The Tragic Story Of The Life And Death Of My Hamster, Bob
Once upon a time, when I was eight, or perhaps nine- you know...the age when you really want a pet rodent- a gerbil or a hamster, not a rat...that doesn't get "cool" until about age fourteen- I decided that I desperately wanted a pet hamster. I begged and cried. I made big scenes. At last, my mother cracked. She said I could have a hamster if I cleaned my room.

So...like any enterprising youngster, I set out to make my room appear clean. Instead of just stuffing everything under my bed (Mum was starting to catch on to that one...) I instead crammed everything into my closet, shut the door, and prayed the latch would hold. It worked. The hamsters would soon be mine....

We set off to Petsville at MicMac Mall. After much deep soul searching, I decided on four hamsters; ebony and ivory (I know...I was 9, ok?), flower, a sort of multi-coloured hippie hamster who, in retrospect, I think was drugged, and my favourite one, a sort o dull brown, nondescript hamster that I named Bob.

We set off for home. When we got there, we set the hamsters up in their temporary home- a laundry basket with chicken wire over the top- where they would be staying until the second-hand cage arrived from a friend. I went to bed, happy and singing ("Hamsters-I've-got-hamsters-I've-got-hamsters").
(*note* no one had told me that hamsters are nocturnal)

Sometime in the middle of the night, I was awakened by a strange scratching, scurrying sound. I sat up in bed. I screamed. "MUMMYYYYYYYY!" My mother came running. She flung open the bedroom door. She ran to my bed. I explained about the noise. Halfway through my explanation, I remember the hamsters. I felt very silly, until we checked the cage and discovered that the little buggers had climbed the side of the hamper, chewed through the chicken wire, and made good their escape. Except for Flower, who was just sitting on the floor next to the cage, looking nblank. Well.

We found Ebony in the hallway. Ivory was on the stairs. But we couldn't find Bob. Not anywhere. I was devastated, and refused to go back to bed until he was found. After an exhaustive search, we finaly discovered that the fireplace in the study, which we usualy kept a board in front of (to prevent draughts) was partially uncovered. Just about enough for a hamster to squeeze through. "Bob!" I rushed down the stairs to the basement.

We found his pitifully small, ash covered body at the bottom of the chimney. We placed him on the floor to say a few words......and he took off! We barely caught him! Aside from a slight limp, he seemed none the worse for wear, so we returned him to the makeshift cage, repaired the damage, and went back to bed.

The next night, at an unknown (late) hour, I was awoken again. "Mum! Mum! Muuuuuum! The hamsters got out, again!" My mother came running. (again) She flung open the door. (again) And we checked the cage. (again) "But, honey, I think they're all here... I don't know how they could have gotten out again..."

Well, I don't know how he did it, but Bob had gotten out again. We began to search. I found him, in the library, SCRATCHING at the board in front of the fireplace. Trying to get back IN. I grabbed him, and began to carry him back to the cage, stubbing my toe rather hard in the process on the board in front of the fireplace. I didn't bother to fix it right away, since I wanted to return Bob to the cage. Halfway down the hallway, he BIT me. "BOB!" I dropped him, and he ran....back down the hallway to the library.

I gave chase, and saw him slip through the crack back into the hearth. I snatched the board away, and there he stood...on the edge. He looked up at me....he looked down the hole to the two story drop. Then...he jumped.

Yes. My pet hamster committed suicide when I was nine, and it has marked me ever since. If ther is a moral to this story, it can only be:

"Never name a hamster Bob."

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