not on the case, became a case of being a famous case. It became famous after Mr Guppy was featured in an hour long special program on Animal Planet. He claimed that he was just "having a laugh" with his consenting pig at the time and swore that he was not affiliated with any terrorist organization. His actions remain controversial to this day. Some people think he should be locked away for life with no parole, which is precisely what has happened to him. Others think he should be released and given a big cake.
Sequence of Events
Norman Guppy was a healthy and well adjusted man who excelled at basketball and folk dancing. One day, for no apparent reason, he decided to fill his guinea pig with Helium. He carried the animal under the light of the stars into the shed at the bottom of his garden. Then he connected it to a hose. The other end of the hose was attached to a large canister of helium.
Norman found the hiss of the transferring gas oddly comforting, so he paused to light a cigarette, Helium being a non-flammable gas. This was a mistake, as he allowed himself to become distracted. By the time Norman's match was flicked out, his guinea pig had inflated to the size of a beach ball and was floating. According to Norman's own testimony, the animal "was bumping up against the top of my shed, making soft thudding noises and horrible squeaks".
Norman panicked. He pulled the hose from the mouth of his pig, Monty, who responded by paddling towards the open door. Before Norman could stop him, Monty had escaped the shed and was floating away into the star laden sky.
Detection and Destruction
Monty floated over a few villages, a large plain and some low hills before sunrise. Then he was picked up on the radar system of a secret military base and recorded as an U.H.T. An U.H.T., apart from being a brand of delicious milk that lasts forever, is an Unknown Hairy Threat. Terrorism was immediately suspected. As a matter of routine, two fully armed F-15C/Ds were scrambled.
It is generally agreed that the F-15C/D's performance is significantly better than that of the Eurofighter Typhoon, the current air superiority fighter variant of the Eurofighter. An F-15C/D can easily engage with a Saab JAS 39 Gripen coming at it full whack, for example, whereas a eurofighter would run and hide on the ground below. A low flying, beach ball-shaped, guinea pig ought to present little problem. This proved to be the case with our floating fur ball.
Monty detonated with unsurprising ease. Tiny chunks of him fell into a small town. Most of them landed in gardens and were eventually eaten by mice. One of them, however, landed in the top pocket of a freshly cleaned shirt hanging in the garden of an old lady who was very scared of aliens. So when she came out the next morning, and discovered that the shirt smelled of sulpher and had a small hairy lump inside it, her first reaction was to phone the government.
Analysis and Capture
The shirt was sent to a police laboratory for analysis. It was discovered to be of 99% polyester, 1% asbestos. It was a popular drip-dry model from the nineteen fifties that had been technically banned in the United States for years. Old people and babies were exempt from the ban, however, so the owner was let off with a warning. The shirt was returned to her, minus the lump, which was kept by the police for their secret underground museum, as a sort of trophy.
The curator of the underground museum was a pale man, named Brian. He was very much deprived of sunlight. He compensated for this with a diligence that bordered on the insane. When he was handed the last remaining part of Monty, he noted with enthusiasm that it still had a collar attached. On the collar was a medallion inscribed with the words: 'If found, please return to Mr. Norman Guppy, folk dancing enthusiast, and one time near member of the Royal Zoological Society. Esq.' The curator shook his head sadly. He later told reporters from his local newspaper:
"Here I am. A mild mannered museum curator. And yet, it is I who have discovered a vital piece of evidence. Evidence which a trained police force has entirely overlooked. Yet again. Life is unfair and random."
Then he diligently phoned the anti-terrorist hotline.
Norman Guppy was driving around the interstate highway looking skywards when four unmarked cars blocked him in and he was politely requested to get out of the vehicle with his hands in the air. He was bundled into a police van that had been cunningly hidden behind a tree and driven to the local station for processing. Then he was flown to Langley and handed over to the C.I.A's top secret U.F.O branch for interrogation about his alleged terrorist activities. Every time he denied he was a terrorist, they forced him to wear only one shoe. It didn't take him long to crack.
The irony was that Norman Guppy really was a terrorist. When agents checked his garage, they found half a tonne of Ammonium Nitrate all set to go. When asked about this, Norman initially claimed it was just for his house plants. Under further interrogation, however, he admitted that it was actually part of a plan to blow up the penguin house at his local zoo. A mindless act of senseless penguin orientated violence was thereby averted by a crazy old lady who never bought new shirts and was scared of aliens. It just shows. You never know how things are going to pan out.
Long after most decent people had forgotten about Monty's cataclysmic implosion at the hands of the American Military, a group of brave, yet stalwart, fruit pickers and animal fanciers lobbied various senators for a change in the law. After months of lobbying, which left the animal fanciers exhausted and the senators dizzy, a new law was passed through congress. It was named "Monty's Law" after Monty himself, as the "Don't Blow Up Floating Mammals Without Permission Law" sounded ridiculous and too long. It is now a crime to detonate a floating guinea pig, hamster, show pig or balloon without written permission from the President. Helium is also banned in most of Pennsylvania except for licensed usage in brothels and, of course, bakeries.