Sunday, August 6

Night Of The Living Hamsters

It appeared so innocent, so normal, so cute. But I warn you now: The End Is Nigh. We are fooled, ignorant and unprepared. Gird your loins. Stock your larder. Gather your children. The twists of this absurd and warped universe have revealed the truth unto me: The mundane is the profane.

* * * * *

As is my sorta weekly habit, words were flowing from my brain, through my fingers, and into my laptop. I was occupied with cajoling, arranging, but mostly deleting, those words when the cell phone sang the Looney Tunes theme. I picked it up, annoyed.

"Um, hi Dad." It was Son II. "Can I have a hamster?"

"A hamster? Where did this come from?"

"Um, there's a sign by the mailbox. They have 3 hamsters and the cage for fifteen dollars. I have the money."

Dad did some quick mental calculations.

3 dogs + 3 cats + 1 parrot + 1 parakeet + 1 turtle + 4 aquaria + 1 rat = pandemonium squared. "I have the money" balanced the equation.

"Okay, as long as you take care of them."

"Cool. Thanks, Dad," was all Son II said.

Later that afternoon, I was introduced to Bitey, Mayonnaise, and Captain Poo-Face. Don't ask me where the names came from. The hamsters were owned by a 15-year-old boy. If the names don't make any sense, you have never had children, or you have never met a 15-year-old boy, or you are a prude, or you should be dead.

Son II actually proved to be a shrewd businessman. The cage wasn't a cage, it was Carnivale Rodentia. The home of his newly acquired mini-pets included a hamster house, plastic running tubes, an exercise wheel, multi-level platforms, and more plastic running tubes. It wasn't just a hamster cage, it was a Rube Goldberg amusement park for toothy furballs. For fifteen dollars.

"Um, I thought Mayonnaise was sick, but he, um, just had seeds in his cheeks." Son II handed the hamster in question to me. Sure enough, his mandibular pockets were packed to bursting with foodstuffs. I stroked his furry head. Mayonnaise rested in the cup of my palm, whiskers a-twitch, black eyes a-curious, pelt a-placating. They were so damned cute. Until Son II slipped on gloves and picked up The Dark One.

"This is Bitey." True to his name, Bitey launched into his work with a vengenace. Son II shifted him from hand to hand, trying to avoid the incisors that could pierce a welder's glove, much less the finger fabric he wore. He dumped Bitey back into the cage, and removed the gloves.

"This is Captain Poo-Face." Son II cradled the last of his three fuzzwards. It lived up to his name, lying there in his hand, somewhat immobile, a hairy turd-ball. Strangely, when placed back in the cage, Captain Poo-Face took the the exercise wheel with unexplained zeal.

Congratulating Son II on his purchase, I retreated to a weekend evening of leftovers, television, and napping.

In my dreams, I heard Son II and Wife vocalizing in worried and barely intelligible sentences. "It'sdead!" one said. "It's eating it!" said the other. Shaking myself from sleep, I stumbled into the hallway. The clock said midnight, or close to it.

FLUSH. Somebody was having a tough time in the kids' bathroom.

"Is Son II sick?" I asked of Wife.

"No! One of the hamsters had babies!" said Wife. "One of them is stillborn. So Son II is flushing it."

"He just got them," I said. "And they're pregnant already? Maybe that's why somebody wanted to get rid of them."

"Yeah! Now I can breed them and make money!" said Son II. Knowing there was nothing I could do to stop Nature's way, I went back to bed.

FLUSH. "How many more of you do I have to flush?!" Son II was obviously disturbed, and just as obviously amused.

I pushed myself out of bed, and stumbled again into the light of the hallway. Wife guided me to Son II's bedroom. The hamster cage was a fur-blur of activity. The plastic running tubes were a traffic jam of hamsters. At the top of the cage, where one of the tubes terminated, was one squirming pink pencil eraser with nubs clasping at nothing. Mayonnaise, or maybe Captain Poo-Face, rolled it around, sadistically oblivious to its newborn needs. At the bottom of the cage, sawdust undulated, presumably the birthing ground of more hamsters.

"Um, what do I do?" said Son II.

"There's not anything you can do." I said. "The mom is probably young and doesn't know what to do. She will either take care of them, or she won't. But I guarantee you that either Mayonnaise or Captain Poo-Face is a girl."

We all went to bed, but I fell asleep only after hearing another FLUSH.

The next morning I asked Son II about the pencil eraser.

"I don't know what happened," he said. "But, um, Bitey's mouth is all bloody."

* * * * *

People, Hear Me!

Forget Israel and Lebanon. Disregard North Korea. Ignore Rwanda. Overlook Pakistan.

There is a fear that eclipses all else.

The Hamster Gods demand sacrifice.

8 comments:

Shari said...

Captain Poo-face? Priceless.

This story made me happy in a sick, demented, blood-lust sort of way.

You crack me up.

Erica said...

I am still laughing at this one - the equal measures of revulsion and amusement... isn't that always the way?

And Bitey - LOVE IT. Thanks for sharing this gem. :-)

Word verification: oejdfbwk
What the Rwandans uttered in protest to your suggestion that the Hamster Gods were mightier than their struggles.

tiff said...

The ways of nature are mysterious indeed. I genuflect toward the throne of the Hamster God and pray its subjects never darken my door.

Thanks for the warning.

Erica said...

P.S. Not that you asked, but my friend and I both agree that we liked the bear icon better. He was just so... so YOU. To our way of thinking.

cutemama said...

ohhh :(
That's as bad as my son's 3rd birthday gift. Two little finches in a pretty little cage. Hid at grandma's, transported in the cold, fed shredded carrots for one day until we could get more bird food. They puffed up, to twice their size and kicked the bucket on day one.

And what worked for me at the age of 9 "They are just sleeping" didn't fly with him(hehe... fly). He responded, "No I think they're dead. They look dead to me."

But at least they both died before one could dine on the other. *shudder*

This Girl I Used to Know said...

One hamster per cage, people. One per cage.

Cowboy said...

My wife had a couple of hamsters once that used to fight all the time. One of them poked an eye out on the other one, but the one-eyed wonder exacted his revenge by chewing off his friend's head in the middle of the night... Horrible, bloodthirsty little rodents...

Great story, though. And I love the name "Captain Poo-Face"

Anonymous said...

8-15-06
UPDATE ON CANNIBAL HAMSTERS!

Slut female #2 had 6 babies-she actually nursed and cared for them.
On thier 4-day birthday, the cannibals raged upon them and ate them all, save for the rear-end of one still sitting on the sock that once kept it warm-I'm saving that one for PrinceFisherII.

-Snugglebuns