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Chapter 24

At the Hotel - Part 4

"Enjoy it?" Frido McClown grumbled. "You said we'll enjoy it? The last three days we've been slaving from dawn to dusk."
"McClown, you are never satisfied. We've got a roof over our heads and warm meals. A little work will not kill you."
Milord was sitting on an old bucket and watched his butler painting the last part of the hotel's back wall with white paint. The front wall they had painted yesterday and now the hotel shone in new splendour. However, McClown had no eye for all this beauty because by now His Lordship remembered his rheumatism and that he needed a long break. So McClown had to do the work all alone.

"Sir, if we are finished here, we have to repair the roof and paint all rooms. I can't go on!"

At this moment the porter came with a large bowl and placed it I front of milord.

"Potatoes, Sir. In spite of your rheumatism you should be able to peel these potatoes. Please do it accurately."

Milord took the knife the porter had given him and looked at it. When the porter had left the room he chucked it to the floor.

"You are right, McClown. This kind of work is unworthy for a lord. Contrary to you, however, I possess a lot of brain and worked out a plan of escape."
"Escape, Sir?"
"Escape, McClown. 7.47 tomorrow morning a bus is leaving for Corran. We will take it. From Corran we'll leave with the ferry." "But Sir, how are we to escape through the entrance hall without being noticed?"
"There, there, McClown", McShredder crowed, "you only think with your feet and not with your head. That's why you are a butler and not lord. See that our wheelchair unobtrusively stays outside overnight. Think of something. After breakfast we will escape."

The butler indeed did not find it difficult to think of something. After he had spilled a lot of paint over the wheelchair and worked on it with some stinking cleanser, he could leave it in front of the door for airing without arousing suspicion.
In the evening they sat together in the small chamber they had been given two days before. It was beside the kitchen and furnished sparsely. Two beds and an old wardrobe was all they had. Meals were meagre and McClown had the suspicion that they got the leftovers of the few hotel guests' meals. He was quite fed up with working here any longer. Certainly he was used to labour under milord's orders from morning to night, but it never was as bad as here. Yesterday he had to wash the dishes until deep into the night and when he had finished that the brushes had to be cleaned of paint. At this time His Highness had already been snoring as he was only willing to do the most necessary things - due to his rheumatism. The butler sighed and went to the suitcase with his little hamster friends.

"Don't worry, my little ones", he whispered. "Tomorrow morning we will be free again!" Then he lay down on his bed and soon was asleep.
"What does that mean now", Taty scolded. "Why does nobody care for us? All day long we are hanging around here and nobody minds us."

"And hardly anything to eat", Goldi protested. "We should see that we are off!"
"You didn't listen, silly", Flecki said. "The kind man just said that we'll be free tomorrow morning."
"So he said", the mayor confirmed. "Dear hamsters, tomorrow we will be free again. We'll belong to ourselves, as the old Celts used to say. Of course one or the other will ask: What does 'free' mean? Well, my dear friends, that means nothing but being free. As I mentioned above…"
"Who'll come to the kitchen with me?" Goldi interrupted the fluent speech of the mayor. "A little something now would be quite something, wouldn't it?"

When the mayor looked about him, he found himself alone in the room. That is, the only hamster in the room as McShredder and McClown were sweetly sleeping in their beds. With a shrug, the lonely mayor turned to the two sleeping men and tripped a few paces closer. When he was between the two beds, he stretched his arms and said:
"Gentlemen, you are certainly interested to know my opinion on the matters in detail and in general, me being a hamster occupying the responsible position of a mayor. I am delighted to see you so numerously gathered. Please be assured that you will not be sorry of coming, because I, as you certainly…"

So, while the mayor was really happy to talk to an audience not able to escape him, the other hamsters had reached the kitchen. With a cheering "Yarooh!" one hamster after the other skidded over the smooth surface into the sink. When the last one had arrived in the sink, they faced a problem.

"And what now?" Chief engineer Botchy was the first one to see the problem. "How do we get out of this?"

Silence and long faces was all the answer he got. Their own stupidity had imprisoned them. Desperately the hamsters tried to climb up the smooth walls of the sink. They did not succeed. Then they made another attempt by climbing upon each other, but the ground of the sink simply was too slippery. Every time the bottommost hamster slipped and they all toppled down. So they spent a boring night in a boring sink.