“My hamster is dead,” Crystel tells me. I look at her. “Are you serious?” There are many times she is not and I can’t discern if this is one of those times. “Yes,” she says.
I’m still not convinced. “Are you sure?” I ask.
I walk into her room. Brownie has his eyes closed. He looks …at peace. But I also think that I smell the faint stink of something decomposing. I don’t want to touch him and feel his stiff body, though I know that will be forthcoming. It is my job to remove dead things. I get beckoned for spiders, June Bugs, a fly.
“How did he die?” I ask her. “I don’t know,” she says. She goes on to insist that he outlived the normal life span for a hamster. I’m not so sure about that. We travel back in our memory for how long we have had the hamster. I recall the tooth fairy bringing it to her. “Well, why did Antonio get one then?” “Because you got one,” I say.
I study the rodent. “Did someone choke it?” I imagine little fingers squeezing its neck. It would have been easy to do. I have refused to EVER touch the omnivore. It doesn’t seem normal to me having such an animal for a pet.
“No,” she insists. “He lived a normal life.”
“We will have to have a funeral soon,” I tell her. What I’m thinking is that we need to get this dead thing out of the house.
Crystel has the burial place already decided. “By my window,” she says. Jody isn’t so sure. In front of her bedroom window is a spirea and rocks for landscaping. But it isn’t like the hamster needs a large burial plot.
I reached into Brownie’s apartment with a Kleenex and wrapped him in it.
Crystel and I covered Brownie with dirt and rocks, called Jody over, and said a few words. Crystel found a nearby rock for a gravestone.
Antonio would need to learn about Brownie later. He was at a sleepover. Decomposition waits for no person.