AMERIKA (1927) is the incomplete first novel of Franz Kafka.
10/01/10 | Novel


by Ani Smith

I wake up. It is morning and I look over toward the hamster cage. I see the caramel fluff but it is not twitching. I stretch and yawn and saunter over. Poke it in the side with my finger but it does not move.

After coffee I go out to the backyard to smoke a cigarette and dig a small hole. Lay the hamster in the hole and go to work.

I wake up. It is morning and I look over toward the cage and remember that the hamster is dead. It is Saturday. Roll over to continue sleep.

I wake up after two hours. I look over toward the hamster cage and I see the caramel fluff twitch. I think, I remember burying him yesterday. I go over to the cage and he is sniffing pellets. Leave him be.

In the backyard there is a small mound of dirt but no marker. I cannot remember whether I placed a marker on his grave. It seems the sort of silly thing I would do. Have a cigarette and go back inside.

As I near the cage the hamster is limp in the wheel. I look around the room. I look back at the cage. I look around the room. I take the hamster to the kitchen, say words with him in my hand, and drop him into the waste disposal. Listen to his body mash to pieces and wash my tiny hands.

I wake up. It is morning and I do not look over toward the hamster cage for I know the hamster is dead. I turn on my side to face the pillow beside me and there he is, lying motionless in the middle. I leave the room. I return. Still a ball of brown velvet in a spread of white cotton. I lift the pillow with the hamster on it and dump him over the garbage can and tie the bag. Place the bag out by the curb.

I wake up but I do not open my eyes. Hear the hamster wheel turning.

I wake up. I look toward the cage. I expect to see a hamster either dead or alive in the cage. In my head, the hamster is white. I find the fresh expired body of a brown hamster in the cage. Decide to leave him there.

Three months pass. His body is intact. It does not decompose. I have hung a calendar next to the cage to mark the days. On the last day of the third month, I pick up the hamster and take it outside and build a small fire and toss him into it. Go back inside and take the cage to the curb.

I wake up and stare at the ceiling. On the ceiling there are seventy-five brown and white marbled hamsters crawling about near the light fixture. Close my eyes and feel their tiny hamster feet soft on my skin.

I wake up. I am covered in soft white fur. Light a cigarette and think of going for a run.

I wake up nauseated. Go outside and build a bonfire and toss myself into it.

I wake up. I run to every corner of the house slamming into walls and screeching something in a language unknown. Go out to the hamster cage by the curb and try to climb in it but I do not fit.