"In retrospect, lighting the match was my big mistake. But I was only
trying to retrieve the gerbil," Eric Tomaszewski told bemused doctors
in the Severe Burns Unit of Salt Lake City Hospital. Tomaszewski , and
his homosexual partner Andrew "Kiki" Farnum, had been admittedfor
emergency treatment after a fetching session had gone seriously wrong.
"I pushed a cardboard tube up his rectum and slipped Raggot, our gerbil,
in," he explained. "As usual Kiki shouted out 'Armagedon," my cue that
he'd had enough. I tried to retrieve Raggot but he wouldn't come out
again, so I peered into the tube and struck a match, thinking the light
might attract him."
At a hushed press conference, a hospital spokesman described what happened
next, "The match ignited a pocket of intestinal gas and a flame shot out
the tube, igniting Mr. Tomaszewski's hair severely burning his face,. It
also set fire to the gerbil's fur and whiskers which in turn ignited a
larger pocket of gas further up the intestine, propelling the rodent out
like a cannonball." Tomaszewski suffered second degree burns and a broken
nose from the impact of the gerbil, while Farnum suffered first and second
degree burns to his anus and lower intestinal tract.