The Hamster

By Curt Struna • January 18, 2018

When I was a young man, I had been picking up a friend who had been babysitting. As I was waited for him, I noticed a cage and looked inside. Inside the cage there was a cute little hamster, and I put my finger up to the bars of the cage to pet him. He bit me. I went to the bathroom and washed the blood off of my hands. When I came back I was told, “You missed it! You should have seen it! After you left, the hamster went crazy and bounced off the walls of the cage and then he ran on the hamster wheel really fast and then he dropped dead!” There was indeed a very dead hamster at the bottom of the cage. We were told to bury it in the garden.

I told my sister this story several days later. My sister was convinced that I had been bitten by a rabid hamster. I explained to her that hamsters in captivity rarely, if ever, contract rabies. Despite my repeated protestations that it was nothing serious, she called the Center for Disease Control. They told her that a state trooper would be coming to pick up the hamster and it would be brought to a laboratory for analysis. I was forced to drive way back to the house where the hamster was buried, dig it up, and bring it back. I became annoyed at about this time.

A trooper picked up the hamster, packed it with ice, put it in the trunk of his car and left. By this time, my sister was frantic that the hamster had been rabid. This had gone too far. I went into the bathroom, found some shaving cream, smeared it around my mouth, and came back out. I lowered my head and told my sister that I wasn’t feeling so well. I then lifted my face and showed her my frothing mouth. She ran out of the house through the screen door and didn’t stop running despite my yelling after her that it had been a joke. She finally did come back, very sheepishly, and walking sideways ready to run away again. You can’t buy memories like that.


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