Slowly the mayor staggered on. Chief Botchy had risen and walked towards him equally slowly.
“Well?” the repair hamsters heard him side rider kept up for quite some time!”
“Didn’t it?” the mayor grinned. “Also the pit is first rate, I infected it in person – er – inspected it.”
calling. “How are matters going?”
“Erm, so to say splendid”, came the tortured reply, “quite outstanding!”
“So we could see”, the chief said approvingly, “that
“Now let’s talk business. How long are you going to continue with that mess?” Botchy faced the mayor and grabbed his neck. “The town is down the drain, you may well forget the First Hamstian Exhibition. That karma-bird makes mental minced meat of us.”
The so addressed smiled once more in a tortured fashion and shrugged. “Super-hamster perhaps…”
“…can’t conjure money.” The chief pushed the unhappy people’s representative towards his troop. There they sat down.
“I – erm – expect your proposals”, the mayor whispered and gaped at the floor.
“Yes”, Tealeafy cackled, “if you help a friend in need, he will remember you, if he’s in need again.”
“I – erm – in a way acted with a little levity…”
“Oh, no more than at other times”, Taty purred.
“We have boasted – er – are toasted so to say, broke in a way… no one. That is, no one can rescue us…”. the mayor sobbed.
“Fat broke”, Flecki confirmed.
“Reminds me of a joke”, Goldi piped up. “That is, the judge says to the accused: ‘I find you not guilty of the charge of having stolen 10,000 sickle.’ – ‘Great’, says the accused. ‘So may I keep the money now?’”
“How about some constructive feedback, Goldi?” Finny nagged. “You’ve got no way of being of any help.”
“Ey, I just try to spread some jolly karma”, Goldi objected. “What about this one: It’s blue and hops from branch to branch? A post-frog – ha ha ha!”
“Ha”, Flecki retorted in a dry voice.
“But that can’t be”, Dodo wondered. “The post is on strike…”
“Thanks for this valuable contribution, Dodo”, the chief grumped. “So it’s up to me again to bring in useful proposals. Well, Mayor, first of all there’s question of booth: row booth, corner booth, block booth? Size, type of booth, that is information booth or sales booth. How many? Then the type of construction: Wood, metal, mixed? Especially important: the concept. Open, roofed? And seats – how many and what kind? What about conference booth, kitchen, bar? This, dear hamsters and honoured Mr. Mayor, are the items to be clarified. That’s the way a real pro works.”
“I think the mayor wants to know how to get money. As, if there is no money, there can’t be an exhibition. If there is no exhibition, we need not worry our heads about row booth, corner booth, block booth and so on. Because we cannot buy the material. However, in all other regards it was a really beautiful speech, Boss!”
Everybody mumbled agreement and nodded his head while the chief coloured fiercely. He did not say anything, but whistled and took up some wooden pillars lying about. After finding 10 or 12 nice pillars, he disappeared, still whistling, behind a heap of debris. After that only roaring and splintering of wood could be heard.
Taty nudged his brother Tealeafy. “I think he’s just producing toothpicks for the open round bar in the roofed part of the block booth.”
“I have several old garden chairs…”, Dodo proposed but the mayor waved that aside. “Thanks, Voodoo – er – Dodo, but without money…”
“What are we paying taxes for?” Trample piped up.
“All used up”, the mayor groaned, “the VIPs’ claims for cancellation – erm – compensation…”
“We might sell Tuffy on the slave market”, Botchy grumped, emerging from behind the debris, “that would be a nice start.”
He patted some splinters off his fur and sat down beside the mayor, who buried his head in his paws. Somewhere in the background shrill shrieks came from the town hall. Probably the acting director spread spiritual karma.
“The worst is”, groaned the mayor, “that my niece is completely cracking up. We are done.”
“So throw that karma-bird out”, Goldi proposed.
“She’s got a contract and can only be fired if there is someone to replace her…”
“Great”, Sasy shouted, “and who may replace her?”
“I know of no one in Hamsterton – chief officer Topple perhaps?”
The mayor shook his head. “He’s one of the examination board and members of the dart – er – board cannot be active in the town hall. Conk perhaps, but he can nothing but count, has no idea about yearning – er – earning money.”
“So someone not living in Hamsterton”, Flecki wondered. “Whom do we know there?”
“The Plushum”, Dodo shouted, “can do everything!”
“And Captain Kirk”, Taty and Tealeafy bawled, “and Spock!” They almost toppled over with laughter.
“Swell, you clown, go on like that”, chief Botchy gnarled und reddened again.
Now silence fell. Even the last hamster comprehended that the situation was critical. Followed more serious proposals like raising the taxes or making a tombola. But this was refused soon. Even the idea to recruit someone from the neighbouring hamster counties was no further discussed because it was much too depressing to sink that low. They agreed that it had to be someone not of Hamsterton, knowing about crises and organization. But who?
“Got it!” Flecki suddenly cried and at once all hamster heads came round and all eyes were on her. “Now I know who can help us!” she cheered.
“The Klingon hamsters?”
“Shut up, Dodo”, Botchy hissed and tried to kick the big hamster but kicked Trample instead who squeaked.
“Nope, not them”, Flecki grinned. “But one helping Captain Kirk and BANTACH can also help us!”
“Daby!” the hamsters shouted like one.
“Exactly”, Flecki triumphantly said, “Daby. But where might she be?”
“Well, my bother – er – brother mentioned that she has the management of some branch of a certain Bull of Pool…”
“Ullapool!” Flecki hissed. “She is in Ullapool…”
“So Mr. Mayor only has to ask his brother…”, Tuffy said excitedly.
All eyes were on the mayor now who obviously felt quite unwell. “Well, erm… Unfortunately he was transferred. Down the line so to say…”
“So they sidelined the fool”, Goldi grinned. “Well, the phones don’t work anyway…”
Silence. Fresh discussions. Another ship’s voyage was out of question. First it would take much too long, second it was most unlikely that they would be as lucky as on their last journey. After three hours of pondering and discussion they all were at one that some plan had to be worked out urgently as the mayor stressed again and again. From the town hall still shrieking sounds of the acting director could be heard, now and then pot flowers came flying out of the window.
“The gerbil-space ship!” Goldi suddenly shouted.
“Yes, that wouldn’t be bad, Kirk and his troop would be better still. We would be in Scotland in a trice. But we already ticked off that item, Goldi!”
“I know, chief. But you don’t know that Kirk did not want ‘that scrap’, as he called it, on his ship. Therefore that Scotty was to beam the gerbil-space ship down to Hamsterton.”
“That Scotty wasn’t bad at all”, Botchy remembered, “I could have made good use of him…”
“Tell me, Goldi”, Flecki wondered, “how would you know that? As far as I know the gerbil-ship was still on board the Enterprise when we were beamed home.”
“O well”, Goldi stuttered, “I just took along a few souvenirs…”
“O yes”, Flecki hissed, “the phaser for Trample’s new haircut. And what else?”
“Only a tiny transmitter…”
“The one I had in the Jeffreys-tube?”
“Well, I thought you didn’t need it any longer… So I switched it on and listened a bit. Just wanting to know if them folks were all right. Sometime they were out of reach…”
“Good to know that you always can rely on our Goldi as to nicking and munching”, Flecki groaned. “But were may the gerbil ship have landed? Out of town certainly or we would have found it or read about it in the newspaper.”
“I think I know where it is!”
They all turned round to Dodo.