Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What Really Happened?

We were going on vacation.
Just my mother and me.
Going to Lincoln, Nebraska.
To see my aunt Blanche and uncle Carroll.

I had to leave Chipper behind.
Chipper was my hamster.
Brown and white hamster.
He had a metal cage with an exercise wheel.

I left him with a friend.
A trusted friend.
He promised to feed Chipper.
Chipper would be fine.

I forgot to tell you.
This was August, 1961.
I was 13.
Chipper was 2.

Well the vacation was fun.
We went swimming.
We went to museums.
We played miniature golf.

I stayed in my cousin's room.
He was away at college.
I found his copy of Lady Chatterly's Lover.
All the best parts dogeared and underlined.

I sat in my uncle's den.
I read the National Geographic.
I played with the collie.
I played with the neighbor kids.

The vacation was over.
We took the Greyhound home.
We changed buses in Omaha.
I had chicken fried steak at the lunch counter.

We got home at 7:33 pm.
I called my friend.
He said Chipper was dead.
Had died a few days ago.

They took Chipper to the dump.
They took his metal cage to the dump.
His exercise wheel was at the dump.
The hamster pellets were there too.

I asked how he died.
They found him that way.
In the morning.
Just curled up in the cedar shavings.

I felt devastated.
The explanation did not sound right.
Something was missing.
They were not telling me everything.

I grew up.
I forgot about it.
Until this morning.
Until I talked to a guy in the hallway.

This guy is a disabled Vietnam Vet.
He reads a lot of books.
He watches a lot of television.
And he walks ten miles a day.

Said he saw a tv show on Oswald.
Talked about the conspiracies.
Who shot who?
Who knew what and when?

It got me to thinking.
About the friend that watched Chipper.
He later worked for the government.
His dad worked for the Post Office.

Remember it was 1961.
Castro was in Cuba.
The Drifters were playing in a club downtown
And Kennedy was in the Whitehouse.

The Cuban missle crisis was soon to come.
The war was escalating.
Kennedy was killed.
Gulf of Tonkin.

Fast forward.
Thru wars.
Thru assassinations.
Thru conspiracies.

Always the unknown.
Who did what where?
When was it to be revealed?
Why does the memory select and reject?

Putting things together.
Shredding the results.
Scanning the remants.
Sending the attachments.

What really happened?
That day Chipper was found in the cedar shavings.
Brown and white hamster.
Would I ever really know?