Cricetinae Fictionem – or Something Like That: 24

It has been quite a while since I posted an extract from one of these books…

They are, of course, the almost legendary Hamster-Sapiens series. And on this occasion I have chosen a random extract from – Fanfare for the Common Hamster.

Rootley was almost half way back to his disgusting hovel upon the hill when he gasped, and halted his forward progress with such suddenness that Brother Alfonso tripped over him, and Margarita was forced into a rapid avoidance manoeuvre that resulted in the heir to the throne of Sponx being thrown from his saddle and badly damaging the plume that usually danced gaily upon the top of his shiny brass helmet.

“Shit,” Margarita exclaimed. She then added, “Whatta ya make me do that for, ya damned fool hamster? I could have done someone a serious injury!”

“It’s Joan:” Rootley replied as he heaved the bulk of a confused Brother Alfonso from him, “She’s in danger. We have to go back.”

“And you know this to be true because?” Darkwood’s voice did nothing to disguise his annoyance at having to replace his plume with something of an altogether inferior material. But of course he already knew the answer: It was Rootley’s personal ‘talent’.

“Can you be more precise?” Brother Alfonso enquired as he straightened his vast snout.

“Cold.” Rootley replied, “A terrible, terrible cold.”

“Well, heck and humdingery,” Margarita exclaimed rather too loudly for the situation, “didn’t she mention working in some place that lived in eternal winter? Hey that must mean she made it home, then got into some kind ‘a bind”.

Well it didn’t take more than a moment for the new found friends to realise that there was only one course of action to take.

“To the sewer outlet, I command thee.” Darkwood bellowed in his most royal voice. “Joan, the walker between worlds, needs our help!”

Naturally Rootley, being small and nimble, soon found himself chosen to edge into the obsidian stench of the sewer outlet. As he did so he called out Joan’s name. He tried calling in various tones – from a surprisingly resonant bass, to a shrill soprano that hurt the awaiting Margarita’s ears and made Brother Alfonso’s nose bleed. But in response – save for the constant dripping of foetid water from the curved brick ceiling – all that Rootley’s sensitive ears could detect was silence. So, reaching out with both paws before him, Rootley plunged forward with the abandon normally associated with gay gerbils – and was immediately lost in echoes.

It was so cold inside Freezer Three that Joan’s brain had almost ceased to function. Fortunately she had found the wisdom to clamber inside a large empty cardboard box, thrust her paws between her thighs, and then insert her tail into her rectum before becoming semi-comatose. But even in this state her will to live supplied her ears with sufficient energy to listen for clues to salvation. First one pricked up, quickly followed by the other as Rootley’s muffled voice could be heard calling her name.

‘Hmmm’, she thought, ‘that resonant bass is quite pleasant: But I’m not sure about the soprano: It could shatter ice.’

Then her brain reactivated properly. This was no time for hibernation: Help was on its way.

Rootley was overjoyed to hear Joan calling his name. “This way, Joan,” he called, “Follow my voice.”

He then continued to utter similar inanities until suddenly Joan’s paw materialised from the wall before him. He didn’t see it of course; but in the heat of the moment he’d quite neglected to theorise the potentiality of irregularities within the topography of the different worlds. So naturally it was Rootley’s testicles that Joan’s flaying paw encountered first, and which solicited a yelp of such intensity that it startled her so badly that she lost her grip upon the icy floor inside Freezer Three, and tumbled back into the medieval land of Prannick – and the relative warmth of stale piss.

© Paul Trevor Nolan

Naturally the ribald Hamster-Sapiens series remains available as e-books at many outlets, including those important ones mentioned on the side bar and beneath the header. They’re very nice, and you really should buy all five of them. You wouldn’t be the first to do so, you know: you’re in good company.


Cricetinae Fictionem – or Something Like That: 17

Long before those delectable earplugs appeared upon the scene, my comedic desires were pleasantly assuaged by stories about sentient hamsters that lived in a parallel universe to our own. Hence the Hamster-Sapiens series of e-books.

So, on this seventeenth attempt to invite you to join the Hamsterista of the world, I bring you an excerpt from Danglydong Dell Diaries.

It must have been an hour or more later when Tits remembered why they’d entered the bar. She was now thoroughly sated, and her belly almost protruded as much as her namesakes. Joan was in a similar position. Brother Alfonso, unused to alcohol, could barely form a coherent thought. Dung giggled stupidly into the bottom of his glass. And Brenda was asleep on the floor, with her tail wrapped about her like a hibernating dormouse. Dragging herself up from her seat in a cosy ‘snug’, the large breasted female approached the bar.

Kendrick looked up from wiping some glasses. “Ah-ha, fair female, do’est thou require a top up?”

Tits tried to shake her head, but it began to spin, so she gave up. “Um, not right now, thank you.” She tried curtsying again, but her knees buckled, and she fell upon a stool.

“What I’d really like is a little information.” She said as she righted herself, and then slumped against the bar.

Although a charming and gregarious character that treated all of his patrons with utmost equanimity, Kendrick couldn’t help but have a lustful eye for females who were constructed to his preferred configuration. Or to put it another way – he had a hankering for girls with big boobies.

“Ah-ha.” He boomed at a level of audibility several decibels lower than was normal for him, and which he probably thought sounded conspiratorial, “So t’is information you’re wanting, is it? How much are you prepared to pay for this information? Would a peck on the cheek sound unreasonable?”

For someone who was reasonably inebriated, Tits was remarkably fleet of thought. “Face or bum?” She said with a girlish grin.

“Oh, what a naughty female you are, you intoxicating wench from far away.” Kendrick’s tone had moderated even farther. “Poor Kendrick wishes only to lay his lips upon the delightful face of his most beautiful guest. Your bum I’d sooner grab with both paws. But more of that later: What is that you want to know?”

Tits described Tybrow Mooney as best she could. Having never seen the ghastly specimen, she had only the verbal picture that Joan had drawn of him with which to work.

“Tall and skinny, and looking more like a tailless rat than a hamster, you say? Kendrick rubbed is chin in thought. “That does sound familiar. And he used to own a tavern hereabouts?”

“I think it was called the Rancid Maggot Inn.” Tits told the helpful barkeeper.

Kendrick snapped his fingers. “I know the place.” He said almost as cheerfully as he might have yelled, “I’ve won the lottery!”

This time he actually lowered his voice to little more than a whisper, and Tits had to strain to catch his words over the general hubbub of the busy bar. “A bunch of weird eastern Europeans have taken it over. I think they might be desmons.”

“I’ve been told they’re bank voles.” Tits corrected him.

“Oh you might be right at that.” Kendrick tried to compare the two species in his mind’s eye. “I’ve also heard that they’re converting it into some sort of education centre – stroke – religious shrine to the former owner. Oh that’d be this Tybrow Mooney that you’re looking for. Odd, he doesn’t look very rat-like in the mural they’ve painted on the side wall. But that’s religious fervour for you: You can be blind to the truth, but still believe.”

Tits found that she liked this Kendrick Tweezledown. He was kindly, slightly lecherous, and possessed great insight and wisdom. He wasn’t that bad looking either

– especially for a mouse.

“Hmmm.” She agreed dreamily.

Kendrick looked at her. “Your pupils are dilating.” He said. “That means one of two things: I’m in with a real chance with you; or you’re too drunk to care.”

“A little of both I expect.” Tits mumbled as her head slumped closer to the bar top.

For the first time since she’d met him, Kendrick looked ill at ease – flustered even. “Do you think one of your friends can come and help prop you up. We’re not due to close for another hour, and I don’t think that you’re going to last the distance.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Cricetinae Fictionem – or Something Like That: 14

Long before those rumbustious earplugs appeared upon the scene, my comedic desires were pleasantly assuaged by stories about sentient hamsters that lived in a parallel universe to our own. Hence the Hamster-Sapiens series of e-books.

For this excerpt I have cunningly chosen a snippet from The Abduction of Wetpatch Wilson

Well naturally enough, after being thrown from his lobster-shaped saddle on several occasions, and having his antennae crushed against the ceiling repeatedly, the captain of the Federation Council Stealth Vessel S.S Bargebutt had no choice but to quickly regain control of his emotions. It took a while longer before he was as successful in recovering the ship from its headlong dive, but eventually the creaking submarine levelled off, and the egg sisters – Blur and Sprightly – released a simultaneous sigh of relief at having survived their own sabotage.

In the lounge meanwhile all was pandemonium. Several pirates had been knocked unconscious by the violence of the descent, and even Sally had managed to poke herself in the eye with a wayward nipple.

Ludwig was furious: Several energy weapons had discharged by accident, and the décor was in ruins. He was also in pain – due entirely to his own weapon discharging, and badly singeing his cod piece. Conversely Bootle had rode out the calamity inside Cringe’s multi-layered dress uniform very well, and now strode amongst the injured pirates, pressing his tiny heel against their private parts, and grinding them with all his might – which, unfortunately, wasn’t very mighty at all.

The aforementioned Cringe lay spread-eagled across the upturned sofa, and groaned quietly as his face began to puff up, and bruises appeared through his facial fur.

Only Wetpatch appeared unfazed by the situation. With the Mind-Cap still firmly attached to his head, he had passed through the maelstrom of furry agonies untouched. Rather like a drunk falling down stairs, Wetpatch’s disconnected body had rolled with the metaphysical punches. He had become limp and compliant. His limbs had become supple, and his flesh yielded to the demands made upon it in much the same way that wet soap slips from even the most tenacious grasp, disappears from view beneath the foamy water, and then mysteriously embeds itself inside the bather’s unsuspecting arse crack.

“Recalculating course changes required to arrive at the Crustacean Collective Council chambers.” Sally heard Wetpatch say to no one in particular.

At first the middle-aged catering assistant felt full of wonder at the child-hamster’s ability to navigate without instrumentation or any fore-knowledge of his destination. Then she realised that if Ludwig were to fall silent from all his teeth gnashing and incoherent roaring, he might overhear the youngster’s stupidly high-pitched voice. So she did what any quick-thinking rodent in such a situation would do: She whipped off her knickers, and stuffed them into Wetpatch’s mouth. Then, after making sure that Ludwig’s back remained turned to her, she knocked the Mind-Cap clean across the room with one mighty swing of her handbag, then chased after it, kicking it into submission, before depositing it in the waste reclamation chute.

Ho, meanwhile, had hidden inside the dumb-waiter that carried meals from the galley to the lounge. And because it was padded with aroma-sensitive insulation, he survived the encounter with near-death with nothing more than a scraped elbow where he’d caught it upon the door handle.

“Hey,” he cheered as he emerged, “we survive good. Well most of us anyway. If anyone interested – Ho cook celebratory dinner.”

In the security camera office, Roman, Amy, and Branston were only now regaining their unsteady legs. The Security staff did likewise, and for some while there was much prodding of damaged soft tissues followed by bitter complaint.

Although Roman remained somewhat shaken by recent events, Amy had the presence of mind to quickly check the multitude of monitors.

“What do you seek?” The diminutive Branston inquired, as he rubbed a swollen knee.

“The Disemboweller.” Amy gasped her reply. “If the transfer conduit was perforated, then it’s odds-on that Professor Desmond Squealch and his manservant, Tutu, succumbed to a most hideous death.”

But Amy needn’t have worried. Pirate submarine umbilicals were legendary for their strength and durability, and although looking battered to within a micron of serviceability, the pirate vessel remained both intact and attached to the Bargebutt. She breathed a sigh of relief: With Hamster Heath’s most famous inventor alive, they still stood a chance of returning home intact, and with their mission completed.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

What is your favourite e-book supplier? Don’t answer that; the question was rhetorical. I asked it, merely as an excuse to mention that this book (and others) are available at most suppliers, which probably includes your favourite. Check out the sidebar for access to some of the better-known ones. →

Cricetinae Fictionem – or Something Like That: 9

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

These magnificent e-books are available all over the place. For easy access to your chosen e-reader (or whatever) visit the book covers over there → on the side bar. Failing that, you can always click on the Lulu logo, or Google ‘Tooty Nolan Books‘.

Cricetinae Fictionem – or Something Like That: 8

Long before those inglorious 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.

This time I’d like you to study a wondrous excerpt from Fanfare for the Common Hamster

Finally, as evening drew on, they settled about the smoky fire and discussed a possible constitution for Prannick – once the power of The Wheel had been overthrown, of course.

“So tell me, Joan,” Darkwood spoke between draughts of a foul ale that they’d purchased from an inebriated chipmunk whom they encountered on the road that led towards Knackered Dobbin, and who was selling hot baked beans and treacle tarts to passers-by, “since you know Sponx is ruled by an absolute monarchy, and Prannick is a religious mono-culture, how well do you imagine that your land’s concept of democracy would fare in this obviously more culturally-primitive dimension?”

Joan’s reply was short and sweet. It was also a question.  “Capitalism, or Socialism?”

Darkwood pondered this subject for a moment. He then asked the obvious question, “Is there any real difference?”

Now if anyone had asked Joan this question just a paw-full of days previous, then it’s likely that she would have responded with, “You what? Socialism? Duh…” But the new Joan now used parts of her brain that hadn’t been dulled by an upbringing in the company of a moronic gerbil, and the ever-present aroma of custard. Just as Darkwood had done moments earlier, Joan too pondered the subject. When she spoke is was with precision and clarity…

“In ideology and theory – a difference so vast that it could lead to war:” She informed him, “But in practice – they are barely discernible. They’re both highly proficient in the art of corruption, but only one of them is capable of running a country long-term without bankrupting it or causing civil unrest. Well that’s if Hamster Britain’s government is anything to judge by. The same goes for dictatorships and police states: In the end you can’t tell one from the other. Except for cornflakes, of course: There’s always a greater choice of cornflakes and cereal-based products in states where free speech is the norm. Otherwise they’re much the same. Even the pornography looks remarkably similar. So I’ve been told: I’ve never actually indulged…”

She turned away to cover the brightening of skin beneath her youthful hamstery fur.

“Not doing well, are we Darkwood?” Rootley returned from prodding the smouldering fire, “In any case – aren’t we being a tad premature? We have the fluffin’ Wheel to overthrow first.”

“And I have a trabajo to find, if you recall.” Brother Alfonso spoke from inside a hammock that he’d fashioned from a huge sheet of muslin that was usually used for containing the village pudding, but had been washed and left outside to dry overnight by the village pudding maker, and which had been subsequently stolen by Brother Alfonso as he sauntered past en route from Lake Effluence to Rootley’s hovel, “As a monk my professional days are over.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Charming, wasn’t it? And intellectual too. You get everything in a Tooty Nolan book, you know!



Cricetinae Fictionem – or Something Like That: 7

Long before those silly-sod 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.

In this encounter with Hamster-Fiction, I invite you to view an excerpt from the final book, Danglydong Dell Diaries...

Of all those present in the audience in Danglydong Dell that night, only Algy Timber – the production manager at the Kool Kustard factory (which was located in the small industrial estate between the Green Mucus Home for Old Bastards, and the petrified forest) – recognised the tiny figure that now stepped upon the dais. He was scruffily dressed in a sackcloth jerkin; baggy woollen trousers; and a pair of rough, high-heeled, riding boots that easily gained him an extra ten percent of his true height. He was also a harvest mouse, and almost everyone there felt a vague sense of disgust at his appearance.

“Stubby Collett!” Algy roared with surprise, “What are you doing here?”

Algy’s wife, Mildred, tried to pull him back down into his seat. She feared that her husband might cause an embarrassing scene, and she didn’t like ‘scenes’: They gave her the hiccups.

‘Stubby’ waved to Algy in a most feminine manner, and what few fans he’d managed to muster in those opening seconds quickly withdrew their support. “Hiya, Algy.” He croaked in an equally unappealing voice.

Although Algy had told her all about him and their adventure together, and how Stubby had been shot in the chest by a crossbow bolt, and how magically he’d gained some pert young breasts, Mildred had never met Stubby Collett. The recollection was too overwhelming for her, and she did exactly what Algy was afraid she would: She fainted.

This simple act was probably fortuitous because what Stubby did next stunned almost everyone there. First his sackcloth jerkin changed into a pleasant winter poncho: The trousers transformed into a pair of the sheerest snow-leggings that anyone could ever recalling seeing: And the riding boots became elegant steel toe-capped builder’s sandals. Then his tail disappeared; breasts appeared upon his slender chest; and finally the harvest mouse was no longer a harvest mouse at all, but a beautiful young female hamster.

“Well bugger me,” Huck Ballesteroid exclaimed. “I’ve come over all shocked and awed!”

“Cor blimey!” Horatio Horseblanket spoke at his most lascivious.

“Hello Primrose.” Algy returned the earlier wave of Stubby Collet’s. Then he added, rather unnecessarily, “Look everyone – it’s the delightful Primrose Pickles: She’s a super-psychic from an alternate continuum you know. She can make you believe anything that she wants you to believe, she can. Gosh she’s so super-talented.”

“And super trouser-flappingly gorgeous too!” Horatio’s gums salivated with desire as he spoke.

Everyone tittered at this: They did so adore their local hero, and thoroughly enjoyed his sexist remarks – even if he was betrothed to the lovely Colleen Slapper of Chunderland, and should have known better.

Primrose gave Horatio a subtle wink, and then opened her diary in preparation to speak.

Joan Bugler was surprised at this: As far as she was concerned Primrose was a non-practising lesbian: To see her wink at Horatio Horseblanket so suggestively caused her to reappraise her relationship with the shapely young hamster, and question many of the psychic’s actions during their adventures together in Prannick.

Felicity had just retaken her seat beside her sister, and noted Joan’s thoughtful expression. She read it perfectly. “He is Horatio Horseblanket.” She whispered into Joan’s ear. “His hero status and charming demeanour are enough to turn the head of even the most confirmed dyke. He gave you one last year, I seem to recall. You’re not exactly a sex-goddess, yet you succumbed: Poor Primrose has no chance against his will.”

“Or his non-bristly, and ever so squelchy, scrotum.” Joan said as she recalled the events immediately following the end of the Psychic Historian show in Gerbils Ruin the year previous when she was seen to ride off with Horatio into the night upon the back of his pet cavy, Wolfgang. “And he can ride a scooter fantastically well too.”

But within a heartbeat both rodent’s attention returned to the dais…

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Wasn’t that nice? And only slightly disgusting too! Naturally the e-book is available all over the place. Check out the side bar (to your right) for some of the better-known outlets.

Cricetinae Fictionem – or Something Like That: 2

Long before those bewildering 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. 

As you can clearly see, there are five of them available currently.  And very nice they are too – if you don’t mind stories that are not really suitable for pre-teens and can be a bit…ah…RUDE sometimes. In this brief series of  Cricetinae Fictionem – or Something Like That, I aim to bring you little snippets from all five books. This time I’ve chosen a random snippet from Fanfare for the Common Hamster.

Deep within the bowels of the National Institute for Psychic Rodent Research, Felicity Bugler was coming desperately close to complete physical and mental exhaustion. Yet still Freddy Ringworm continued mercilessly to produce back-to-front playing cards for Felicity to ‘read’ with her mind.

So, once more, the young dormouse summoned up the strength to use her latent psychic ‘powers’ that Doctor Rambling Bramble felt certain that she possessed – at least in theory – possibly – if they were lucky.

“Queen,” she sighed – then added hopefully, “The Queen of Sods?”

Freddy flipped the card to reveal the Thirteen of Caks. Yet again Felicity’s shoulders slumped, and she yawned uncontrollably.

Upon an instruction from Bramble, who stood behind plate glass in a control booth, Freddy began to extract another card from down the front of his trousers where he kept them warm. But his paw was stayed by the arrival of a large group of Kool Kustard employees.

Primrose Pickles was just releasing herself from the kitchenette as they passed, and so was the first person to greet them – with a platter of inexpensive pancakes. She was overjoyed at the appearance of Joan. She couldn’t help herself from jumping up and down and squealing her name enthusiastically several times before having a paw clamped over her snout by Bramble as he appeared from the booth door, and pushed her back into the kitchenette – but not before relieving her of the pancakes, which he offered to Joan, Darkwood, Rootley, Brother Alfonso, and Reg Daftwaddle – for a small fee.

“My, Joan – you’ve certainly led us a merry dance: Where have you been?” He said – after pocketing four gold coins and a two Rodento note, “I don’t recognise these strange hamsters: Are they your friends?”

Joan didn’t respond immediately: She was still too shocked by Primrose’s welcome, and wondered if the young beauty practised lesbianism. If that was the case then she was doubly shocked: She’d never met a lesbian before. Then she caught sight of her sister through the brain-testing room window, and all thoughts of lesbianism were cast aside upon a tidal wave of emotion. It was patently clear to her what her sister was trying to do: She was risking her own sanity in an attempt to save her stupid, fat, hamster, sister from herself!


Freddy Ringworm had neither the opportunity nor wits to mount a defence: Joan was in the door, across the room, and shoving him aside before he could say ‘Horatio Indigo Transvestite Horseblanket’ – and all so that she could hug the tiny dormouse that was Felicity.

After recovering their composure, the sisters talked in excited squeaks for several seconds before their breath ran out, and they both dropped into the testing-chair in order to gasp mightily, and inwardly digest the information that had passed between them. This gave Algy Timber, who had only just returned from the toilet, the opportunity to vent his emotions. He did this in two ways: Outwardly he skipped upon the spot for several seconds, in a show of relief that at any other time would have left him mortified; then scuttled across the floor to greet her in the most un-boss-like hug imaginable. Inwardly he was finally able to cast off the constant desire to punish himself by chewing upon his private parts. The resulting sudden rush of endorphins in his brain made him go all numb, and he subsequently slumped in a heap at Joan’s feet.

“Sorry, Joan,” he said, slightly embarrassed, “but I have an intolerance to endorphins: That’s why Mildred prepares me so much porridge: It’s the perfect counter-agent. Nice to see you safe and well. You don’t happen to have any pancakes left I suppose?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013