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A Plot Twist

lolcat hamster 1

OKAY! today I am constructing a plot twist, and I just remembered this. All my childhood hamsters were named after female hymn writers. In church, if the sermon was dull, I would flip through the hymnal hunting more hamster names. When I found a good one, like, say, Magnolia Lewis-Butts—who wrote Let It Breathe on Me (LET IT BREATHE)— I would agitate for a hamster to pin it on.

My favorite hamster ever was named Fanny J. Crosby. The real Fanny J Crosby was famous for writing 8,000+ hymns, including Blessed Assurance. MY Fanny J Crosby was famous for biting the living crap out of me.

I had a clear plastic hamster ball and I used to let Fanny roll maniacally around the house in it. Our big ol’ much adored Poodle, Louise, and our little teeny incontinent stressed out nippy crap-tastic butthead poodle, Musette, would go nuts, chasing her.

Once she escaped, thought lost forever, but when winter came, our cat Delilah went and stood by a heating vent and began a desperate yowling. We unscrewed the cover and there was Fanny. She had made herself a little nest there right behind it. The heating vent had been blowing the delicious scent of gently warmed hamster all over the cat’s face.

I picked up Fanny, delighted to have her back, and she predictably bit the crap out of me.

Then one day, I came into the room, and the hamster castle was in pieces, and Fanny was dead. Super, Super, Super dead. So dead she was CLAMMY. She was past clammy, actually. She was downright WET.

But she had no visible injuries. It was as if she had drowned in dry air. It was like the mystery where the guy is dead and the answer is AN ICE KNIFE.

lolcat hamster 2 I blamed the cat, even though Fanny was un-rended and no parts of her appeared to have been eaten. The cat had had it IN for Fanny ever since she’d gotten a sample of what Fanny might smell like if she was being very, very gently cooked. I was quite bitter toward poor Delilah for a long time.

It was several years and several hamsters later that we discovered the true culprit.

I came in and found the hamster castle wrecked again, and there was our best dog! The excellent Louise! He had rooted out Sarah Flower Adams—the furry namesake of the radical Unitarian lady who penned Nearer my God to Thee—-and he was SUCKING on her. He was rolling her pleasurably around in his mouth as if she were a lozenge.

I fished her out, soggy but alive.

The murderer is never who you think it is. The murderer is never who *I* think it is, either.

11 comments to A Plot Twist

  • Bwahahaha! I love this, and I so want to steal it and have a character name all her hamsters for female hymn writers. If only you weren’t also a writer who might choose to use your own experience. Gah. I read a book recently where a family named all its pets for condiments.

    Why don’t I think of these things?

  • That poor, poor cat, never getting to enjoy the hamster sous vide. That’s just cruel.

  • Wendy Barker Paull

    All your pets had girl names? Even the male ones? Interesting.

  • Brigitte

    I’ve had the occasional post-drinks morning where my mouth tastes like I’ve had a few hamster lozenges . . .

  • Jessica (the celt)

    Well..at least he didn’t go ahead and eat her, so you were able to lay her to rest in peace…I suppose. But I really like how you thought as a child, and you can’t deny that that story is pretty darn amazing — even if the beloved dog did it in the office with drool. (Yeah, the weapon is always what you least expect, too. Unless it’s a Gila Monster, you never suspect drool.)

  • liz

    We must discuss this some time.

  • 1.YOU ARE ALIVE YAY!!!!!

    2. We would never have been friends as children, because I would have fussed at you over the hamster names. As an adult, I think that is hilarious! Seriously funny.

    3. I am getting the strong feeling that your last sentence was inspired by that VERY BAD pony that was GO back in the summer. HOW LONG do we wait for Nobody’s Nothing?

  • Sarah Flower Adams … needed to know that. Thank you for that hymnal lesson. And for the visual/tactile whatever it feels like to suck on a hamster. Yeeck.

  • Cindy

    Hilarious! I like to name my pets after cartoons. Tweety. You’ve already guessed, that was my singing yellow canary. My budgie’s name is Guizmo. (Those furry little creatures that turned evil). We had to put Guizmo up for adoption, though, because Diego’s (Ice Age) diabolical schemes were becoming more and more elaborate.

  • Jill

    So glad that you are well. Was worried when your Birmingham gig was rescheduled.
    My pets are all literary names:
    Scout Finch and Boo Radley (called Scout and Radley)
    Trumpkin Lewis (dwarf in Narnia by C.S.)
    All cats by the way.
    Take care, Joshilyn!

  • Leslie

    I think this is my very favorite post ever of yours! I LOVE, LOVE that you named your hamsters after hymn writers. I used to change the words to hymns before I could read and when I couldn’t understand what the congregation was singing. I distinctly remember singing the chorus of Blessed Assurance (at the top of my little child’s voice): “This is my story, this is my song. Barnaby Jones has gone to Hong Kong.”