“Ah, the total stranger...so creepy and yet so mystifyingly interesting that I must know them and have my babies with them.”
The Total Stranger: a brief introduction to the natural history, habitat, range and habits of this elusive but engaging creature.
Many eminent zoologists have pursued the Total Stranger, only to meet with disappointment and heartache over the tremendous difficulty of capturing a live specimen or in keeping one intact long enough for the purposes of study and display. Modern scientific techniques have made it somewhat easier to conduct field observations and recordings of the creatures in their natural setting, but of course present-day sensibilities discourage the practice of capturing wild animals purely for display purposes. Even with the most aggressive and advanced modern techniques, however, it has proven impossible to maintain a study specimen long enough for meaningful results to be collated.
The enterprising amateur adventurer who wishes to take up this challenging puzzle is encouraged to do so, as this is one of a dwindling number of scientific conundrums to which the untrained hobbyist may yet bring about significant scientific advance. Reference may be made to some of the many scholarly works on the topic: "Stranger in a Strange Land", "Stranger Than Truth", "When You're Strange, People Don't Remember You're Game" and even the somewhat dated but invaluable documentary "The Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra" which does not deal directly with the pursuit of the Total Stranger but does lay out some sound scientific techniques of use to the amateur, as well as cautionary advice concerning Mutants and persons named Betty.
In popular culture, the Total Stranger has often been a subject of fascination, attraction or horror. The females of the species, depending upon their morphology, can be extremely beautiful, even dangerously so, as has sadly been demonstrated in the utter destruction of the careers of some prominent researchers who became inappropriately obsessed with pursuing female Total Strangers. A few of these instances resulted in tragedies extending from Rebuff or Rejection to outright Maiming.
The female Total Stranger is a powerful animal and should be approached with caution, particularly in situations where the animal feels that its assets are threatened, or its defenses in danger of penetration. It must also be said that the male of the species is equally powerful and dangerously less rational in its behavior. Serious bodily harm may result from chance incidents involving the use of such bait as baseball hats, athletic shoes, currency, or non-legal pharmaceutical agents. Bewilderingly, converse results are also possible and quite likely, in which the Total Stranger is receptive and friendly, often proceeding all too quickly to an intimacy which of course results in the famously dramatic sudden dissolution for which the vanishing Total Stranger is unique in the animal kingdom. It is this complex of danger, attraction and disappearance that has maintained public interest in Total Strangers for so many years. In general, many lay persons feel an alternate attraction to and revulsion for Total Strangers, depending upon the behavior observed in such locales as Strip Clubs, The US Congress, Hollywood, People Magazine, Hollywood, The Pentagon, Interstate Highways, and Wal-Mart. Some people conceive an almost pathological fear of Total Strangers, far exceeding their fear of spiders, snakes, jellyfish or television.
They will run in panic at the approach of the animal and, in those cases where the fear degenerates into psychosis, will advocate aggressive campaigns of extermination. Many Total Strangers have thus been tragically killed out of fear and misunderstanding. It is one of the great shames of humankind that we are unable to peacefully share the world with other animals such as this. Consolation can be found only in the fact that this animal has proven to have a remarkably resilient population, perhaps in part due to its extensive range and adaptability. Thus, despite the many wanton killings of their kind, they have never been in danger of extinction.
This profligacy and ubiquitous distribution, in fact, is often used as a justification by those who advocate localized exterminations. The scientific community universally abhors this attitude, preferring protection and pointing out the many benefits Total Strangers bring to the world. Some religious organizations join in this preservationist perspective, while others either blatantly call for extermination or, more commonly, simply remain mute on the subject.
Reproduction is one area of the behavior of this animal which has proven completely impenetrable to researchers. No permanent, seasonal or even transient pairing of Total Strangers has ever been observed and while the biology and even the mechanics of the mating process is well understood, it has never been observed or recorded, despite countless efforts, both legal and illegal.
Thus the incredibly robust population of Total Strangers, a population which is in fact growing faster than that of any other wild creature, is a complete mystery to science. We know how they mate, what it looks like, what it sounds like and what traces are left afterward, but there has never been a single scrap of visual evidence of mating between two Total Strangers. The gestation period and whelping of the pups is likewise a mystery.
Habitat and range
Total Strangers seem to prefer densely populated areas, as do both the rat and the cockroach. They are found in all major cities of the globe and in many small communities as well. They are regularly sighted engaged in what appear to be random migrations which can range from distances of a mile or less to distances of thousands of miles. These migrations sometimes are for the purpose of finding feeding areas, improved hunting grounds, and new den sites or to resolve complications arising from untenable disruptions of the social order. Their range is broader than that of any other mammal known to science.
They are remarkably diverse in their habitats, though one rarely sees one in its den. Some unscrupulous profiteers have attempted to sell films of Total Strangers engaged in various activities in their dens, but this is frowned on by the scientific community. It is possible that some researchers have made reference to these illegal recordings in an effort to better understand the creature, but of course any conclusions would be unacceptable for publication, due to the need for thorough citation of sources.