as all good stories start, this one begins with the words:
"Why Tam shouldn't be allowed to go into a pet store when she's stressed..."
so you know, or don't, that I have a bit of a hamster addiction. It's not bad, I swear! I only huff them on V
ays and despite my Evil Sister's TM
best attempts, I do NOT take every single one I find home with me. However, as the aforementioned moral of this sordid tale is - yeah, I went into the pet store the other day to buy hamster food and came out with -
that's right. I couldn't resist the black hole like draw of another black bear hamster.
His name is Ralf.
For those of you that know me well, or have heard the conversation before - yeah... yeah, that's a his
on the front of his name. I, who have always bought only girls - brought home a boy. Brought home a boy hamster into a household of female hamsters. And - before you ask - eyeah, there's really no way you can mistakenly
bring home a boy. I'm just going to say 'pink beanbags' and leave it at that.
So I've got Ralf home and he's living next to my other black bear hamster, Booth, aka Bunta-kun, in a little travel cage while I wait for my Living World SpaceStation to come in the mail. He has no concept of personal space but is also too young to know what to do with the girls when they 'assume the position'. Strangely he's only gotten his little butt kicked once considering these flaws and my girls notoriously short tempers with nonsense. Eventually he'll move in with Booth but for now I let them all play together under close supervision and while Beatrice, aka Sweet Feet, is enamored with him, Bonzai, aka Little Red, could care less. Booth ignores him - which, according to all my anime experience is the perfect set up for a long, devoted relationship later on once he's older.
Anyway, what I'd forgotten - 'cause it's been a while since Bubbles was alive and my current flurry of girls couldn't care less - is that hamsters are escape artists extraordinaire. So two nights ago when I got home and opened my bedroom door with my usual 'hey babies' I noticed - 'hn. Ralf's cage is a clear block of plastic - and I don't see him in it.' The little blighter, while I was at work dealing with obnoxious kids and drunk men wanting me to call the police for them because their wife bit them, had added 'Rotten' to the front of his name, climbed up his water bottle, pushed it an inch to the side against the plastic roof of his house - and made a break for it.
Nicely, because of the previously mentioned Bubbles, I'm in the habit of leaving the door to whatever room they're staying in closed so I know he's somewhere in my bedroom. I start hunting through the closet - a favorite hammie watering hole and general den of iniquity - calling his name which comes out something like 'Ralfffiss. Raaaaalf. Rotten Ralf!' - when I hear the distinct patter of tiny hammie feet. On my bed spread. Considering his much shorter height than the girls and the fact his upper body strength isn't as developed as theirs - I'm not quite sure how he got up there - but there he is, cheerfully darting out from under the pillows into the middle of the bedspread and jolting up on his little back legs to greet me.
He shouldn't even recognize his name yet. Much less come when I call. Maybe he missed me. Or maybe he really is that smart. No matter what the reason, you can bet when the cage came in the mail the next day I let myself be a bit late for work just so I could put it together and move him into it.