LOCATION Carroll Gardens
RENT $1,300 [market]
SQUARE FEET 450 [one-bedroom in four-flat house with terrace]
OCCUPANTS Birgit Garland [girl Friday]; Thomas Garland [architect, ABS Architects]
Where is he? I’m so anxious to see him. Oh, that’s him. [Thomas] He’s a phenomenon. [Birgit] People have heard about Hegeloff. [Thomas] Without even meeting us. [Birgit] They come up and say, You’re the guys with Hegeloff.
Let’s see, he’s about . . . [Thomas] Four inches. [Birgit] Twelve and a half grams with a big bottom. He gets refurred every year.
Is that a common German name—Birgit being from Munich and all? [Thomas] No, it’s an ex-girlfriend who’s French and she couldn’t say “hedgehog.” [Birgit] His full name is Roberto Paulo Hegeloff. There are two stories. One is our story and one is his. Ours is that Hegeloff was in a group of little furry toys in the ’60s given by Thomas’s father to Thomas’s mother. Hegeloff was the only one who survived the cat. Then he stayed with Thomas. I saw him at Oxford, at the architecture school, where we met. I said, Oh, what’s that cute little thing? Then Hegeloff became alive.
Eight years ago. Now he is always with us, traveling, New Zealand, England. We know a guy in Wales who was living in a gatehouse with a big tower and he just threw Hegeloff down, 100 stories, and said you can look for him tomorrow.
How cruel. We had to look for him immediately. We didn’t have a torch. We had to go down with candles.
Where does he sleep? With me, in the bed.
Thomas is there too? Yes.
What is Hegeloff’s story? [Thomas] He comes from Brazil, a little village. [Birgit] In the Amazon with a lot of little Hegeloffs. You have to see Thomas’s drawings.
Are you going to make a book? This year, Thomas, or I kick your ass. Hegeloff’s married with kids but he left them. We think he’s gay because 99 percent of his friends are male but he doesn’t mooch about. [Thomas] He’s into SpongeBob. Here’s his passport.
So tiny. My voice is getting higher. Here’s a photo of us getting married in Vegas with Hegeloff. This is his goblet, bowl, cheese grater.
So anything smaller than Hegeloff is his. Who carries him? I do. I put him inside my sweater, under the neck. I take him to the office every day. He saw 9-11 from my office.
Would you let anyone else carry him? No? I was reading Winnicott before I came over. I was going to discuss the transitional object. . . . You’re looking at me coldly . . . never mind. What about that first French girlfriend? [Birgit] She just saw him. That’s all. [Thomas] Don’t you want to write about the apartment?
Right! How did you find it? Boccie ball. [Birgit] We were living in Chelsea. We were evicted. The guy we were subletting from owed the landlord two weeks’ rent. He was very apologetic. He said, Take all my furniture. He was living somewhere else with his girlfriend. We paid him rent but he didn’t pay the landlord. It’s a complicated story. The sheriff came. [Thomas] No, the city marshal. [Birgit] He hired a moving van for us. We share a boccie ball court here with a lot of elderly men, Italian men. They are the masters. I wanted to live here because all our friends are here. I came to look with a real estate agent. Dominic from the court is sitting there. He said, What are you doing here? I said, I’m looking for an apartment. [Thomas] A one-bedroom. [Birgit] Can I tell this story? I was there. You were at work. [Thomas is quiet, as is Hegeloff.] I said, I’m looking for a one-bedroom. He said, Forget the broker. Come with me. I have one with a terrace. I said, Don’t give it to anyone.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 15, 2005