Chapter 05

Revolt – Strike

“I won’t let you do that to me, Mr. Mayor, I’m not your tomfool!”

“Chief is right, that’s naught but a big mess!” Taty and Tealeafy gnarled.

“Not in our backyard! That’s against our honour as hamsters!”

“Honk, honk!” Dodo agreed with Flecki.

“We’ll pick his place to pieces”, Goldi bawled, nudging Trample to encourage him to some rash action.

“Let him get along with the stuff with his bimbo!” Tuffy shrieked, while all the time the mayor seemed to be shrinking behind his desk.

There was a loud and impatient knock at the door but in the general hullabaloo no one except the mayor seemed to notice anything. As he did not have to strength to say “Come in” or words to that effect, the door opened after a time and the head of the chief accountant became visible. The noise in the room died down at once, not so much from respect for the chief accountant but rather of curiosity what kind of new and disasters there were.

“Mr. Mayor”, he started to scold, “this permanent noise is unbearable for my staff! Please see that all this shouting comes to an end. Beside this I urgently need back-ups as my team just dwindles away by the staircase accidents!”

The mayor looked at the chief accountant helplessly and shrugged.

“As you know there once were 23 departments with 119 employees in this building. ¾ of the employees are in hospital, of the remaining quarter half has been sent home due to exhaustion. Half of the remaining quarter ask me to inform you that they will be on strike if the situation does not change at once.”

“Erm, well… and what do I have to do with that?” the mayor asked in a bored voice and looked out of the window.

“See that I get new people, temporaries and the like!” the chief accountant shouted.

“Well, er, new people”, the mayor repeated. “Know what, Mr. Discountant? Stuff the half of the remaining quarter where the sun of Hamsterton will never shine! This is about greater valets –  er – values being so to say my…”

With a coarse outcry chief accountant Conk stormed towards the door, stumbled over Dodo the seal and crashed against the doorpost. Groaning, he got up, pointed at the mayor and gasped: “Strike, dear Mr. Mayor, we will go on strike this very minute! However, if matters change”, he added, stepping forward, stumbling once more over Dodo the seal, stumbling up to the mayor’s desk and holding to the edge of the desk, “if matters change, we will finish the strike. It’s up to you, Mr. Mayor!”

Being a polite official, he bowed to the mayor and walked backwards towards the door.

“Dodo, would you mind to leave that spot at the door?” chief Botchy nagged when the chief accountant had stumbled out of the door and his shrieks when rolling down the stairs died away.

“What did he mean by strike?” Finny wondered, and contemptuously looked at the mayor who had collapsed in his chair and tried to bury his head in the wooden desktop.

“That he may handle his stuff himself!” Botchy yelled. “I’m fed up of being up a monkey here, not me – I’ll strike, too!”

“Does that mean we will have a holiday, Boss?” Tuffy hopefully asked. “A few days at the seaside…”

“Just forget it”, Botchy grumped. “Strike does not mean holiday, strike means that you go to work but do not work.”

“Well, that’s nothing new to me, I need not change my way of working that much…”

Flecki turned round to Goldi. “I’ve known that since long. Don’t you have any talents, Goldi?”

“Yea, I can fart ‘Old McDonald’!”

While Flecki got outraged about certain hamsters without decency and behaviour, the mayor desperately tried to change chief Botchy’s mind but without success. After some fruitless shouting, the chief turned, his head deep purple.

“Come along, chaps! We’ve done with this loser-mayor!”

While, cursing, the mayor got up from the floor to which he had tipped with his chair, chief Botchy stumbled and left the room with a frightened outcry. Afterwards the falling of a heavy hamster body could be heard, rolling down the stairs. Spellbound, everyone stared at the door when a few minutes later a slightly battered chief returned.

“And if this f… - darned seal is not gone in a moment and disappears into some ditch, I shall open up a seal fur business!”

“Honk?”

“See that you are normal again or you will get some special tasks in the Hamsterton canalization!”

With another “Honk” Dodo the seal wriggled out to the staircase.

“Where might the poor animal – that is poor Dodo go to?” Emmy asked, nudging Goldi. “Shouldn’t we follow him and take a look? Perhaps we can help him?”

“Better not”, Goldi retorted, “animals should be left in their natural surroundings…” – Emmy nodded.

Together the hamster troop now trudged behind their chief and silently they balanced down the town hall stairs. At the entrance they helped chief accountant Conk to his paws. After Tuffy and Flecki had freed him from splinters of the big glass pane of the entrance door, the chief accountant stumbled back towards his office.

“May we go home now, Boss?” Tuffy hopefully asked.

“I’ll write it down for you willingly, Tuffy”, Botchy grunted, “you’ll go home when it’s closing time. Up to then we are on strike. That accountant bloke will do just the same; twirling thumbs until closing time – as his staff will do.”

So it happened and in the town hall a sweating mayor was sitting who after some hours discovered that nothing, really nothing in his town worked. Even HAMPO joined the strike and to the horror of many Hamsterton inhabitants there was no one who cared for law and order. Especially troubling was the news that patrolmen went to patrol pubs and allied with boozers and hooligans when the night fell. Bawling groups of drunken policemen made the town unsafe while some back-street chaps took their chance to go shopping. Nobody took interest in the fact that the shops were closed and whoever needed some pretty clothing or a new, beautiful widescreen TV, just helped himself. By the way, this explains why the Hamsterton policemen have so richly furnished flats.

Only HAMFI were still at work and on the spot each time there was some fire. Out of loyalty for the striking majority of Hamsterton they however did not use water. This was a kind of moral backing up for the strikers. On the personal plead of the mayor the Hamstian power station went back to service after they had been promised a doubling of salary.

“It’s a shame what became of our Hamsterton”, Flecki scolded when the repair team met at the usual site.

“This incredible greed”, Tuffy hissed. “I’ve seen two hamsters robbing a shop and the police being too drunk to interfere!”

“Really incredible”, Goldi gnarled. “It’s nothing but ‘The winner takes it all!’ A shame! Just because one of these brutal hamsters has been bigger and stronger than me in the computer shop, he nicked the last game of ‘Hamster IV’ right from under my paws…”

“By the by, where is Trample?”

“Yes, where indeed?” the chief confirmed Finny’s inquiry.

“He didn’t walk the stairs with us, so he took the elevator. Ah, there he is!” Flecki cried, pointing at a limping figure, approaching slowly. A few minutes later Trample had reached them – he looked a poor sight.

“Tell me, was the colour of Trample’s eyes always violet?” Taty whispered to his brother Tealeafy.

“Nope, rather not. And normally he hasn’t got such swollen lips.”

”What’s the matter wi’ you?” Botchy put the question each of them would have liked to put. “Had a crash with the lift?”

Trample slowly shook his head, holding a paw to it, his head clearly was aching badly.

“I only wanted to make a little joke”, he sobbed. “When I reached with the lift, you were not yet there, only that chief accountant was lying about there. So I went up again and down again. Just when I wanted to go back up, two sturdy hamsters came along and tried to get in. But they crashed against the door of the lift and when I went up again, I laughed loudly. They were miffed of course and ran up the stairs. In the upper floor I waited until they came up panting. Then I pressed the down-button and shouted ‘Baa, baa, baa!’ when the door was just closing.”

“Well?” Goldi asked. “What did you goof this time?”

Trample sobbed loudly and continued: “When I shouted ‘Baa, baa, baa!’ one last time, they were only a few paces off and then…” Trample sobbed again. “Then I bent forward too much and my head got into the sensor barrier of the lift and the door opened again. So those two stepped in and the way down appeared very long to me…”

“Shall we take you to a doctor?” Emmy tenderly asked.

“Forget it”, Flecki grunted, “they are all at a strike demo on the golf links… How will all that work out in the end?”

That was what also the mayor wondered about. Except himself, no one was working at the town hall any longer. His glance fell on the pile of applications and his face became a little more cheerful. ‘Dynamic but without training’ he read – ‘Need dosh for holiday’ – ‘Manager-type without experience’ – ‘Quite tired of being lazy’. The mayor looked out to the market place and saw Botchy and his repair team in deep discussion, then he sighed, closed his eyes, drew several applications out of the pile and put them down in front of him. He studied them, made several calls, leant back with deep satisfaction and held a little nap.

Loud laughter awakened the big hamster. He shook his wet fur and looked about him. Why was he lying at the banks of the village pond and why were so many people standing around, toppling over with laughter? Dodo tried to climb the bank, slipped and was back in the pond. After several tries he succeeded to get solid, dry ground under his paws and saw that he was off. Laughter and shouts of “Honk, honk!” followed him. He walked to the town hall where he found the mayor sleeping. While descending the stairs, the big hamster met several dubious figures. Under the cheers of his friends the big hamster finally reached the familiar site.

“Erm, well, so you are Numb and Ass, very pretty in a way…”

“Dumb, Mr. Mayor, I’m Dumb and my pal is Ass!”

“Dumb and Ass”, the mayor noted down and then looked at the schedule. “You, erm, will take over the management of the Public Order Office and see that there is public order! And you?”

The so addressed hamster lady only goggled and when the mayor repeated the question, she slowly replied: “Well, I can type, but one thing I’ll tell you right away, I’m keeping my lunch break and no overtime for me. By the way, you don’t hurry me, see?”

This went on for some time, by and by the town hall filled with more or less willing employees. Then there was another knock at the door.

“Umph!” the mayor grumped because after all these interviews he would have loved to take a little nap.

“Uncle!”

“Da…  Dow… Dowdy!” he croaked and glared at the small hamster girl in her flowered dress. The violet bow over her left ear was much too big and somehow her red sandals did not favour the dress. Anyway, the mayor did not notice this as fashion was not his business.

The little hamster lady entered and looked about her. Then she lifted her paws, closed her eyes, opened them again slowly and shook her head – which made the violet bow fall down. She took it up and fastened it, then she said: “You look tired and with reason as all things in universe have a reason. Do you not see it, Uncle? Does it not strike you? Do you not notice what is wrong here?”

“Erm… No food?”

“Uncle! Food it secondary, life is primary, symmetry, sympathetic ambivalence! You have to create your life anew!”

Dowdy started to re-arrange the chairs in the room and asked the mayor to help her moving the desk and the plants. After a while she looked at her work critically and said: “Ready! Now your life will be basically changed!”

With some difficulty the mayor tried to sit down between two houseplants but his beloved armchair unfortunately was now standing at the door so that he had to sit down on the edge of a yucca-pot. It was most uncomfortable but when he tried to push the yucca aside to make room for his armchair, his niece shrieked: “Don’t! If the pureness of your soul means anything to you, leave it as it is!”

Shrugging, the mayor sat down on the pot-edge once more and watched how Dowdy studied the organization schedule. She walked out to take up her work in this house while the mayor exhaustedly closed his eyes, leant back slowly and by and by disappeared between the leaves of a yucca and a hibiscus.

While Dumb and Ass and all other new employees in the town hall now learned that the basic condition for effective work was a congruent relation to the environment, the repair hamsters held council what to do to get Hamsterton back to order. While Botchy desired to increase the strike, Flecki and Emmy asked to finish it.

“We are all brothers and sisters. We have to approach each other and love each other!” Emmy cried. When she turned to sit down again she almost stumbled over Goldi who was lying on the floor, chewing one Munchburger after the other. “Reconsidering the matter, please forget my last sentence, will you?”

“We are no hamster-dummies after all which can be treated to everybody’s liking”, the chief grumped. “That has to be clarified! I’d just love to put their cottage straight and make some fire under their fur.”

“A well founded plan”, Goldi agreed, chewing.

“Yes, just swell – and after that?” Flecki hissed.

“They’re flatted”, Goldi grunted.

“And after that, what then?” Flecki insisted.

“Well, we’ll flatten them even more.”

“Now, that’s nothing but hollow, is there no other way?” Finny objected.

“Lads”, chief Botchy gnarled, “let’s wait and see and be on the alert.”



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