Michael J. Fox Killed My Hamster

Submitted into Contest #241 in response to: Write about someone who is convinced they’re going to be betrayed. ... view prompt


Crime Horror Drama

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

Run, Caesar, run!

The little guy sure could get that wheel spinning.

My shrink says I have a pretty active imagination because I free associate a lot. See, when I let my mind drift I lose my focus. It doesn’t mean I’m stupid or anything, and it doesn’t mean I’m mental either. It’s like I float away somewhere and then all this confusing shit inside my head happens. He tells me I’m only imagining all these terrible things people are thinking about me but I’m not so sure.

I pretend to listen when my therapist talks but I don’t always because, like I told you, I sometimes wander. Besides, you can’t be too careful about who you trust. Wait! I mean whom you trust, object of the preposition ‘about.’ I learned that stuff in tenth grade, although I think teachers teach you this crap to keep your mind off sex. I used to think about getting laid all the time, especially whenever I saw Sandy Cutler at the 7-11 check-out. Watching out for prepositions can’t make you stop thinking dirty thoughts about a girl like Sandy.

Anyway, the point I was making is, most of the time you really can’t trust anyone. Look at what happened to Julius Caesar, after whom I named my hamster. (See? I didn’t end that sentence with a preposition, did I?) I used to spend hours studying Caesar (my hamster, not the emperor). He would run ‘round and ‘round on that squeaking wheel inside his cage, and I’d be thinking how we’re all so much like the little guy, the way we just run ourselves ragged on our own little wheels. It’s amazing what you can learn just watching a rodent, but it makes me sad to think how Caesar (again, my hamster) came to his end.

Run, Caesar, run!

Anyway, people never say what they mean, or mean what they say. I know that sounds like double talk but it makes sense when you think about it. You trust someone who lies or cheats, then you’re like Caesar running on that damned wheel, wasting a lot of energy but going nowhere. Or like that other Caesar (the emperor) trusting his pals and getting stabbed about a million times.

Take tonight when I went to the 7-11. I just wanted a newspaper, maybe a pack of gum because I gave up cigarettes and you can’t get cancer from a stick of Juicy Fruit. Of course you can get cavities, and a shitload of germs can spread through your system and then hit your brain, so maybe you could die of brain cancer if you chewed enough of the stuff, now that I think about it. I believe in playing it safe because there are a lot of things that will hurt you if you’re not careful, even a lousy stick of chewing gum. It’s more important than watching out for prepositions every minute, something only a fool would be concerned with. Of course you shouldn’t end a sentence with ‘with,’ which is the preposition I just ended my last sentence with. Damn, I did it again! You can’t go around being ungrammatical all the time or you’re liable to start thinking about sex. So maybe it isn’t so foolish after all, watching out for prepositions and chewing gum, I mean.

Anyway, I’m in the 7-11 and I’m pretty sure it’s Sandy’s shift tonight. I would feel good if she smiled in my direction the way she sometimes did. Sure enough she’s there, and she’s ringing up someone else’s purchases when I’m readying to hand her my fifty cents at the check-out. I’m kind of shy and wind up looking at her throat instead of her eyes.

Her neck is very white and so delicate, and I decide against buying the gum with the newspaper because a guy can’t be too careful. I make sure I have the exact change for Sandy because I don’t want to put her to any unnecessary trouble having to fumble through the cash register for a couple of stupid quarters. You can never tell when crooks are just waiting for someone to keep their cash register open an extra few seconds so they can shoot everybody in the store because killing someone is so easy to do just because I didn’t have the correct change for a paper. Like I told you, you can’t be too careful. It isn’t like I’m afraid to step on the sidewalk cracks or anything crazy like that. Hell, I couldn’t care less about the cracks in the sidewalk. I never even think about them, and sometimes I purposely step right on top of them. Step on a crack, break your mother’s back, right? Well, my mother’s back is just fine, thank you.

Oh, I know what people say about guys who get fixated on their mothers, but I’m not one of those. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with loving your mother and it’s not like I don’t think about having sex with guys sometimes although my mother has nothing to do with my thinking about that stuff and I would never actually do it. It’s Sandy I’m interested in, like I told you, even if she never noticed me unless I was in line with money to spend.

Well, I’m a customer and I’m thinking she can’t ignore me because the customer is always right and she has to worry about keeping her job selling Big Gulps, so she’s supposed to be nice although I would rather she was pleasant because she wanted to be and not because she had to be. I hate when people act nice just because they have to.

So anyway, I’m thinking tonight how I ought to give Sandy the right change and that she’ll smile at me if I smile first at her, and maybe this time she might figure out that I came in just to see her. But she was joking with this other guy standing in front of me, and he was taking his sweet time talking to her like maybe he was thinking about asking her out and Sandy, she seemed to like it. Then just before it came my turn in line she took her break. Didn’t say a word, just walked off when the other girl told her to take a few minutes. I have to admit I didn’t feel too good about that.

All right, maybe Sandy didn’t think she had to be nice to me. Maybe she needed that smoking break like I’ve seen her take a million times behind the 7-11. But she could have noticed that I’d been standing there waiting just for her to smile. She saw me standing there and could have decided right then not to take her goddamned break.

[I knew you were smoking alone in the dark near the back parking lot, Sandy. You go maybe four or five times a night to the loading zone just to satisfy your urge, don’t you? Didn’t your mother teach you how bad cigarettes are for you? If you were my girl I wouldn’t ever let you smoke.]

She wouldn’t have listened anyway. Why would she trust my opinion? I was only another shopper waiting in line, no different than some shriveled prune buying a carton of skim milk. So why did I waste my time thinking about her when there are so many other important things to think about - no, I mean about which to think - like keeping yourself healthy and clean because it’s so easy to come down with something, you know?

I have this long file I always carry in my pocket to make sure my nails are clean because no one likes a guy with dirty nails. I know it sounds really queer but the file folds out like a pocket knife and I was cleaning my nails when I walked outside and decided to take a stroll behind the store. See, I figured Sandy would notice me if I stood right in front of her when it was just the two of us there. Maybe I’d even get a smile out of her.

She noticed me, all right, but she kept right on smoking and never said a word, just looked at me then looked away.

Her throat was so white, her neck so delicate.

See these nails, Officer? Clean, right? And I made sure I carried the correct change just for her. I smiled until my face felt like it was going to crack. All for nothing.

I was the guy she should be with.

[Damn it! Ended that with another preposition!]

Things can hurt you if you’re not careful, and your mother isn’t always around to keep that from happening.

There’s nothing wrong with loving your mother, is there?

[No one loves a little boy with dirty thoughts or dirty nails.]

I’m a customer, and a real man doesn’t give a crap about the cracks in the sidewalk if he steps right on them, and clean nails are important, they really are.

Her neck. So white. So delicate.

So very easy to do.

I keep it sharp. My nail file, I mean. Really sharp.

[Our own little wheels.]

Anyway, I was telling you about what happened to my hamster ...


March 08, 2024 18:35

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Alexis Araneta
13:30 Mar 17, 2024

Such an interesting take on the prompt, Kenneth. I love all the intrusive thoughts the narrator has in telling the story. Now, I'm curious with what happens next. Lovely job.


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Trudy Jas
02:05 Mar 16, 2024

LOL can't wait to read the rest of what's in your mind. Like wat happen to Ceasar (the hamster). Fun story.


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