The guys belong to Universal and Mark VII productions. I only take them out, play with them and return them relatively unscathed. No money is made off of this. Just look at my bank account if you don’t believe me.
Extra special thanks to Jill Hargan for the beta read. You are a great friend!
This is based on a story a friend sent me over the Internet. God bless the Internet. Anyway, since Johnny’s heart is always in the right place, even though his brain frequently isn’t, Johnny usually ends up doing something rather misguided (see stupid). Then I thought, what if something misguided (see stupid) actually happened to Roy? Thus, the idea was born. In an attempt to keep with the wit and wisdom of the original story, in some places I have merely interjected the names of the E! characters. Also, please keep in mind that I am an Obstetrical Nurse – Labor and Delivery is all in a day’s work for me! The original story is at the end of this piece. Enjoy! ~~~ JB
A Birthing Story
Jackie Beechner, RN
The sun was still hovering over the horizon on that late May evening when Joanne DeSoto sent her two children, 9 year old Christopher, and 7 year old Jennifer, away from the supper table and off to finish their homework or chores before the bedtime rituals. From sheer force of habit drilled into his psyche after three years in the Army and five years in the fire service, Joanne’s husband Roy stood up and began helping her clear away the supper dishes.
Roy and Joanne learned to look forward to this time of day, because they could be somewhat alone to talk about their day. However, tonight, Roy got an earful about how Chris’ new pet hamsters were getting on Joanne’s nerves because Chris wanted to slack off his share of the responsibility of caring for them.
“I’ll never understand why you let him have them!” she exclaimed as she began filling the sink with water. “They’re nothing more than mice without the long tails!”
“Yeah, but they’re better than a dog that sheds all over everything,” Roy reasoned. “At least they’re kept prisoner in a cage and you don’t have to see them.”
“Oh, yes I do. I’m the one that goes in there to get his dirty laundry and put the clean away, remember?” Joanne asked.
“Sorry, dear. I never forget how much you put in and do for this family.” Roy paused to see if his words would score any points. “I know you still have to go in there.”
“And the noise! That wheel squeaking all night long! Squeak. . . Squeak. . . Squeak. . . Can’t you squirt some oil on it?”
“Well, that might make the hamsters sick. Besides,” Roy walked up behind his wife, slid his hands around her waist and pulled her close to him. Kissing the back of her neck, he murmured, “We probably could drown it out with the springs. . .”
“Roy DeSoto! You have been hanging around your single, sex-crazed partner far too long!” Joanne sputtered, whirling to face her husband, ignoring the soap suds and water dripping off her hands and down their fronts. There was a pretty blush on her cheeks and a devilish twinkle in her eye as she reached for Roy, wanting to see how far he would go with the children still awake and available for interrupting.
Before either one of them could say or do anything more, Christopher was running back down the stairs. “Dad! DAD! Something’s wrong with one of the hamsters!” he cried, dashing into the kitchen.
“Whoa, son, what’s wrong?” Roy asked.
“It’s Ernie, Dad. He’s just lying there, looking sick.” Chris paused. “I’m serious, Dad! Can you help?”
Roy frowned. He believed his son, but his knowledge of animal medicine was extremely limited. Five years of paramedic duty did not prepare him for the intricacies of hamster health. Roy turned to his wife. She looked at him expectantly, as if she, too, believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that Roy would be able to expertly and competently diagnose and treat Ernie. Roy looked back down into his son’s face. He saw the faith, the complete and utter trust that his son had in him to skillfully pull the rodent through this crisis. And Roy knew, in his heart of hearts, that he could not, no, he would not let his son down.
Roy put on his best paramedic face. Not paramedic, he thought to himself. Paramedics are for people. Hamster healer. That’s what I am. A Hamster Healer. “Let’s go, son,” he said, leading Chris back upstairs to his room.
A quick look in the cage confirmed Chris’ story. One of the little rodents was indeed lying on his back, looking stressed. Well, as stressed as a hamster could possibly look, given the circumstances and admitted limitations of the Hamster Healer. After a moment’s scrutiny, Roy knew exactly what to do. “Jo! Honey! Come look at the hamster!”
He heard Joanne running up the stairs, then come down the hall. She walked into the room, and also peered into the cage. After a minute of peering, Joanne offered up her own assessment of the situation. “Oh, my gosh! She’s having babies!”
“What?!” Chris demanded. “But their names’re Bert and Ernie, Mom!”
Roy was just as outraged. He remembered specifically telling the pet store owner that they wanted no part of the hamster breeding mill, and demanded two males and two males only. Joanne, however, had seemed taken in by a cute little female at the time. Did they really get two males? Or did Joanne sneak in the female for herself? Hell, he had seen so many rodents that day that he couldn’t have been absolutely certain one way or the other. “Hey, how can that be? I thought we said we did NOT want them to reproduce!” he accused Joanne.
Joanne immediately bristled at the tone in Roy’s voice. “Well, what do you want me to do, post a sign in their cage?” she asked with a malevolent smirk.
Roy blinked. He had never heard her take that tone of voice with him before. Then, he remembered his son. The one he hadn’t yet had “The Talk” with. The same one standing between the two of them with wide eyes, wondering what they were talking about. In his most calm, loving, sweet voice, while grinding his teeth together, he replied, “No, but we were supposed to get two boys!”
“Yeah, Bert and Ernie!” Chris interjected.
“Well, it’s just a little hard to tell on some guys, you know,” Joanne sweetly replied, while patting Roy’s arm condescendingly. Roy could plainly hear the sarcasm dripping from her voice.
Before he could reply, he heard Jennifer’s voice from the bedroom door. “What’s going on?” she asked, peering in the cage.
Roy decided to save himself in his family’s eyes and esteem. He shrugged, deciding to make the best of it. “Kids, this is going to be a wondrous experience,” he announced. “We’re about to witness the miracle of birth.”
“Eeewwww! Gross!” they shrieked.
“Well, isn’t THIS just great! What’re we going to do with a litter of tiny little hamster babies?” Joanne demanded.
Roy just looked at this woman standing beside him as if she had suddenly sprouted two heads. For the life of him, he could not understand where the anti-hamster sentiment was coming from, especially since she was the one who convinced Roy the hamsters were a good idea in the first place!
Roy turned his attention back to the small creature that was carrying on that age-old struggle to bring forth life into the world. After about five minutes, Roy noticed what looked like a tiny foot that would appear briefly, and then vanish a second later. “We don’t appear to be making much progress,” he murmured mostly to himself, but loud enough that Joanne would hear.
“It’s breech!” Joanne whispered, horrified.
“Do something, Dad!” Chris said urgently.
Roy gulped audibly. Every day he spent on duty he faced fires, cliff sides, water rescues, mangled bodies, human babies, but this – this was way out of his league. But he was the Hamster Healer. He had to help this poor creature in its hour of need. Trying not to be too squeamish, he reached in, waited for the right moment, and when the foot next appeared, grasped it and gently tugged. To his dismay, it disappeared. He patiently tried several more times, always with the same results.
“Maybe we should call 911,” Jennifer piped up. “Maybe they could talk you through this, Dad.”
Roy gaped at his daughter silently. He couldn’t believe how much like her mother she was becoming, and so quickly, too! Suddenly, he knew he had to give over command of this rescue to someone who really did know what they were doing. “Chris, grab the cage. Let’s get Ernie to the vet,” he said grimly.
Chris didn’t need to be told a second time. Snatching the cage off the table, he and Jennifer raced down the stairs and out to the car. Joanne and Roy followed along at a more controlled pace. Getting into the family station wagon, Roy started the engine and pulled the car onto the street. Chris was setting in the back seat holding the cage in his lap.
“Breathe, Ernie, breathe,” he urged, remembering what they had said on the television program he had seen earlier that week.
“I don’t think hamsters do Lamaze,” Joanne said wryly from the front seat.
Roy glanced at her in amazement. He could not believe how cruel women could be to their young. What she said and did to him was one thing, but Chris was of her own womb, for God’s sake!
Roy pulled the car into the parking lot at the vet’s office, and they all quickly exited the vehicle and ran inside. Dr. Callahan had been the DeSoto’s vet for many years, going back to when Roy and Joanne were children themselves, and he had gotten the family through many previous pet crises. Roy explained what had been happening and what he had tried to do to remedy the situation as the vet led them to one of the examining rooms. Pulling a magnifying glass from a drawer, he proceeded to look at Ernie closely through the instrument.
Roy liked the old, grey-haired, soft-spoken doctor. He almost thought at times that Joe Early must lead a second life that no one knew about, a second life as a veterinarian. This time, however, Roy was impatient, especially with the prolonged silence. “What do ya think, Doc, a c-section?” he asked, rather scientifically, he thought.
“Oh, very interesting,” Dr. Callahan murmured. “Mr. and Mrs. DeSoto, may I speak to you privately for a moment?”
Roy gulped. This could not be good. He had done the poor defenseless animal more harm than good by trying to help. Ernie could be maimed or seriously injured by his uneducated attempts at animal medicine. He slowly nodded, and turned to Chris. “Go wait in the waiting room with your sister,” he said quietly.
Chris complied. When the door closed behind him, Joanne and Roy turned to the vet. “Is Ernie going to be okay?” Joanne asked.
“Oh, perfectly,” Dr. Callahan replied. “This hamster is not in labor. In fact, that isn’t EVER going to happen. . .” Dr. Callahan appeared to be at a momentary loss for words. Then, he visibly pulled himself together. “Ernie is a boy.”
Roy and Joanne looked at each other, stunned. “What?”
“You see, Ernie’s a young male. And occasionally, as they come into maturity, like the males of most species, they um. . . um. . . masturbate.” Dr. Callahan turned deep red. “Just the way he did, lying on his back.” Dr. Callahan risked a glance to Joanne. “Well, you know what I’m saying, Mr. DeSoto.”
Roy and Joanne were silent, absorbing what the vet had said. “So Ernie’s just. . . just. . . excited,” Joanne said, as if wanting to clarify what the veterinarian had said.
Dr. Callahan heaved a relieved sigh. “Exactly!”
There was more silence in the room, then, softly, gradually, the inexplicable happened. Roy DeSoto’s wife, his childhood sweetheart, his lifelong soul mate, his friend, lover, and mother of his children, who this evening had become vicious and cruel, began to giggle. And giggle. And then laugh loudly.
“What’s so funny?!” Roy demanded, knowing, but not believing, that the woman he had married would commit the upcoming affront to his previously flawless manliness.
Tears were now running down her face. “It’s just that. . . that. . . I’m picturing you pulling on its. . . its. . . teeny little. . .” At that point she gasped for more air to bellow in laughter once more.
“I love you, too,” Roy muttered under his breath as he gathered up the cage and thanked Dr. Callahan. Hurriedly he bundled the kids and the hamsters back into the car.
Still blissfully unaware of the true nature of Ernie’s illness, Chris said as Roy was driving, “I’m glad everything’s going to be okay. I know Ernie’s really thankful for what you’ve done, Dad.”
Roy knew his son’s sentiment was that of any grateful family member when he and Johnny would have rendered aid. But for some reason this evening, his wife’s sudden turn of nature would not let the innocent statement die.
“Oh, Chris you have NO idea,” she said and collapsed once again into laughter.
Later that night, as Joanne and Roy were lying in bed, Joanne once again began giggling. “I cannot wait to tell Johnny about this,” she said between fits of giggles.
“Tell him and you’re a dead woman,” Roy replied good naturedly.
“But you don’t get it,” Joanne responded. “We spend $10 on two hamsters, $20 on one cage, and $30 tonight at the vet’s. But the pictures of my husband, a highly educated and dedicated member of the medical community pulling on the hamster’s whacker? Those are priceless!”
With that thought, Roy had no choice but to join in her giggles.
It was at that moment that they heard the wheel in the hamster cage start to squeak.
Okay, now for the original story that gave me this idea . . .
Just after dinner one night, my son came up to tell me there was "something wrong" with one of the two hamsters he holds prisoner in his room. "He's just lying there looking sick," he told me. "I'm serious, Dad. Can you help?"
I put my best hamster-healer expression on my face and followed him into his bedroom. One of the little rodents was indeed lying on his back, looking stressed. I immediately knew what to do. "Honey," I called, "come look at the hamster!"
"Oh my gosh," my wife diagnosed after a minute. "She's having babies."
"What?" my son demanded. "But their names are Bert and Ernie, Mom!"
I was equally outraged. "Hey, how can that be? I thought we said we didn't want them to reproduce," I accused my wife.
"Well, what do you want me to do, post a sign in their cage?" she inquired. (I actually think she said this sarcastically!)
"No, but you were supposed to get two boys!" I reminded her, in my most loving, calm, sweet voice, while gritting my teeth together.
"Yeah, Bert and Ernie!" my son agreed.
"Well, it's just a little hard to tell on some guys, you know," she informed me. (Again with the sarcasm, you think?) By now the rest of the family had gathered to see what was going on. I shrugged, deciding to make the best of it.
"Kids, this is going to be a wondrous experience," I announced. "We're about to witness the miracle of birth."
"OH, gross!” they shrieked.
"Well, isn't THAT just great! What are we going to do with a litter of tiny little hamster babies?" my wife wanted to know. (I really do think she was being snotty here, too, don't you?) We peered at the patient. After much struggling, what looked like a tiny foot would appear briefly, vanishing a scant second later. "We don't appear to be making much progress," I noted.
"It's breech," my wife whispered, horrified.
"Do something, Dad!" my son urged.
"Okay, okay." Squeamishly, I reached in and grabbed the foot when it next appeared, giving it a gingerly tug. It disappeared. I tried several more times with the same results.
"Should I call 911?" my eldest daughter wanted to know. "Maybe they could talk us through the trauma." (You see a pattern here with the females in my house?)
"Let's get Ernie to the vet," I said grimly. We drove to the vet with my son holding the cage in his lap.
"Breathe, Ernie, breathe," he urged.
"I don't think hamsters do Lamaze," his mother noted to him. (Women can be so cruel to their own young. I mean what she does to me is one thing, but this boy is of her womb, for God's sake!)
The vet took Ernie back to the examining room and peered at the little animal through a magnifying glass. "What do you think, Doc, a c-section?" I suggested scientifically.
"Oh, very interesting," he murmured. "Mr. and Mrs. Cameron, may I speak to you privately for a moment?" I gulped, nodding for my son to step outside.
"Is Ernie going to be okay?" my wife asked.
"Oh, perfectly," the vet assured us. "This hamster is not in labor. In fact, that isn't EVER going to happen. . . Ernie is a boy."
"You see, Ernie is a young male. And occasionally, as they come into maturity, like most male species, they um . . .um. . .masturbate. Just the way he did, lying on his back." He blushed, glancing at my wife. "Well, you know what I'm saying, Mr. Cameron."
We were silent, absorbing this. "So Ernie's just. . .just. . . excited," my wife offered.
"Exactly," the vet replied, relieved that we understood. More silence. Then my vicious, cruel wife started to giggle. And giggle. And then even laugh loudly.
"What's so funny?" I demanded, knowing, but not believing that the woman I married would commit the upcoming affront to my flawless manliness.
Tears were now running down her face. "It's just...that...I'm picturing you pulling on its. . . its. . . teeny little. . . " She gasped for more air to bellow in laughter once more.
"That's enough," I warned. We thanked the veterinarian and hurriedly bundled the hamsters and our son back into the car. He was glad everything was going to be okay.
"I know Ernie's really thankful for what you've done, Dad," he told me.
"Oh, you have NO idea," my wife agreed, collapsing with laughter.
2 Hamsters - 10 bucks. . .
1 Cage - 20 bucks. . .
Trip to the Vet - 30 bucks. . .
Pictures of your hubby pulling on the hamster's whacker........Priceless!
*Click on the hamster to send Jackie feedback