Article Index

Chapter 03

Wanted: A Pro

“You were to eat the poster?” Flecki did not believe what she just had heard.

“Yes”, Dodo confirmed. “The Chief said, if I don’t, he’ll get something – and that is me down.”

“Did it taste well after all? Shouldn’t be that bad with ketchup.”

“Nothing is that bad for you with enough ketchup, Goldi!” Flecki snarled.

“Ha, quite a gourmet, our Goldi!”

“Emmy, where do you come from – and where have you been yesterday?”

“Oh, Flecki, you know I have not fancy for mayor speeches. Moreover I had something more important to do.”

“Shopping, is it?”

Emmy nodded. “Just so, Goldi.” She pointed at the market place debris. “Did you have a nice party?”

“Great, so to say first rate”, Taty grinned. “All the VIPs are in hospital and in a minute we’ll have a ‘planning discussion’ with the mayor.”

“To take the rest of Hamsterton population to hospital without anybody noticing – or what?”

Merry cackling sounded down the market place but the fun soon was over.

“Don’t you have anything to do, or what? The mayor certainly is waiting.”

“Take a guess for whom we waited!”

Chief Botchy looked around grimly but everyone looked back quite innocently. He knew well enough that it made no sense to search for the hamster who had said this and so he pointed at the smashed poster.

“Why is this not yet cleaned away?”

“I’d been absolutely filled from my breakfast, Boss, but I’ll certainly try it again later on.”

Instead of answering, the chief only glared at Dodo, shook his head and set moving. The hamster troop followed him to the town hall and even from a distance they could see that something had happened. Several ambulances were waiting there.

“Did we do any repairs in the town hall today?” Botchy wondered.

“Nope”, Finny retorted. They paused to watch how several aid hamsters were obviously busy treating employees of the town hall. The mayor was nearby, talking with the officer in charge. Soon the repair troop had reached the town hall and Botchy walked over to the mayor.

“What’s on here?”

“Erm, I so to say just arrived and this dingus, er, head monster – er – aid hamster told me that my poor employees stripped the flairs – erm – licked the stairs – so to say slipped. More than half of these poor hamsters got madly short – badly hurt.”

“Slipped?” came a chorus.

“Yes, erm, there was something on the dingus, stairs…”

“Is it known what it was and who put it there?” Sasy asked, her eyes big with curiosity.

Suddenly the mayor felt rather hot and tried to let it go unnoticed by grinning sheepishly.

“Oh, someone spit – er – tipped some soap onto the chairs – er – the stairs. No idea who does anything like that, must be some windip, er, dimwit.”

Now the caretaker came limping by, his left paw covered with a light bandage, and he made grimaces of pain.

“Well, my good man”, the mayor shouted, “you’ve been rather lucky, haven’t you? So now you can switch on the dingus, the lift again.”

“Mo-o-o-orning!” the caretaker bawled. “Nope, Mr. Mayor, no way. Better to keep that paw quiet for 3 weeks. Afterwards 6 weeks in rehab and then refreshing cure, will be another 6 weeks. Better be on the safe side. Well, I’m going home now. Have a nice day!”

Whistling merrily, the caretaker toddled off.

“Softy!” Botchy grumbled and the repair hamsters nodded their agreement. “My people can repair that elevator in a trice.”

The mayor missed the fact that at the word ‘trice’ several repair hamsters gave an anxious start. He was relieved that there was a hope to go comfortably with the lift again soon. He smiled gratefully and pointed at the ambulances.

“Erm, well, I’ve got to talk with the polidingus – er – police hamsters because of insurance of these healthy ones – er – so to say, your health – er – health insurance.”

“Perhaps it was an assassination?” Finny gasped, looking terrified at her friend Flecki. “Perhaps someone wanted to murder the mayor?”

“Oh, really”, Tealeafy shouted, toppling over with laughter, “who should want to do that?”

“Just so”, Taty cackled, “no one, of course, except half Hamsterton…”

The mayor grunted angrily. “Certainly some dingus in my office does not only have friends…” Now the hamsters all toppled over, except Botchy who was standing a little aside, following the transport of some injured hamsters with a troubled face. “… so to say also enemies seeking one’s liver – erm – life in bad faith…”

“Sorry, excuse me, I left my sandwich on the stairs!”

The caretaker had returned and with a limp passed the repair hamster. The mayor looked after the troublemaker angrily and continued.

“As I tensioned – er – mentioned, I’ve got to talk to that bumptious bug… - ha ha – with Mr. Senior Chief Hamster Police. After that I have a very, very, very important, so to say, extremely secret project…”

“About which you will tell us in all details?” Goldi asked innocently.

“Well, for the brine tee-ing – er – the time being…”

A loud, shrill scream interrupted his tirade. They all looked to the town hall entrance where the yell originated. Cautiously the group went closer and recognized the caretaker who was lying on the bottom stair, howling. Beside him was his sandwich box, around him a moment later the aid hamsters showed up. It did not take long until the caretaker was taken away with the last ambulance.

“What happened to that one?” Botchy inquired from one of the aid hamsters.

“Well, he stumbled over a stretcher, the fool. Should have gone home instead of lurking around here. First it was a simple strain but now it got him right away. Better to keep that paw quiet for 3 weeks. Afterwards 6 weeks in rehab and then refreshing cure, will be another 6 weeks. Quite silly. With that strain he could have been back to work tomorrow.”

“So do we have the day off, Mr. Mayor?”

The so addressed looked at Tuffy sheepishly, his glance wandered to the chief. He shrugged and said: “Depends on that secret project of… Er, what was it, Mr. Mayor?”

“A cone fall – er – phone call – erm – because of that pro that senior-fuzzy wants…”

The mayor bit his lips.

“Pro? What pro?” Flecki shouted furiously. “Do you mean that dimwit thinks we can’t do it? Do you mean that we are unable, potty dumbheads?” Furiously she turned round to the colleagues when her glance fell on Dodo who was just gnawing at the poster, and with a small sigh she added: “Well, some are – but not all of us!”

“Erm, yes, that is, no – well, whatsoever – erm – I think we’ll meet later, so to say in two hours?”

“Two hours are not worth to start with cleaning works”, Botchy said. “We should take a lunch, what do you think?”

“Oh, but I’m no longer hungry”, Dodo cried disappointedly and wiped a little scrap of poster from his mouth.”

“But I am”, Emmy shouted.

“Not to talk about me!” Goldi shouted.

“Er, yes, see you later”, the mayor said. “And please September – er – remember: This information is so to say strictly secret.”

“All right”, the hamster troop chorused whiled the mayor turned and waddled towards the town hall. After a few minutes he was out of earshot.

“Gee!” Finny excitedly cried. “I can’t wait to tell my parents and Tony and Luca, my brothers…”

“And I absolutely have to tell my sisters Ava and Dary and my classmates and…”

“Strictly secret, is it?” Botchy snarled. “How about writing it on a poster so that everybody knows?”

“Which poster, chief?” Dodo asked. “There is no more poster…”

While the mayor and the senior police hamster discussed today’s events in the mayor’s office, the repair team set out for a restaurant.

“Where shall we go?” Hamstilidamst asked, rubbing his tummy in expectation of some nice meal.

“Something fast”, the chief growled. “I for my part always go to the ‘Chop-Chop’, they’re quick and cheap.”

“I can easily believe that!” Flecki mocked.

“All I say is: potbelly!” Emmy remarked with a shocked glance at the chief’s tummy.

“Are meals good at the ‘Potbelly’?” Dodo innocently asked.

“Cheap fastfood, absolutely unhealthy!” Dasy grumbled.

“Moreover the ‘Chop-Chop’ isn’t what you’d call hip”, Sasy objected.

“O yes?” Chief Botchy had his small paws on his big hips and looked aggressive. “And will you tell me what is ‘hip’ in your opinion?”

“The ‘Carb Bomb’. without question”, Flecki said. “Best personal service, sophisticated meals, nice ambience…”

“And you can eat there as well”, Goldi added, joyfully rubbing his paws.

“Well, I am for the ‘Carb Bomb’”, Finny whispered.

“I am not”, the chief grumbled. “And neither is Tuffy. We have been there before. Well?”

“Voting!” Hamstilidamst proposed.

A few minutes later the vote counting was finished. There had been 12 votes given, in detail

  • 10 votes for the ‘Carb Bomb’

  • 1 vote for the ‘Chop-Chop’

  • 1 vote for ‘Potbelly’

Angrily chief Botchy growled: “Thanks, Tuffy, I’ll be delighted to think of you if the next extra work comes up – and it will come up. Which brainhead by the way voted for ‘Potbelly’?”

Except Dodo and the chief all hamsters were whistling merrily as food was close. Moreover it was early in the day so that they would not have any trouble getting a table in the popular restaurant.

At the same time the mayor found himself in a serious struggle. A struggle with himself because at stake was the responsibility for Hamsterton in general and his fur especially.

“You have to find a pro to organize the Hamstian Exhibition!”

The words of the chief of building authority were still ringing in his ears. Where for the life of him was he to find a professional in Hamsterton? One, furthermore, whom that darned office senior chief was going to accept as a pro? He started to rummage his desk to relax his mind a little. At least he found the sandwich he had been missing a few weeks ago. Cautiously he bit into it but spat it out immediately. Dry like a mummy. His glance fell on the pile of job applications of several interns. He took up the pile and leafed it through, hoping to find a suitable candidate. Yes, I’m a genius, the mayor thought, why keep a bog in dark – hum – dog and bark, if the solution is elf-sevident – er…

He took out one job application at random and his goggle-eyes widened when he saw what some Fibbes of Hamsterjello had written:

‘That’s an application.

I need a separate place of work and hope for my own computer with CD writer to take data home. Please do not forget the fast flat rate for loading down music, MP3s and such.

Now about my salary…’

Disgusted, the mayor put aside the letter and took a look at what a certain Liza of Hamsterhoosen had written:

‘Ladies and Gentlemen!

I wanna be an intern!

My Ma tells me to try at town hall cause later on they’ll take me over so I get lots of dosh for doing nothing…’

This letter followed the first one. Then he looked what Charley of Hamsteriran had to say:

‘Hi there,

I badly need lolly and could start at once. No matter what if I get lolly for if I don’t get lolly, I start pinching again and have to be back in the nick…’

This did not sound like the sort of pro the mayor urgently needed. He sighed deeply and took up the next letter. Some Miss Buzzer of Hamstermound informed him:

‘Dear Uncle,

You certainly remember your promise of long standing to look out for a job for me.’ – Dowdy! His fur stood on end. Dowdy his niece! How could he forget that? With trembling paws he read on: ‘My painting, alas! I have given up and dedicated myself to far eastern meditation. I then began to study ‘social-pedagogical communication’. Oh, how I should have loved to become a journalist, but the ‘Hamstian Daily’ did not take me. Then I started studies of ‘project management in the household’ but I broke off because after all the ‘Hamstian Daily’ had a job for me. Unfortunately it was only a cleaning job with a short-termed contract so that now I could start something new any time.’

“Am I some exchange for hopeless cases – or what?” the mayor puffed and put aside the letter. His phone rang and his secretary answered.

“Miss No… - he – Pinky, I’m busy! Not now!”

“I know, Mr. Mayor – but it is Mrs. Buzzer, your sister in law! She said if you will not talk to her she comes here in person to rip up your fur. That’s what she said!”

The mayor froze. O my, Furina wanted something of him and he had a very good idea what it was.

“Erm, yes, I – er… Put her through, please!”

There was a short click in the wire.

“Harry-George, I’ll only ask once and I don’t accept any excuse! Did you read the application of Dowdy?” came a lot of shouting through the line.

Harrumph!” The mayor cleared his throat. “Dearest Fur-Tina, er, Furina, lurtancy – er – turtlefee – er – certainly! So to say a minute ago I busied myself with the tatter – the matter…”

“Don’t you beat about the bush, Harry-George, I know you!” came further shouting out of the receiver. “Do you have a job for my daughter – or do I have to come along to iron your fur?”

“She’ll get a jinx – er – job”, the mayor howled.

“But not some dogsbody-job, hear me? She’s something special, more of a managing hamster. You realize that clearly, Harry-George, or do I have to explain in more detail?”

“Fully realized”, the mayor gasped, “absolutely fully realized.”

There was a resolute click in the line and the unpleasant talk was finished. The mayor tapped the desk with his paw and breathed deeply. He thought with all his brain without getting any idea what to do. Just when he began to think he could see some context, the phone once more rang and once more it was his secretary.

“Mr. Mayor, it is the senior office chief!”

“Erm, does he also need a jinx – a job?”

Miss Pinky breathed deeply and calmly said:

“Rather not, Mr. Mayor. It is about the exhibition project. He wants to know whether you came to a decision.”

A click in the line and there was the senior office chief while on this end the mayor was close to collapsing.

“I’d rather expected you call-back, Mayor!”

Erm, yes, the – er – ha ha – call-back, where is it now?” the mayor stammered, trying to appear cool. His brain worked desperately and he was aware of the fact that this talk was decisive not only for Hamsterton but also for him and his lamentable job. What a disgrace if the ‘First Hamstian Exhibition’ came to nothing because he, the mayor, was not able to manage the events.

“Well? Did you get a pro?” came a voice out of the receiver.

The mayor stared ahead, his glance fell on a sheet of paper. ‘Project management in the household’ – these letters danced in front of his eyes. Project management. That was it!

“Project management so to say is a conniption – er – condition to be professional”, the mayor gasped.

“Certainly”, the senior office chief retorted, “and a smartness in handling the press…”

Another mayor-glance at the paper. ‘Hamstian Daily’ – ‘journalist’ he read and whispered into the receiver:

“Yes, has worked with the press…”

For a moment the line appeared to be dead, then the senior office chief’s voice was back, this time without any mockery:

“You have got someone? You found a professional to help Hamsterton out of the dilemma? A real pro? You know, Mr. Mayor, he has to be convincing and able to talk smartly!”

Once more the mayor glared at the paper. ‘Study of social-pedagogical communication’ – the letters were dancing there.

“So to say a studied communicator, Mr. Senior Office Thief – er – Chief.”

“A what?”

“Erm, studied communism – er – communication.”

Silence. Then the cheer of the senior office chief:

“Excellent, just great. When will you present that Mr. Wonderful to me?”

“Well, er”, came a drawl, “in near future. In a way it’s a dingus, a lady. A wonderful hamster-lady from Hamstermound.”

At this time none of the repair troop had an inkling under what sort of command they soon were to work. Least of all chief Botchy who together with his group was sitting in the well attended restaurant ‘The Carb Bomb’, waiting to give up his order.

“Are there no waiters here – or what?” he grumbled after a while.

“That’s so swank with this restaurant”, Dasy shouted, “all the world and his wife meet here!”

“It’s really hip!” Flecki confirmed. “And if you want to belong, you don’t mind a little waiting.”

“My stomach doesn’t care! It don’t wanna be hip, it wanna be filled!” the chief barked.

Next moment his eyes widened when he heard the words “My, how vulgar!” He slowly turned round to the next table. Three modish hamster-girls were sitting there, showing their newest mobiles to each other. The obtrusive smell of some perfume met his nose.

“Ladies, any problem so I might assist?”

The answer was nothing but an embarrassed giggle and Botchy turned back to his repair troop.

“That wasn’t nice…”, Tuffy commented.

“Not nice?!” he bawled. “I’ll not be chatted up by some full feathered geese, it’s enough if I don’t get anything to eat…”

“Ladies and gentlemen, did you already make your choice?” a voice came purring.

“I’d like to have Salad Number 3!” Flecki, Finny, and Tuffy chorused.

It took the members of the repair team a few minutes to decide so that the waiter could leave with the orders.

“What if the mayor does not find any pro?” Emmy wanted to know.

“Then the matter of exhibition is done with and we have our peace”, Goldi grinned, impatiently leafing through the menu.

“But that would darned bad for the Hamsterton image”, Tealeafy joked.

“It would be disaster, pals”, chief Botchy grumped, looking furiously at Taty and Tealeafy who toppled over with laughter. “You’ve no idea how much we’d be the mock of all surrounding hamster counties. No, I tell you: No matter how, we need someone. If there’s no way out, I’ll dress up and present myself as professional.”

“Boss, don’t you think that cover will blow quickly?”

“Nuts, Tuffy, I’ll dress up so that nobody knows me.”

“I guess Tuffy thinks you will be recognized by your way of working”, Emmy sniggered and felt the sharp glance of the chief on her who wondered how to take that remark.

“I’ll tell you something, lads…”

“Your meals, ladies and gentlemen”, the waiter interrupted the chief and put down several salads.

“I didn’t order any green fodder!” Botchy hissed.

“Patience, Sir”, was the polite answer, “your Monsterburger is in process.” With these words the waiter disappeared through a side door and returned a short time later, laden with plates. “Who had the grilled pumpkin?”

“I take it! I take it!”

With a nod he put down the grilled pumpkin in front of Dodo whose eyes almost fell out of his head from greed and hunger. The waiter distributed the other plates.

“Hey, where is my…”

“Your Monsterburger is in process.”

Darkly the chief watched his repair team falling on the food. While everyone enjoyed himself, Goldi only picked at his meal.

“Waiter, there are cucumber slices in it!”

The waiter shrugged. “Grilled pumpkin always goes with a salad.”

“Why don’t you like cucumber?” Flecki hissed. “Normally you do away with one whole cucumber per evening!”

“Well there’s nothing wrong with whole cucumbers, I just don’t like them in slices.”

“Ahem, and what are we to do with your food now?”

“I take it! I take it!”

Goldi pushed the plate over to Dodo and looked at the waiter: “Grilled pumpkin please without these cucumber slices!”

The waiter nodded and wanted to go but was stopped by the chief.

“Hey, where is my…”

“Your Monsterburger is in process!”

The waiter was gone but returned after a few minutes.

“Here you are, Sir, grilled pumpkin without cucumber slices.”

He turned to Botchy and politely said “Your Monsterburger is in process” and wanted to go but was stopped by Goldi.

“There’s a slice of tomato in my food. I don’t like tomato slices!”

“Now listen, Goldi”, Flecki nagged again, “you do away with any amount of ketchup every day and that’s made of tomatoes. What’s wrong with this tomato slice?”

“It’s a slice of tomato, and I don’t like slices of tomato!”

“Excuse me, but what are we to do with your food now?”

“I take it! I take it!”

Once more Goldi pushed his plate towards Dodo and looked at the waiter: “Grilled pumpkin please without tomato slice.”

“Certainly, Sir”, the waiter confirmed, “and without cucumber slices.”

“Damn, where is my…”

“Your Monsterburger is in process”, the waiter groaned. “Won’t take long.”

After a surprising short span of time the panting waiter was back and put plates with salad down in front of Goldi and Botchy.

“With compliments the house!”

“My, how stylish”, Flecki cried. “No other restaurant…”

“I don’t like salad!”

“What am I to do with rabbit food?”

Helplessly the waiter looked first at Goldi, then at chief Botchy and gasped: “But it’s on the house!”

“I don’t want any salad, I want grilled pumpkin without tomato slices and without slices of cucumber!”

“And I want my Monsterburger!”

“And what am I to do with this salad now?” the waited wailed.

“I’ll take it! I’ll take it!” came a background voice.

While there was an embarrassed silence at the table of the repair hamsters, the visibly knocked-out waiter approached once more. With trembling paws he put down one plate in front of Goldi and one plate in front of the chief.

“Here we are”, he groaned. “Once grilled pumpkin without tomato slices and without slices of cucumber and one Monsterburger. Enjoy your meal!” He made off quickly but had not come far when in his back he heard Goldi’s voice:

“Is that stuff on my plate red pepper?”

“I’ll take it! I’ll take it!”

While Dodo stuffed the next portion into his hamster cheeks, the obviously nerved waiter crept away to fetch a fresh portion of grilled pumpkin for Goldi. Except the chief who audibly enjoyed his Monsterburger everyone was finished. Anyway, the embarrassed silence continued when the waiter turned up again with a stony face.

“Sir, your grilled pumpkin without tomato slices and without slices of cucumber and without mini-peppers.”

With bent head and weeping silently he crept away. He did not get far until in his back he heard Goldi’s thoughtful voice:

“If I think about it – I do not care at all for pumpkin…”