Chapter 10

 

Approach

 

“Erm, yes, perhaps the chief should somewhat concentrate on the navi-dingus… By the invested poorness – er – power invested in me I ask for some more dizzy-dingus – er – discipline…”

 

The hamsters were just crossing the Channel when the chief slowly calmed down and stopped shouting. Grumbling, he took his seat at the helm again. About time as by now their journey over water was ended and land was in sight. Fascinated, the hamsters looked out of the windows. They reached a huge bay and followed quite a large river.

 

“And now?”

 

The mayor goggled at the chief and searched for some clever reply to this question.

 

“Erm, yes… Well, we are for Oban, words to that effect – er – questions in that line should go to our navi-dingus…”

 

They all turned to Dodo how appeared somewhat panicked and wildly rummaged the maps he brought along. “Let me see…” he gasped, “I’m doing my very best… Just give me a chance…”

 

“Florida is said to be nice at this time of the year, or Brittany. Just let’s rely on Dodo”, Taty grinned, nudging Tealeafy.

 

Now a city appeared under them, a very big city. The hamsters marvelled at the impressive bridges connecting the two parts of the town… Bridges, some of them crowned with real towers, a palace with a high tower, carrying a large clock-face indicating the time. Followed an even bigger palace with a spacious park behind it.

 

“Do we have enough food?” Goldi asked. “That looks like a shopping centre – talking about supplies and all that…”

 

“Indeed, indeed”, agreed the mayor, “a slopping tour – er – shopping tour wouldn’t be that bad. Helmsman, engines stop and ready for landing!”

 

The chief reduced the power and steered the space ship towards the huge palace. “I’d feel better if that navi-dingus tells us where we are!” he grumped.

 

“Just a minute!” Dodo stammered.

 

“There were guards at the door”, Trample marvelled.

 

“Best to land in the inner court”, Botchy stated. “Navigator! Where are we?”

 

“Just a minute!” Dodo gasped. “In a moment!”

 

“Well, it’s quite noble here”, Flecki marvelled. “Like a queen living in here…”

 

“Did you see that giant statue of the madam looking like hailing us?” Tuffy added.

 

“Navigator! Where the hell are we?” the chief shouted impatiently.

 

“Only give me a minute!” Dodo wailed. “Just give me a chance…”

 

With very low speed the hamsters now passed the windows of the palace and could see wonderful furniture, pictures and decoration. And guards again. Botchy adjusted the course and steered an elegant curve over the huge inner court.

 

“Over there seems to be the entrance hall”, Dasy cried. “My, but that’s smart…”

 

“Don’t you talk about smart”, Trample wailed. “What if the guards get at us? What, if we crash? I don’t want smart and if I die, I want to go peacefully – like once my grandfather in his sleep. And not screaming like the passengers in his car…”

 

“Bloody navigator, where the heck is this bloody inner court located?” chief Botchy roared, interrupting Trample’s nostalgia.

 

“In a minute!” Dodo yowled. “Why don’t you give me a chance? Why are the small ones of this world always stepped on?!”

 

There was a clash. The chief had approached one of the two large flower buckets to the right and left of the door. Earth sputtered, the view was blocked by soil and leaves.

 

“I’d say you stirred the pot”, Tealeafy cackled.

 

“Dodo, I’ll wring your bloody neck if I don’t get information!”

 

“But he’s doing his very best, chief”, Taty jeered, “just do give him a chance…”

 

“Got it!” Dodo cheered. “I found it, I told you I’ll find it and I asked you to give me a chance and you gave me a chance and I said ‘In a minute’ and…”

 

“Shut up or I’ll bury you in the flower pot!” chief Botchy barked while switching off the engines. “Now where are we, you mega navi-dingus-dummy?”

 

“Following exact calculations”, Dodo proudly started, “we landed in the middle of a town, as it is on the market square of… Snortlington!”

 

“Snortlington?” the chief grunted. “You sure?”

 

“Sure”, Dodo replied, his eyes moistening, “or don’t you trust your navigator?”

 

“Well, I’d rather guessed London”, Flecki remarked. “I’ve seen some cute shopping centres before…”

 

“No!” Dodo wailed. “Snorlington! Why does no one trust me?”

 

“Perhaps ‘cause Snortlington has no king’s castle?” Goldi grinned.

 

“Wa-a-a-a-ah!” Now Dodo howled without any control. “You’re just mean!”

 

“O well”, Botchy grumped, being shirted by the wailing, “for my sake it’s Snortlington. And what now?”

 

“What, what now?” Dodo sobbed.

 

“Well, how to go on now?”

 

“What – how to go on?”

 

“How are we to go on, you deadhead!” the chief roared so that Dodo collapsed, weeping, and whimpered:

 

“How should I know… I only took a glimpse at the map…”

 

“And only for several short hours”, Taty grinned.

 

“Impossible to get to the depth of the matter that quickly”, Tealeafy added, looking at Dodo sympathetically.

 

“That’s what I say”, Dodo wailed. “Why always me? Why don’t we go through that door there?”

 

“Yes”, the mayor remarked, “the navi-deadhead is right! Mr. Chief, why don’t we go through the entrance door?”

 

“Because it may be a trap”, Botchy thoughtfully said.

 

“A trap?” Flecki cried. “A trap in Buckingham Palace of Lon… - er – Snortlington?”

 

“Food!” Goldi yelled, opening the exit hatch.

 

With cheers they all ran to the entrance door but it was closed. Suddenly a shadow fell over the hamsters, one by one they were gripped and put into a box. Someone looked into the box and the hamsters tumbled over each other, screaming, because that creature had so much fur on his head! They were carried away and found themselves in some small room. There was murmur, the sound of a closing door – and silence. The situation was hopeless, they were prisoners.

 

“Yea, yea”, chief Botchy cheered, “isn’t it great? I was right! I told you it is a trap and it was a trap indeed!”

 

In spite of this wonderful news the spirits were low of course and about an hour later even the chief stopped cheering and boasting. There were first outspoken ideas that the mayor should take some action.

 

“Erm, Dodo-gator, hum… Navi-Dodo! Location!”

 

“I haven’t any with me, Mr. Mayor”, the big hamster said, blushing.

 

“Why, that’s really a pity”, the mayor mused. “And have you any idea at least where we are?”

 

“But certainly, Mr. Mayor, that’s my job! We are within a box of about 15 by 15 inches!”

 

“Erm, hum, yes, thanks, dear Gaga – er – Dingus.”

 

The mayor realized that further questions made no sense. He leaned at the wall of the box and pondered. His team now expected some solution and he was quite certain that he could offer none.

 

“Er, yes, so let’s so to say fume up the macs – er – sum up the facts. We find ourselves in a 15 x 15 inch Gogo – er – dingus-box. – What does this tell us?”

 

“The box, Mr. Mayor? It doesn’t tell us anything.”

 

“Yes, fine, Dodo, thank you. But as I always will have had useless – er – use to say: We have been in more critical situations before…”

 

“O yes? Such as?”

 

The mayor sat brooding, the hamsters’ mood was rock-bottom.

 

“We after all got out of ol’ Shredder’s box…”

 

“So we did, Goldi”, Flecki retorted, “but there had been rain.” She looked up to the ceiling. “I guess rain is very rare in here. Do you have other clever ideas?”

 

“For sure”, Goldi grinned. “What’s lying at the beach – singing to a shell?”

 

“Hum, the mayor perhaps in a fit of summer-sun-beach?” Flecki proposed.

 

“Can’t be”, Dodo said after thinking deeply, “he isn’t at the beach, I’ve just seen him…”

 

“Now tell us”, Hamstilidamst urged, while Flecki banged her head to the floor, “what is lying at the beach and singing to a shell?”

 

“That’s clear as daylight”, Goldi cried. “A star…fish!”

 

For a moment the little rodents forgot their troubles but when the last laughter had died down, they felt miserable again.

 

“And now, what shall we do now?”

 

“How should I know?” Botchy barked. “You are the navi-Dodo! Well, what now, dummy? What shall we do now? How shall we get out of here?”

 

“Well, I have to think about that, Boss…”

 

“But certainly, dear Dodo, do so! We’ve got all the time in the world! Proposals?”

 

The last word was directed to all the hamsters and they immediately became busy. Everyone was much occupied or faked to be brooding over some solution, being most close to it. There, an harrumph, and all eyes were on Dodo.

 

“We take the space ship…”

 

“So why don’t we take the car, you dumbfool?!” the chief shouted. “How shall we get there?”

 

“Oh, Boss, do we have a car? If so, we might…”

 

While the rest of Dodo’s speech was drowned in the furious roaring of Botchy who wanted to fall on the escaping hamster, Flecki shouted: “Just a minute, do save your power for a moment! If we can get one of us over the edge of the box…

 

“That’s it”, Goldi nodded. “Thinking about a small light hamster and two big, strong hamsters…”

 

“Yes”, cried Flecki, “the two big, strong hamsters take the small, light hamster and catapult him over the box edge. Arriving on the other side, the small, light hamster hurries to our space ship and brings it here, lands within the box – and off we are!”

 

“A wise and feasible idea”, Botchy nodded and threw a glance at Trample who had fled into a corner of the box. “Dodo and I will take the part of catapulting to bring a small, light hamster over the edge of the box.”

 

“What”, Taty remarked, “if that small, light hamster is not able to steer a space ship?”

 

“We’ve got transmitters”, the chief replied, rubbed his paws and looked towards Trample.

 

“But what”, Tealeafy remarked with a smile, “if the small, light hamster does not survive the impact on the opposite side?”

 

“Or if the small, light hamster is shot by the guards?” Tealeafy reminded them.

 

“Well, erm… We will need the next volunteer, so to say by force. I so to say should love to volunteer as small, light hamster but after close scrutiny… er… er…”

 

“That’s okay”, Tuffy purred, “it’s not going to be some paunch-hurling…”

 

“Well, what now?” Botchy aggressively shouted. “Dodo and I will prepare the sling. All we need is the small, light hamster, ha ha ha…”

 

“Volunteering of course”, the mayor added and all eyes turned towards Trample. “So the volunteer has to be small and light…”

 

“No!” Trample whimpered.

 

“O yes”, chief Botchy smirked, “you answer the profile, chap. Congratulations!”

 

“Yes, right a lucky hamster!” Tealeafy cried while Goldi approached wailing Trample and patted his shoulder:

 

“I do envy you, you have the task to be our super-hero. Always remember that super-hamster would be proud of you in case you survive.”

 

“By the way, do us the favour not to be too noisy when landing on the other side. We do not wish the guards to take notice of us, do we?”

 

“Bravery and resolution”, the mayor added – quite unasked – to the sympathetic word of the chief, “often are more important than the single being. So to say to point out what I mean I want to tell you a story so that bravery and execution, erm…”

 

“No”, Trample whimpered, “no stories! Just hurl me! I want to have done with all this!”