All hamsters are from Syria, because they all came out of this one litter of Golden Hamsters that archaeologist Aaron Abrahams dug up out of the ground in 1930, (they write that he discovered them, where they already lived were hunted and hid in Syria underground), and when I say all hamsters I mean golden hamsters in captivity, (my hamster was named Sparky and was a miniature, I got him after my sister’s, Hammy, died from tumors, like all mammals), but Abrahams’ weren’t the first hamsters in captivity, they’re just the current survivors. The first captives were hunted because their tunnels ran under crops and people carefully pierced them by the thousands for their exotic fur and for their pleasing taste to the Syrian farm dogs. And, I swear to God I’m not making this up, they were almost extinct and then Abrahams brought them to the University of Jerusalem where zoologist Israel Aharoni helped to breed the litter of twelve, (I know what I hope they were named), and then they made it out to the world to in 1939. Abrahams returned to Aleppo and ignored the farmers but it was before barrel bombs and the old city tunnels and the damage to M4, to M5.
They’re colorblind. All of them. Very solitary except for the Russian ones, which have rapid onset depression if you take away their mate. After the Syrian goldens came out, a British scientist, Leonard Goodwin, claimed he was actually responsible for bringing the world hamsters. The scientific community didn’t really give a shit, seeing as they had just looked up the etymology of hamster, and it turns out it’s from old high German and means oppressor and everyone couldn’t get over how terrible it was that they had named the Syrian goldens from the University of Jerusalem in 1930 the German oppressors but then they realized it wasn’t German, it was Avestan and so the British scientists pouted and tried to breed more and weren’t very successful but it’s colder there and there are fewer archaeologists trying to dig up families from the ground trying to dig in new borders into the sand and transcribe other mammals’ religions and other mammals’ bones and (we’re really obsessed as scientists with mammals and dinosaurs and tree rings and tar pits and oil and new labs in old cities and why are there only horror movies about new diseases—the, the hamsters rarely get diseases except for tumors and fratricide).
Sarah Glady writes, teaches, hikes, and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. She holds an MA in literature from Arizona State University. Her recent work can be found in McSweeney's, PANK, and Stirrings.