After days of endless whining on my part (a precursor to my days of endless b*tching, I assure you), Mom took me to the local pet store to pick out my new furry friend. Some how I wasn't a rat person and a gerbil looked too much like a mouse-kangaroo hybrid for my taste, so I settled on the cutest teddy bear hamster the store had to offer. He was golden and white and had checks that could hold an entire bag of sunflower seeds. With my being the creative person I am; I named him "Goldie". Not too sure he was happy about a being given a girl's name, but he never complained.
After a short period of time Goldie died. I don't know if it was from my constant feeding, or the fact that two days prior to his demise he had escaped from his happy habitrail home and woke up Mom in the middle of the night by crawling up her leg onto her chest. Mom responded by using a combination back-handed-bitch-slap with a terror-induced-throw-down ending in Goldie making direct and hard contact with the wall across the room. So Cause of Death, while never fully determined by necropsy, was either internal hemorrhage or internal fat. This began what would be my brief, but high body count, foray into the world of hamster homicide.
It was purely accidental, I assure you. And it is not like I am proud of the fact, that in the world of serial killers, (if the FBI included hamster body counts), I would probably be at the top of the most wanted list making John Wayne Gacey look like an amateur.
Goldie made it about a month in my house before he went to the big habitrail in the sky. I was broken hearted. I cried for two hours and in an attempt to get me to finally shut me up, Mom agreed to let me get another hamster. Off to the same pet store that bore Goldie to find me a new furry friend.
"Squirmmie" (Are you seeing a pattern to my pet-naming skills?) was the second and longest lasting of my hamsters. He lasted about four months before joining Goldie in the Great Hamster Valhalla. COD in his case was clear cut. He had an "unfortunate" wheel accident and that is all I can say about that. It wasn't pretty and I am still a little traumatized by the whole thing.
Back to the SAME pet-store we go. At this point the store owner has started to look at me a little funny and the other hamsters have begun backing away from the front of the cage when they see me. But this time I was going to be smart. Since the boy hamsters couldn't hack it in my house, I picked a girl hamster. I also managed to pick the hamster version of the happy hooker, cause this one came all ready knocked up. Hammie (Do you see now why I don't have kids? Can you imagine what I would have called them?) managed to increase the hamster to human ratio in my house by 5:1. Pretty impressive for a creature only seven inches long. After a few months, I discovered that hamsters are faster at breeding than rabbits. Six became 12, then 24, and so on.... I had my own stock piled hamster stash and the only thing that kept these little tribbles from over taking my house was my ability to "level the playing field".
I like to think of it was "loving them to death". In my need to overcompensate for the deaths of my first two, I made sure there was an endless food supply. I shoved anything and everything I thought a hamster could and would eat into that cage. My methods weren't always clean or consistent. After all I was only about 7 years old and couldn't remember when I had or had not fed them last. Feast or famine was my modus operandi, plus on occasion I had help from others. Hamsters are worse than the Mob at taking out others who get in line for their goods and there is no love loss when taking out your sibling if he cuts in line for the sunflower seeds. Pure carnage in a plastic coliseum.
In the end it wasn't pretty. It took fourteen months and countless bags of hamster food, but I managed to single-handedly reduce the hamster:human ratio to 0:3. By then I had run out of places in the back patio garden (we lived in an apartment) to bury the bodies. I had begun secretly disposing of my "hamster packs" in spots along the leasing office bushes, in trash dumpsters, and one mass grave in the playground sand pit. While that did cause quite the ruckus among the other apartment adults, no one asked any questions and Mom stopped asking me where the bodies were going. I think some things a parent does not want to know about their child.
Eventually they were all gone and Mom carted the well used habitrail to the dumpster for good. After the last one was gone, I did not have another pet until I was well into my teens. By then I had learned the rules of responsible pet ownership. Yet as Karma has always done, she was not about to let my hamster homicides to go unanswered. Since that fateful year, every pet that I have ever owned has had some illness/disease/injury that was answered in the biggest of Karmic-pay-backs: the over-priced vet visit. My guilt at having taken so many lives now manifests itself in spoiling my cats. Thus I have one very large, toothless cat and one who's lack of navigational skills cause her to miss the litter every time. And every now and then, when the pocket book is empty and the vet bill is large; I think I hear the soft squeaking giggles of a couple of dozen hamsters getting even.
Thanks to Dr. Zibbs who's equal opportunity offending of little people inspired this blog.