The Shirley Letters

Letter #1

Dear Reader,

I guess I should begin my blog by telling you a little about myself. My name, E-kww-sqqqq, means She-Who-Must-Find-Out, and I am quite good-looking. I inherited my mother's dark, expressive eyes and have no idea of what I might have inherited from my father since my mother never got a clear look at him. My hair is tawny with white patches, and my figure quite elegant. Modesty must give way to truth, so I will add that my curiosity and reasoning ability have made me an Exceptionally Intelligent Hamster.

Until four days ago, the Pet Shop was all I knew of the world. Dozing in the wood chips, I gave little thought to my own future even though I saw older Hamsters, including my mother, Taken Away. If I thought about it, I supposed that someday I would be returned to the great, dim run of the Pet Shop where I had been born. However, before she disappeared, my mother told me of a legend handed down through many generations. Long ago a Hamster, named Old Finger-biter by the Big Hairless Ones (BHOs, for short), returned from being Taken Away. He'd claimed to have been carried to a place much like our own, except that he'd had it all to himself. Some other Hamsters believed this story, but I thought it was only wishful thinking. I myself had reached the age at which I'd begun longing to think my own thoughts in solitude and eat dinner without someone's foot in my face, but I had resigned myself to a crowded, noisy life - a very public life, I might add, that included frequently being stared at by BHOs who flattened their noses on the invisible walls of my home.

Then, on that fateful afternoon, I was roughly wakened from my nap and hoisted in the air, kicking mightily, by one of the BHOs who lives in the Pet Shop. I executed a beautiful aerial twist-and-wiggle, leapt from his paw, and would have escaped entirely had I not landed on a box. I was captured and handed over to an unfamiliar BHO. Little did I imagine the part he and his companion would play in my fate! If I could have foreseen the future, I might have tried harder to bite him.

"She's certainly a lively little girl."

"But she's got such an ugly tail. The dwarfs had such cute little rumps."

She was lucky that I couldn't get at her. I have a perfectly normal tail and I am far superior in looks - and intellect - to a dwarf. I wanted nothing more to do with these barbarians; unfortunately, I could not squirm free.

Before I fully took in what was happening, I was in a dark box with a vibrating floor, hearing a persistent loud rumble. I had something soft to lie on, as well as food and water...but if this was to be my future, I wanted no part of it. I scrabbled at the walls but was unable to climb them, so I set to work to dig and chew my way out. I was making real headway when everything became still. I heard the voices of the BHOs and could feel my box lifted and then jolted so that I slipped and skidded inside. Then light flooded in and a big paw picked me up and set me down in a place where I'd never been.

I dared not stop to look at my new surroundings, for the BHOs were looming over me. I darted to a darkened corner and stayed there until They left. Much later, I crept out and explored. If this is to be my permanent home, it might be a pleasant place to live, as it is much larger than my Pet Shop quarters and I do seem to have it all to myself. An invisible wall, like the one at the Pet Shop, protects me from Them. I found that I could wiggle through a tube into a tower that gives me a fine view of my vast domain.

If it weren't for the BHOs staring or grabbing at me, I believe I could be happy here. I am not entirely convinced that their stares are harmless. Mother always said, "Assume that anything larger than you wants to eat you - until you know for sure it doesn't."

Currently I make a prudent descent into the tube when I hear Them coming. Note to myself: Find out what the BHOs mean by "a furry overripe banana" and how that applies to me.

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