The time is due for another excerpt from one of my…er…fabulous...Hamster-Sapiens books. It has been a while since I last entertained you with a snippet from this book...
…so it seems logical to do that right now. And here it is – and chosen entirely at random by pure chance…
Horatio became aware that Beryl was tugging at his sleeve, but tried to ignore it. So Beryl was left with no alternative but to knock off his novelty fedora if she wanted to gain his attention. So she did, and it worked wonderfully.
“I’m not native.” She whispered, “Who is that pompous ass-hole from which distain drips from every pore?”
Acknowledging the indisputable truth that Beryl wasn’t going to remain quiet unless Horatio gave her the information she required, the trepidatious young hamster decided to acquiesce to her demands.
“His name is Henderson Dangerpimple.” He spoke as quickly as he thought Beryl’s brain could assimilate the information, “He is a professor of Pox and Pustules at Chunderford University. He was the owner of the seafront fondant shop in the same town. Unfortunately his shop was destroyed by a mini-tsunami caused by a huge propeller that fell into the sea from the airship Dragon Slayer.”
Beryl was confused. “And he blames you for it?
“I was one of the passengers.” Horatio shrugged his shoulders, but instantly regretted the act lest the subtle movement reveal his location to the ethereal sniper.
“But still,” Beryl persisted, “that seems a little unreasonable.”
“Well I stole his wife too.” Horatio added slightly shamefaced. “They’d only been married a few hours. They hadn’t even consummated the union. But it wasn’t my fault: I had a really snotty allergy: An allergy to life without Colleen Slapper it turned out. So I told her that I loved her, begged her to leave Henderson, and she did. Now he hates me. I guess I can understand his motivation.”
“Is that tale in your autobiography?” Beryl inquired. “If it isn’t it should be.”
“Yes.” Horatio turned to regard the female beside him, “Haven’t you read it properly?”
“Not everything.” It was Beryl’s turn to look shamefaced, “Only the rude bits when you talk about your massive scrotum and suchlike. I just like to browse when I read.”
Horatio nodded. Once again he found himself capable of understanding the motivation of someone else – and it made him feel good. The Horatio Horseblanket Chronicles did run to three volumes after all. And there was the illustrated version too of course: That even included the famous photograph of his personal area that appeared on the cover of The Bucktooth Times. “Yes.” He said, “So I imagine that you’ve read all about how the President of Europe had a Particularly Popular Peoples Party pamphlet inserted into my anus and then set alight?”
“Oh yes.” Beryl assured Horatio, “It’s one of my favourite bits. And the episode where the famous Hamster-French three-wheeled go-kart race, Norbert Disentangle bit you in the…”
But Horatio was no longer listening: Instead he was regarding the TV monitor as a
cascade of whooshes and fizzles gave way to an actual picture…
“Yeah.” An unknown pilot yelled as he struggled with the controls of a recalcitrant military dirigible, “He’s my first-born. I named him after the first thing that I saw when I entered the delivery room in the hospital. His name is Legsakimbo.”
Further conversation with an unseen comrade was interrupted as the airship bucked and yawed in the turbulent night air.
Below searchlights scanned the heavens – sweeping across the night sky like photonic brooms. Every so often anti-dirigible explosives would be sent hurtling into the air from gigantic catapults – to cause mayhem and consternation amongst the crews that flew high above enemy territory.
“Legsakimbo Dangerpimple?” the comrade struggled from somewhere aft in the gondola with a huge cup of tea and a slice of lemon drizzle cake for the pilot. “That sounds almost exotic – like something from Deepest Jungle Land or somewhere similar.”
“Totally accidental I assure you, old chap.” The pilot gratefully accepted the gift of delicious comestibles, and began stuffing his face.
The comrade checked his fob watch. “Hmmm.” He muttered, “I think I’ll check with Marius: We should be just about there by now.”
But he didn’t need to. Instead a voice crackled over the intercom…
“This is Marius Moonvictim, Skipper: Time that we said ‘bye-bye’.”
“Roger that.” The pilot responded into a huge brass microphone that hung above his pilot’s seat. He then clicked on a radio transceiver. “This is Pilot Officer Brandenberg Dangerpimple to base. We’re having some difficulty with our navigator. Request permission to break off the attack, over.”
“Your navigator?” A distant voice floated in and out of audible range, “What the fluff’s wrong with Moonvictim this time? Over.”
Dangerpimple didn’t hesitate to lie. “Bad case of the shits, I’m afraid, over.”
It took a few seconds for the distant voice to become audible again, but when it did, the owner sounded exasperated.
“Tell him to hold it in, and get on plotting your course. The target for this bombing raid was chosen by the Prince himself personally.”
“Too late, base.” Dangerpimple couldn’t help but smile wickedly as he spoke, “I’m afraid that he’s soiled the navigation equipment. When we get back it’ll need a complete overhaul. We’re virtually flying blind up here. I think we can just about make it to the emergency landing tower at Mollusk by dead-reckoning if we turn back now. If we try to continue – then I think that we’d probably get horrendously lost, and fly right off the edge of the world. Over”
He knew that this last line was a certain winner. He needed only wait a paw-full of seconds before a radio acknowledgement was received.
“Right’o, Marius.” He shouted, “Plot us a course for you-know-where.”
He heard a laugh in response. “Already plotted and on the board, Skipper.”
And Brandenberg Dangerpimple’s response to that was a sharp twist of the wheel to starboard, and the instruction to his nearby comrade, “Okay, Flight Sergeant Binge Tanning: You know the ropes: Prepare for borders.”
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013