Outline: How Not to Secretly Replace Your Children's Pets

A moral of transparency

THIS IS A TRUE STORY. The events depicted in this story took place in New Jersey in 2011. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.


Jane has hamster. Bijou Ham Ham.

Family Goes on 10 day vacation.

Neighborhood kid is watching all pets.

Cage is left open. Bijou escapes.

Parents are called. Neighborhood kid has tried everything.

Parents freak out.

Remote problem solving begins.


Neighbor #2 recruited for black opts - replacement of hamster

Photo of Bijou is sent to neighbor for color matching.

Neighbor #2 is unusually excited about this assignment.

Actual code names are adopted.

Hamster is purchased. 70% color match. Gender unclear.

Family Returns from vacation.

Jane is reunited with hamster and is instantly suspicious.

Explained to Jane that sometime hamsters go through a transformation, 
not unlike the extended “hibernation” other family hamsters have endured [side eye]

Weeks pass. Suspicions subside.

All is well.

[time passes]


Suddenly, free-roaming hamster spotted in kitchen by Dad!


Kids don’t know. Can’t know. We’ll be found out!

More weeks pass as Dad attempts each night to capture Bijou.

Elaborate traps are researched and constructed.

Failure after failure.

Hope is lost.

Bijou again feared dead…

[time passes]


Watching TV with kids. Bijou runs across the living room.

Kids lose their shit.

Bijou is captured by the team.

Questions begin.

Dad explains that this must be one of those “wild hamsters”.

The youngest, James, asks is he could keep it.

Jane is enthusiastic.

Middle child, Robert, is pissed. This is not his story.

Dad reluctantly agrees.

Bijou’s owner, Jane, now has Impostor Bijou (aka “Juice Box”). 
James has Bijou.
Bijou is like, “wtf”.

[time passes]


Dad is uneasy with Bijou not being reunited with his rightful owner.

There is one last mission.

A switcheroo.

One night, once the kids are asleep, Dad switches the two hamsters.

Bijou is finally home.

The next day, questions ensue again.

Dad explains that the hamsters must have metamorphosed again.

Kids are dazzled by explanation.

Kids enjoy hamsters.

[times passes]


Both hamsters live unusually long lives.

Juice Box dies without fanfare.

Bijou shuffles off with dramatic flair, literally dying in Dad’s hand.

Bijou is buried in holiday fudge box in backyard.

Bijou later exhumed and relocated as basset hound kept trying to dig him up.

Bijou’s tiny ghost haunts Dad to this day.

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