You could feel it coming, couldn’t you? The curled, still body of a small rodent underneath a bookcase or a dishwasher, a pile of shavings, or a deposit in the litter box. To avoid adding insult to injury, a Kleenex is thrown over the lifeless hamster, in deference to death, a white sheet of surrender. Carried out surreptitiously, it is laid to rest in a garbage bin while the children are at school.
In your heads you are thinking, that is the end of the Oz. But you would be wrong. I am writing about Bea Long’s Thing 3’s hamster, a pint-sized baby brought home when the school hamster delivered a load. Within 48 hours, Hammy was heels up and the Long Thing was so beside himself with grief he stayed home from school. How could he confess to such lax parenting? Bea told her other two Things that the hamster was fine, just fine, a wee bit tired from the all-night treadmill.
Bea Long, being a Gold Medal Mother, went on a day long trek with her child in search of a replacement hamster, a hamster that looked just the same, only bigger. A sturdier hamster. After attempts at several pet stores failed, they ended up at an animal market, the kind where regular people shop.
The mark up on hamsters, it turns out, is quite large. The steal of a hamster that we purchased for 40 kwai costs a mere 5 at the market. The cage itself was marked up 200%. For bargain hunters, the only draw backs are rubbing shoulders with the locals (and I mean this literally), the bins of heaving, shifting maggots, and the air redolent with foul odors and cigarette smoke. Bea and her Thing found a larger version of their Hammy with a stripe and returned home, the brothers none the wiser of the rodent conspiracy.
Bea Long took my Thing 2 & 3 back to the market this past week while Mr. Understanding and I were in Honk Honk. Impressed by the bargains, Thing 3 lobbied Bea for a kitten: “But they only cost 10 kwai!” * I took it as a favorable sign of our friendship that, in addition to watching my children, Bea was not swayed by such arguments. Thing 2 was disgusted and vowed not to return to the market. Me, I can’t wait to go with my camera. Photos to follow.
In closing, our Houdini of a hamster was found once again under the dishwasher and was remanded to custody. I think it was my fault last time for not fastening the cage well enough. Alive and well, the Wiz of a Hamster may yet transmogrify into the very thing that hunts him down: a cat with nine lives. If he doesn’t, you know where I’ll be headed. 5 kwai is all I am willing to invest these days.
*The equivalent of $1.50.
Happy Belated Birthdays to:
Fernando – September 27
Mare, Bronwyn – October 2
Jessica, Maggie – October 4
Among others …