The Suicide of Hamsters

Diane Hoover Bechtler

Carolyn found three on the floor. She lifted the little box where the nest hid. It was empty. The mother huddled in a corner.

Before the hamsters were born, Carolyn prepared the nest as the book told her. She kept the cage fresh with the British woodchips. She left lots of water and food available at all times. She prepared the birthing box as the book constructed. She used a cardboard box with extra woodchips in and around it.

The mother birthed six babies lined up like six thumbs. Carolyn peeked at them one time. That’s how she knew there were six. When she looked again there were three in the box. The remaining three lay on the floor. They were dead. Carolyn read the manual and realized that that mother hamster ate three of her babies. The other three must have been horrified, tiny creatures that they were. They jumped to their deaths rather than be devoured by their own mother.

Carolyn saw a picture of a beached whale. Conservationists and environmentalists came and pulled the whale back into the ocean. But the darn thing dragged itself back to the shore. This whale was determined to commit suicide.

The dog chased butterflies. It had chased butterflies for years in a large backyard. The owners moved to a fifth floor condominium with a large terrace. The dog played on the terrace. It did not know it was five stories in the air. It still likes to chase butterflies. A chase one right off the edge and landed five floors below on the sidewalk. That dog never was too smart.

The cat liked to play in water. He played in the water bowl. He played in the shower. He nursed on water faucets. He liked playing the toilet. Then he discovered the aquarium. Carolyn came home to find her cat floating in the aquarium and all the fish on the floor having jumped to their deaths upon seeing the large creature intruding their habitat.

Carolyn woke to a bird singing. Normally this would be a good thing; But not in this case. The Robin was determined. It moved from one condo gas grill to another building her nest. Carolyn threw away all of twigs the first day but the bird was determined. Carolyn dismantled more than one nest but the bird returned each time. The cat was very interested in what was happening on the terrace. The mother bird was pretty smart in her choice of nest areas. The grill was covered so her young would be protected from weather . But Carolyn wanted to use her grill. She did not want to grill a robin the nest was elaborate. Then the bird procreated. Carolyn found three little blue eggs in the nest. She opened the grill and the birds flew out after her. She decided to leave the word alone for the two weeks that it would take for the birds to hatch. The Robinettes. She kept Off the terrace during the incubation period and she looked forward to the peeping of birdies. She went inside and slipped on the bodies of the aquarium fish, which lay close to the hamster bodies.

No hamsters were harmed in the writing of this story.

About the Work

Diane Hoover Bechtler

Diane Hoover Bechtler lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, Michael Gross who is a poet with a day job and with their cat, Call Me IshMeow. As well as writing short work, she is working on a novel about a likable character who strives against great odds to achieve a worthwhile goal. She has an undergraduate degree in English from Queens University where she graduated summa cum laude and subsequently earned her MFA. She has had short work published in journals such as The Gettysburg Review, Thema Literary Journal, Everyday Fiction, and The Dead Mule, School of Southern Literature.

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