Years ago, when the Mister and I were still in college, we started on a long journey of ill-fated impulse buys. This illustration was inspired by one of them.
About 15 years ago, shortly after moving into my first apartment, we were strolling through the aisles of Meijer (as we were often wont to do), when we happened upon the pet department. Oooo, I thought to myself, I want something soft and cuddly and cute to love and take care of! And now would be the perfect time because I have my very own apartment! Yay!
Ugh, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve been able to rationalize, on the spot, a bad idea…well, I’d still have less money than I have spent over the years on said bad ideas.
And so, the deal was sealed. I was buying a hamster (and all of the supplies required to care for a hamster, which is really more than one would think). We flagged down an employee to fish out our new little fluffy friend and in no time, he was in his travel box and we were headed back to my
dumpy lovely little apartment to get him all set up for his new life of adorable unbridled cuteness. Aww.
On the way home, we named our new ball of love and fluff Fulford. Aww.
Fulford sat quietly in his box as we carefully set up his new abode, complete with running wheel, water bottle, food dish, and toys on a bed of comfy wood shavings. We even tossed in a nice toilet paper roll for him to hide in, because, well…aww. Yes! He was to be the cutest pet on the face of the planet. And we would love him and feed him and play with him every day. Aww.
Then, the screaming started.
Neither I nor Big Sir had ever owned a hamster before, so we were both blissfully unaware of a hamster’s ability (or in Fulford’s case, propensity) to scream. As I attempted to pluck him from his travel box, he backed himself into the corner of his cardboard prison and began screaming in a most unnatural and high-pitched manner. Then, the little f*cker bit me. And he drew blood! WTH?
Now, I’m not sure if this was Fulford’s first taste of human blood or if he had played his vampire game with unsuspecting pet department employees in the past, but one thing became clear very quickly. This hamster was bloodthirsty and EVIL. He was not the cute little pile of fluff we thought we could put in a ball to cavort happily around the apartment. NO. This hamster was not to be trifled with.
Any attempt to put a hand in his cage, whether to feed him, give him a toy, or fish him out for cleaning purposes, was met with constant screaming and teeth-baring. It was so bad that I had to buy a pair of leather gloves to wear when taking him out of the cage in order to protect my hands from being peppered with hamster bites.
Eventually, Big Sir and I both began to fear him.
Aside from giving him food and water, I mostly ignored him. I dreaded cleaning his cage and after the deed was done, I went back to completely leaving him alone. I didn’t even make eye contact with the little bastard, lest he begin screeching like some kind of crazed fur-covered banshee. He hated us. And we hated him.
Sometime in October of that year, he began a regimen of extended wheel-running. He would run for unnatural amounts of time. I’m not sure, but he may have been bulking up in an attempt to escape from his cage and kill us in our sleep. Fortunately, his plan never came to fruition.
On Halloween night, I went to bed as Fulford was entrenched in one of his wheel marathons. In the morning, I awoke to find him dead, an ex-hamster, if you will. He was still in his wheel, his legs outstretched in running position, as if his Dark Master had come to retrieve him in mid-stride…on Halloween night (because, you know, he was evil).
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