Unacceptable Behavior
from PAINTBRUSH

      “Did you hear what Gretta did?” confided

a hamster.


      “No. What?” responded another.


      The first leaned closer.


      “She ate her children.”


      “No!”


      “Yes. Every single last one of them. There

were seven this time.”


      “Seven?”


      “Yes.”

      

      They were silent for a moment.


      The first began chewing thoughtfully

on a piece of lettuce.


      “Well, what did Bob say?”


      The chewing stopped.


      “You know Bob.”


      She looked at the second with undisguised

disgust.


      “Same thing he said last time, and the time

before that. He said they were his children too,

and that if it happened again, he was going to

leave her. He never will.”


      “No.”


      The second twitched her nose complacently.


      “He never will.”


      She began chewing her own piece of lettuce.


      “The poor guy,” remarked the first.


      She twiddled her whiskers, then shuffled

closer so she could murmur directly into the

other’s ear.


      “And you know what it is? It’s not that he

loves her. I truly believe he’s afraid of her.”


      The second crouched silent, a shred of

lettuce dangling from her mouth.


      “Yes, I honestly believe that’s it. He knows

the sort of thing she’s capable of. He’s been like

that ever since she ate his mother.”


      Moral: Some unhappy families are unhappy

in really different ways.