At the request of program specialist Gary, and against my better judgment, I have been hard at work assessing the feasibility of a menehune domestication program for the Lahaina Merchants Association. Despite what the notes he discovered in the Vereserum labs have suggested, we have found the creatures extremely difficult to work with and handle. As everyone but Gary might expect, our experience so far shows that they can become violent and prone to destroy their surroundings when frustrated or upset. In addition to ignoring common sense, we believe the following are the biggest hurdles we’ll have to overcome if we want to continue Gary’s monster-helper program.
Branding: When most people hear the word menehune they don’t think, “useful furry companion for House maintenance or domestic chores,” they think about being eaten alive by the hairy little creatures. (I just want to make sure that you are aware that this has actually happened in a few cases involving the injured, and the elderly. Gary says that we just need to include a warning, but I remain unconvinced that selling an octogenarian a creature that has an equal chance of eating them, and helping them fold clothes, is a good business model.) As you can imagine, this makes giving a name to this disaster waiting to happen a challenge. To be honest, all of his suggestions so far are terrible. None of the proposed names have done well in the focus groups. Claw Care, Monster Maid, and Beasts of Burden round out the bottom of the list, with Helperhune receiving the warmest approval, so that’s what we’re going with.
Appearance: The dirty hair, tiny black eyes, claws, and fangs of the Helperhune may serve them well in the wild, but they don’t help us. Couple their terrifying appearance with their proclivity to scent mark their favorite: foods, tools, places, people, and almost anything around, and you have a big problem. Many participants in the pilot program complained about being woken during the middle of the night by a face full of helper spray. Gary has offered the opinion that this may actually be a blessing in disguise, because we could sell packages offering face masks for those worried about choking on a mouthful of helper musk. He says we could round their ears, blunt thier teeth, widen the eyes, and make their fur softer with the help of a series of Nuuskin rejuvenations. However, the cost would be prohibitive to the program. I’m beginning to think that Gary is more interested in working through some sort of menehune fixation than managing a successful program.
The Screaming: It would be easy to think that being covered in their musk would be the worst part of having a Helperhune service creature, but you’d be wrong. The worst is the screaming. When a helper is upset it lets out a piercing shriek that can only be described as a horrifically jarring assault on the ears. They scream when they are overly excited. They scream when they are introduced to a new person or area. They scream when they see one of their kind. They scream when they notice something moving, or are tired. They scream, and scream, and scream. On average, a Helperhune screams hours a day. Worse than the constant and intense headaches, is the program specialist’s belief that owners will just “get used to it,” after a few days. I’ve pointed out that this might be a danger to people living in remote locations because it would attract predators, and other dangerous denizens of the forest. Unsurprisingly to anyone who has ever had to work through the shrill cacophony of two dozen menehune alarm calls, my concerns have fallen on deaf ears. I’ll be surprised if Gary and I get through this without some sort of permanent hearing loss.
Supply and Socialization: To pile on the problems, we’ve found it impossible to train a Helperhune who has reached adulthood without consistent human interaction and handling. Since they are so terrible to be around, this is a problem. The very young have issues as well, as they are notoriously difficult to bottle feed, and are surprisingly destructive when teething. A Helperhune breaking in its baby fangs is an agent of destruction. The young have been known to chew through virtually anything when teething. Without a constant supply of sturdy chewing rocks, and Gary’s stereo, the young may have chewed through the door to the nursery; and I would have been forced to listen to his a terrible music for a few more hours. I swear I’d rather listen to days of menehune screams than another minute of his 1980’s hair metal.
There is a brief window in young-adulthood (8-10 months old), that menehune seem to be the least offensive, and the most easily trained. Unfortunately, the long and complex courtship rituals of the menehune make running a breeding programs impractical and something I wouldn’t wish on anyone except Gary. When we have captured a wild menehune at this age, we found it was important to bond early with it, but not too strongly. In some cases they can become overly attached to their owners, leading to aggressiveness and increased screaming in males, and excessive grooming and hoarding behavior in females.
Summary: With all these issues one might ask, “Why would you try to train screaming, spraying, biting, provably dangerous creatures to perform basic maintenance tasks, or clean your house?” I’ve been asking Gary the same thing for weeks without a good answer. With proper diligent training, and constant oversight, a Helperhune is a viscous, disgusting creature who may do what you ask, spray you with secretions, scream for a full hour in the middle of the night, or try to eat you depending on which way the wind blows. I suggest that someone else in the organization starts asking these questions too. I don’t actually look forward to hearing Gary’s answers, as I suspect he’s got some kind of weird kink that he wants to explore with the Menehune. Why else would have bought the ridiculously small maid costumes? I’m never working on a project like this again.You know what? I’m going to just go ahead and eliminate Gary now. He won’t be missed. What a jerk.