December 3rd, 7pm. I stood outside the door, jiggling my foot as I waited for my knock to be answered. It’s the kind of moment any babysitter knows well. Luckily for me, I was not fidgeting from nervousness, but from the desire to keep my foot from freezing.
I was not kept waiting long. About ten seconds after my knock, I heard the sound of a small body slamming into the door. I guessed whether it would be Ben or Jon. I had a 50/50 chance of getting it right. It was Ben who answered. However, instead of being greeted with the twins’ customary grins and shouts, they seemed a little down. Something was definitely amiss.
It didn’t take long to learn what had happened.
“Hermes is missing,” they cried, as soon as I stepped inside.
My heart skipped a beat for them. Hermes the hamster, a recent addition to their family, had quickly become a fixture in their house. Having never had a pet, I can’t say I knew how they felt, but I knew I’d be upset if I was their age (nine) and my pet had gone missing. I also thought that I would hate to be a hamster lost in their house.
I began formulating a plan. With the help of the twins, I set up a small, humane trap that was foolproof when catching mice in the summer at the cottage. However, the excitement did not begin until after the boys went to bed.
At around 10:30, I began hearing rustling and quiet clanging noises in the basement. I am slightly put off by basements in general, and this one was no exception. However, I decided that it was better to get over myself and find the fluffy fellow before the twins found that Hermes the hamster wasn’t quite as immortal as his godly namesake.
So with cage in hand, I descended into Hades- I mean the basement. I padded down the stairs and decided to start in the laundry room. I poked around for a bit, looking in corners and nooks. After that, I did a quick scan of the rest of the basement. Finding nothing, and hearing no more noises, I decided to return to the laundry area. This was a good decision on my part, because after a bit more searching, I caught sight of my quarry. He was huddled next to a toolbox, staring intently at me.
I made soft cooing noises and inched towards him. In a flash though, he vanished like the wind. Determined now, I waited a bit for him to settle before resuming my search. After tripping over boxes and slipping on bags I hadn’t noticed, I relocated Hermes. Boldly, I stepped forward and then crouched in front of him. I quickly reached out and picked him up. Hermes went from being a docile, ain’t-he-so-cay-oote fuzzball to deadly furry claws in less than a second. A wild struggle ensued. I tried to hold onto his squirming body while he did his best to wriggle away. Eventually I managed to wrestle him back into his cage and slam the door shut before bringing him upstairs again.
Once on the main floor, I relaxed. I had rescued the hamster-in-distress and had left a surprise for the twins when they woke up in the morning.