Chapter 12

 

Well now

 

Between the magazine in the harbour of Ullapool a tiny space ship was landing, containing a load of hamsters, laughing, bawling, and almost dying of fun. Had some passer-by watched this, he would have shaken his head on the question “Is there intelligent life in space?” We at least know the truth.

 

“Oops, Dodo, that was a good one”, Goldi cackled. “Look, over there if the ferry to Finland.”

 

Thoughtfully the big hamster looked at the Stornoway-ferry and it somehow dawned to him that some time ago they had been here already. Now they alighted from the vessel and while the mayor prepared a speech in his small head, chief Botchy walked up to the wall of the magazine. When he found the spot where for the first time they had met Daby and the BANTACH-people, he beckoned Dodo.

 

“Now we’ve got to work with the head, my… er… dear navigator. Lean forward, will you?”

 

“Oh, I can’t watch that!” Flecki gasped.

 

“Yea”, Goldi agreed. “Doozie! He uses Dodo’s nob as a ram to open the wall. Quite a fashion of thanks for his navigation services.”

 

“Snortlington!” they heard Botchy roaring. “Copenhagen! I’ll show you Wallington, you ninny-hammer, you no-navi!”

 

“But, Boss, we don’t want to go there… O-o-o-ow!”

 

“Gentlemen”, the mayor now interfered, “you can’t go on like this!”

 

“Right you are, Mr. Mayor”, the chief panted, “come and lend me a hand!”

 

This moment the brick moved against which Botchy had hammered Dodo’s head. They all took a step back. The brick was pulled in and two spits appeared in the opening.

 

“Password, please!” came a snarling voice.

 

The mayor stepped forward. “Well, we are so to say a Hamsterton delegation and wish to talk to the president who is so to say, if I may mention it, my own brother…”

 

“O yes”, came a voice through the gap. “We do recognize you!”

 

“Bodes nothing well”, Taty said to his brother.

 

“As you should know, your brother is not here. However, you may talk with President Daby…”

 

“Fonderwull – er – wonderful!” the mayor cried. “Concerning that we are here!”

 

The hamster troop was allowed through the gap and looked around. Nothing had changed here, not the outer appearance at least. They were guided by the two guards to the BANTACH-office box. They turned left and turned right until they reached the spot were once before they had waited for admittance.

 

One of the guards asked the hamsters to wait and knocked at the big office door of President Daby.

 

“Not now!” came a shout from inside. “I’m in the last but one level and have to shoot 5 bubbles and 2 stars! Leave me alone! Get you gone!”

 

“A delegation from Hamsterton has just arrived, Madam President!”

 

There was a distinct curse and the tune of a shutting down computer. Then there was some rumbling and the clanking of falling CD-covers – as Goldi expertly noticed.

 

“Just a minute, I have to put away some secret documents!” came the voice from the president’s office.

 

“I hope there’s something to eat soon”, Goldi remarked. “They say there are some first rate restaurants around here. As it is, matters get critical, we did not even take an emergency ration…”

 

“To you, emergency ration mean a full fridge!” Flecki hissed and then the door opened.

 

“Well now, I did not expect you at all. What a surprise! Come in, what my I offer to you?”

 

“Oh, there’s lot…”

 

“I’m sure of that, my dear Goldi. However, first things first. First thing I’d like to know how you arrived here this time.”

 

“Well now, my dear Daby, that’s strictly secret as we do not wish to see it in all newspapers tomorrow…”

 

“Understood”, Daby nodded, “neither would I give any information about the place of our supplies…”

 

“However”, Goldi quickly put in, “I’m all for absolute frankness! And for our mutual interests…”

 

“I quite got that one”, President Gaby grinned and made a sign to the guards.

 

When after some time the guards returned with an abundance of food, the cosy part of the day started with hours of chatting, munching and being lazy. So even this journey of the hamsters had found a happy ending. Up to Ullapool at last because now hard work was waiting for them, as Daby stressed. Most detailed the president wanted to know how matters lay to get a clear picture of the situation.

 

“Well, that lazy caretaker and that paw-licker Fuzzy I should send home”, she thoughtfully began. “The senior officer does not seem to be that bad… Er, Mr. Botchy, would you mind stopping to gnaw away the armrest of that chair?”

 

“I just can’t stand that blithering idiot”, Botchy bawled. “I’ll draw his cork right away if he doesn’t stop bullying me!”

 

“That’s why we shall integrate him, my dear chief! He now longer will be a nuisance – but of use to us.”

 

“Well, well”, the mayor harrumphed, “we – er – esteem the trouble you take, Madam President. However, as to the monetary section of the so to say deficit household situation…”

 

“Well, yes, I know you are broke, but completely broke”, Daby remarked. “Only drastic measures will help there.”

 

“Cancel down food?”

 

“Not exactly, Goldi, but close to it. Remains only one person whom I think to be able to administrate the realization of the measures as to controlling payments for the erection of the exhibition: the chief accountant, that numbers hamster.”

 

“Erm… not my niece?”

 

“Dowdy Buzzer?” the president retorted. “She did not have a holiday for sometime, did she? She is stressed and immediately gets a special holiday. If we are lucky she will not return.”

 

“Erm… Is that rather too drastic, my dear Mrs. Presidingus?”

 

“Well now, my dear Mayor, do you want to get out of the debt trap or not? I’ll pack my suitcase now and we’ll fly to Hamsterton!”

 

“What about the mayor? Any drastic measures?” Tealeafy grinned when some time later the tiny space ship was over Loch Broom and slowly took up speed.

 

“If I understood you correctly, the town hall is completely empty anyway, isn’t it?” On her words the mayor gave a start. “Well now, so the location of the planned exhibition is obvious, isn’t it? Room, furniture, even electrical connections are there in abundance. Products can be shown there, everything is sheltered from wind and weather.”

 

“And… my office?” the mayor croaked, wiping some sweat from his face.

 

“That will be the communication centre, Mayor. Something you can manage! You will welcome the many visitors and may hold several nice speeches. You can’t do much wrong there!” Daby explained, something like a grin on her face.

 

Beneath them majestic Loch Ness came into view and the space ship moved towards Dundee in direct course. When they reached the small port at the Firth of Tay and Dodo insisted that this was Hamburg, Daby made him sort the maps according to size. By this the big hamster felt so stressed that the chief could lay in the course without any ado and switch to autopilot.

 

Right in the middle of Hamsterton’s main street the gerbil-ship landed and with high speed the hamster troop raced through Hamsterton. By a massive police block they were stopped. Instead the hearty welcome they expected, they found themselves surrounded by police hamsters and when Botchy got out of the ship, he was shouted at:

 

“Didn’t you see the sign with the speed limit?”

 

“How d’you think I’m to read at this speed?” the chief shouted back and when now the mayor scrambled through the hatch, the policemen realized that they did not deal with any hooligans.

 

As matter of fact, the policemen rather looked liked hooligans themselves: unmotivated, without payment for weeks, some of them wore colourful headbands, others stickers with the inscription: ‘Hand over your money – the police!’ Others carried axes or even slingshots as they no longer had ammunition. Thoughtfully the BANTACH-President looked at this mob of peace officers, then she beckoned Flecki:

 

“They are not really dressed by the textbook. Could you see to it that in future they look y little more presentable?”

 

“I’d love that of all things”, Flecki grinned and at once took up her work.

 

“Chief”, Daby now turned to Botchy, “will it be possible to rebuild the town hall into an exhibition palace without razing it to the ground?”

 

“Madam President, you ask too much, that requires completely new technology!” Taty and Tealeafy cried with a laugh and also Daby could not hide grin.

 

“Well”, Botchy grumped, scratching his head, “I’d need some clever people for that…”

 

“You’ve got them, Boss, haven’t you?”

 

Botchy ogled at Dodo, shook his head and said no more.

 

“All right, Mr. Mayor, that leaves only one: the chief accountant. We will sit down with him now talking over financing!”

 

The mayor opened his mouth to say something smart but then he shut his mouth again and waddled behind the president into the town hall like a good mayor.

 

“Well, the show’s on! There’s nice work to do now, Dodo, what do you say?” Tealeafy grinned.

 

“Nice? Er, that makes me remember…”

 

“Please don’t!” Hamstilidamst groaned.

 

“Oh, come on, give him a chance”, Taty cackled. “Well, what do you remember when talking about ‘nice’?”

 

“Well, there once were two mouses”, Dodo started – Tealeafy already rolled on the ground. He slowly continued. “And a cat. And the mouses asked the cat: ‘Why are you so fat, cat?’ and the cat replied: ‘From eating lice, mice.’”