Long before those nauseatingly fabulous earplugs appeared on the scene, my comedic desires were assuaged by stories about sentient hamsters that lived in a parallel universe to our own. Hence the Hamster-Sapiens series of e-books.
On this momentous occasion I’ve elected to share with you an excerpt from The Psychic Historian.
It was clear from Freda Bludgeon’s appearance that time had passed in the green valley where the famous author lived in her stone-built cottage. Now her grey muzzle perfectly matched the low cloud that hung above the valley like a menacing oil spill. Her clothes had become worn, and the previously bright white net curtains that hid the interior of the house from nosey passers-by were dull and splattered with the detritus of years.
Freda, herself, was trying desperately to write her latest best-seller, but it was obvious that she had been stricken with the nastiest case of writer’s-block since the invention of the written word.
“Oh woe is me.” She cried plaintively as she flung aside her tatty, almost useless, typewriter, “Until I can feel my belly full once more I swear that I cannot write another word.”
Any other complaints and utterances of self-pity were put aside when there came a knock at the door.
“Who is it?” she called.
“Get up off yer skinny arse; answer the door; and you’ll find out – won’t you.” The gruff reply pierced the thick wooden door that barred the cold, blustery, day from entering like a head-hunter’s spear.
The voice belonged to Izzy Ekaslike – the local postal delivery person. For a moment the thought of what Izzy might have in the bottom of his satchel gave Freda reason to hope. ‘Is it possible that he might be delivering a royalty cheque?’ She thought it unlikely – especially since everyone was so poor now that not a single book had sold in the last year – anywhere throughout the entire land of Hamster-Britain.
‘But there’s always overseas sales.’ She thought, ‘Not every country has adopted the environmental concerns, and legislated new anti-pollution laws that my endless campaigning has managed to push through parliament, and which now cripples the country’s industry and farmers to such an extent that they’re no longer competitive in the world market.’
“Be right there.” She said chirpily.
Izzy Ekaslike stood and dripped in the doorway as Freda opened the door to him.
“Izzy.” Freda said by way of welcome.
“Miss Bludgeon.” The miserable-looking male hamster replied politely – if a little curtly.
“Do you have a little something for me?” Freda inquired.
Izzy held secret feelings for Freda, so he was surprised, and slightly thrilled, by the question.
“How’d ya mean?” he inquired in turn. “What – in me trousers, ya mean?”
Freda, for all her fame, was no female-of-the-world. “Your trousers?” she looked puzzled. “Has your satchel developed a hole in it?”
Izzy’s shoulders slumped. He knew it had been too good to be true. Famous authors never had sexual intercourse with postal delivery people: It was a well-known fact. “Yeah,” he said, even more grumpily than usual, “It’s a letter.”
With that he flung an envelope across the threshold; turned away abruptly; mounted his push-along-scooter – which Freda noticed no longer bore any tyres upon its tiny wheels – and made off at his best speed, which was actually very slow, due in no small part to the fact the road was nothing more than potholes held together by short stretches of tarmac.
Moments later Freda had returned to her pantry, and was tearing the envelope open with her incisors. It had been weeks since anyone had bothered to contact her, and she was shaking with the excitement of anticipation.
When, after she’d managed to calm her trembling paws, Freda had battled her way past the arsenic-laced seal, the cheese wire wrapping, and the small incendiary device inside, Freda’s eyes pored over the attached letter. In the brief moments before her solitary oil lamp stuttered into extinction she managed to decipher the opening lines: They read…
Dear Miss Bludgeon, you are an utter bastard. I hate you with all my heart. When the time comes for you to die, I hope it is long and protracted, and gives you the opportunity to reflect upon your actions, which have been instrumental in destroying the fabric of life in Hamster Britain. If it was physically possible for a minge to fall off – I hope your does. Or at least get horribly infected. Due to your stupid environmental interference I have lost everything, – my company, my family, my self respect, and, most importantly, my great wealth. Recently I was forced to sell one of my kidneys to one of the few rich people left in this benighted country, and the larger of my testicles to scientific research – merely to buy a loaf of bread and some fuel to power my lawn mower. Worse still is the fact that I am one of your biggest fans. This winter I have found it necessary to burn my entire collection of your mystery novels – not because I now hate your work, but because it is the only way to heat the tiny garden shed that I now call home. If Springtime doesn’t arrive soon I’ll have to burn all your self-help and sex guides. After they’re gone I don’t know what I’ll do. I can’t even nail up an electrical socket without literary aid: And quite what I’ll find to do with my willy confounds me. But that’s all by-the-by: The point of this letter is…
To say that Freda was shocked was possibly the understatement of the year. She was more than shocked. In fact she was so shocked that she had to run to toilet, which was fortuitous because she kept an early prototype Timmy the Twonk Engine wind-up torch on top of the cistern for situations just like this. Winding the handle on the side of the torch for all she was worth, Freda dropped her knickers, sat her withered buttocks down as comfortably as possible (which was difficult because the toilet seat had broken during an autumn storm, and she was yet to find the fiscal resources to replace it), and settled herself to read the remainder of the letter.
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013
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