The narrator is a health care aide who cares for a disabled woman (Betty) as best as possible and tends to her many hamsters, including Brutus, with the ultimate compassion.
It seems that Betty’s real confidant and friend is not the hamster she obsesses over in the story, but the young man who cleans out the hamster cages, cooks her meals, and buries her once-beloved rodents in the backyard.
This story originally appeared in Fleas on the Dog Online in 2020.
Mark Tulin is a poet, short story writer, and author residing in Ventura. He also has time to take pictures of the quirky people and strange objects he finds on Southern California's beaches.
Gordon Lawrie (author and editor of Friday Flash Fiction) writes, “Tulin’s skill lies in raising his central characters above everything that surrounds them.”
Mark had appeared in Fiction on the Web, smokebox, Vita Brevis Press, The Literary Hatchet, Amethyst Review, Friday Flash Fiction, The Daily Drunk, and podcasts and anthologies. His books include Magical Yogis, Awkward Grace, and The Asthmatic Kid and Other Stories.
Keep up to date on all of Mark Tulin’s stories, poetry, and books at:
Photo © Mark Tulin
Music (faded in and out) from Comming Back by Loco Lobo under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Story Radio Podcast
A new monthly podcast dedicated to celebrating the literary short story and all things bookish. Bite-size short fiction for writers and readers everywhere. Listen to a short story on the 1st of each month at 12:00am.
Hosted by Tabitha Potts and open to new and emerging writers in the English language. Always free to submit. You can also submit online via our website www.storyradio.org
We are a small organisation run by volunteer writers and producers (Tabitha Potts and Martin Nathan) hoping to benefit the writing community.
Our eventual aim is to be self-funding and to pay our writers for each short story we transmit. Visit our Patreon if you would like to support our work and access exclusive content.
Send us your stories
Contact Tabitha Potts at [email protected]
Please submit your short story (2500 words or less) as a PDF/Word doc (with your 50 word biography). If you wish you can also submit your recorded 8 to 10 minute mp3 for consideration but we can record this for you if you aren't able to read it yourself. Editing, intros and outros, FX and music will be added by us.
If you make an error while recording, pause and start again - we can edit it out. Record in a quiet place without background noise.
Copyright in your story remains with you, we ask only that we can podcast your story for one year.
We have had a very generous offer from a fellow podcaster Austin Malone to read your story if you have no access to technology or are unable to record an MP3 for any reason. Please let us know if you would like his help.
Austin Malone is a voice-actor who has narrated stories for Pseudopod, Podcastle, and The Melting Potcast. A native of New Orleans, he can frequently be found in the dark corners of nerdy, writing-themed bars. In the virtual world, he can be found at his website: sippinghemlocktea.com.
We have also had an exciting offer to record short stories from actor Nigel Fyfe. Nigel is an experienced actor and voice-over artist and you can read about him and listen to his work on his website.
Tabitha Potts is a writer living in East London. She has had several short stories published in print and online and been short-listed and long-listed for various awards, most recently the Sunderland University Short Story Award. In a previous life, she was a BBC Radio Drama producer.
Read more at http://www.tabithapotts.com.
Martin Nathan has worked as a labourer, showman, pancake chef, fire technician, and a railway engineer. His short fiction has been published by Tangent Press, HCE and Grist and his poetry has appeared in Finished Creatures, Erbacce and Aesthetica. His novel – A Place of Safety is published by Salt Publishing.