Shortly before Christmas I became friends with the new girl who moved in across the street named Darcy. She was a cool, confident, and athletic girl. She fit in well with the boys and girls. We always imagined that she had come from some place much cooler since she always had whatever the it thing was before it even became it. Darcy was cool and for her birthday she got a bunch of friendship bracelets and a hamster. I was nearing the age where I could actually be allowed to have a pet so I commenced begging for Santa to bring me a hamster. They are small and a lot easier to take care of than a pony... And I would take care of it.... and I wanted it so badly.
On Christmas morning I opened my presents to the sounds of Christmas music playing on the radio and was quite happy with the Stompers, Matchbox racers and other toys I had gotten. I was a little sad Santa didn’t think I was old enough to have a hamster, but I wasn’t too surprised. It seemed like a far fetched dream anyway. But then my dad told me I had missed one of my presents and I should check in another room and there was a Habitrail cage running on his little wheel. I named him roadrunner but when I found out he was actually a girl I changed the name to Runnet!
I was so excited to have a pet of my own, I instantly wanted to show my ability to take care of my new found responsibility so I topped off the hamsters already full water and opened a box of food to feed my new friend. Runnet didn’t go after the food right away, she was content to run on her wheel, so I took her out to hold her and play with her for a little while. When I put her back in she decided to check out her food... And to my horror some of her food was moving! I screamed for my mom, who upon seeing and recognizing the movement screamed much louder for my father, “JERRRRRRYYY!” there were a few maggots climbing on the edge of the food dish, we couldn’t figure out how they had gotten to the food so quickly. My dad grabbed the dish, dumped the contents somewhere and returned the dish to me to refill.
As I went back to the box of food I had opened I stopped in my tracks and just stared for a moment. When finally I thought to call my voice must have echoed the amazement I felt “Daaad.” As my dad wandered up behind me he let out some choice words. I just continued to stare at the cardboard box of food, and the hundred or so maggots crawling out the perforated hole and down the side of a box like a white waterfall. I was entranced, my dad picked up the box, and rushed over to the fireplace and threw the box onto a blazing log. The maggots continued to climb out the hole. Every now and then one would sizzle and make a disturbing sound. My brother and I sat by the fire as a new song came on the radio, it didn’t’ take long for my brother and I to get into the spirit of Christmas. Just a few changes to the words of the classic song and we were living a Christmas song. “Maggots roasting on an open fire, hampsters nipping at your toes!”