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.
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.