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Chapter 28


"I can't stand it any longer. I want to get out here!" Flecki had sulkily retreated into a corner of the suitcase and drawn a sock over her delicate nose.

"It's a shame", Taty agreed. "After the bath we had been so beautifully clean and shining. Now we are looking like pigs!" "Indeed, dear hamster friends, we should send a delegation to the guide. Only immediate discussion will better the situation because as I several times indicated…"
"Ey, this banana is quite fresh", Goldi interrupted the mayor. "Anybody take a bite?"

Nobody replied and the reason was obvious. Rubbish of all kind can be found in a bin lorry and many a hamster saw his chance. All over the place small booths had been installed and a variety of things was offered. Beside a stall with spare parts there was one with antiques and in a little distance a snack-stall offering leftovers of meals. But this small market unfortunately ended soon. When the lorry set moving, all booths tumbled about. Now of course everybody fought with everybody about the question of ownership. Chief Botchy tried to reconcile them but gave this up when a lemon peel hit his head. This was the mayor's hour! He climbed onto the highest rubbish heap and shouted:

"Dear hamster-friends, I think it is time to pause and reflect. Tolerance and charity, dear friends, are not only the yardstick of life but also…"

He did not get further. When he started to speak a coffee filter had missed him, but now a foul tomato hit him right in the face. Bravely he got up again and tried to continue his speech but a well aimed apple brought him down for good. Now there was no stopping, a real battle started. Groceries came flying, small furniture and everything which could be thrown. All hamsters were completely beside themselves, except of course Flecki and Taty who were still sitting in their suitcase and watching the matter, shaking their heads.

"Incredible, outrageous", Flecki cried. "Look", she said to Taty, "even the mayor takes part. It's a shame!"

She turned to Taty but Taty was no longer there. Then Flecki could see how Taty threw a foul carrot at chief Botchy’s head so that he rolled down the rubbish heap. Flecki was shocked, stuck her head out of the suitcase and yelled: “You should be ashamed! That’s no behaviour for a hamster!”

Next moment a banana peel hit her face and she fell headlong out of the suitcase. That had been Goldi’s missile! Full of revenge, she took an old pen and tried to prick Goldi’s bum. But suddenly the lorry braked sharply, all hamsters tumbled over each other and the battle was over.

“McClown, you are braking like a fool. Do you want my denture to fall out of my face?”
“I’m sorry, Sir, but I don’t know the way.”

A few minutes earlier they had crossed Loch Leven and after a long left turn of the A82 they were reaching the town of Glencoe. “To the left, the right, or straight on, Sir?” the butler asked.
McShredder thought.
“Keep to the left, McClown. The police will think us to be on the main road to be quicker.”
“Which police?” the butler grinned. “Those following us for bill-dodging or those following us for car theft?”

Lord McShredder did not think it necessary to answer this question. They now had reached a small side road with Loch Leven to their left.

“Sir, a while ago I saw a sign which said: Dogs and Campbells - keep out. What is a Campbell, Sir?”
His Lordship looked at the butler as if he had said something very, very silly.
“McClown, you do not know the Campbells?”
“No, Sir, should I do so?”
“McClown, you are a boor and will always be. Well, a short time ago, it was in 1692, the famous ‘Glencoe Massacre’ took place. Every second traditional in Scotland deals with it. The Campell Clan murdered half the McDonald Clan when they enjoyed the hospitality of the McDonalds. You never heard about that, McClown?”
“No, Sir, at that time I had not been born into the world, Sir.”

Suddenly the butler stopped and glared out to the road.

“Sir, if we follow this road, we’ll go back along the other bank of the lake.”

Milord pondered and took out his pipe. While he lit it he pointed to a nearby forest road and ordered the butler to park the lorry there. Then both got off and looked at the lorry’s hatch. How were they to open the heavy hatch without a tool? They had found a tool kit under the passenger seat but it was locked.

Helpless and downcast they climbed back into the driver’s cab. Slowly dusk fell and while Lord McShredder took off his shoes to prepare for the night, McClown’s glance fell to the keys which were still in the ignition. All of a sudden he realized that they would have spared themselves a lot of trouble if they had been a little clever.