Walking through town with a hamster cage plus accessories prompts second glances from women and odd looks from men, similar to those I'd get if I were wheeling a pram. Needless to say, it was indeed a hamster cage. It's for a hamster.
I was dared to write this. Actually, I wasn't, but my natural sense of perversity got the better of me. Read it in the style of Hamtaro, or some other cutesy young-child entertainment form. Then cringe. I already know of the crossover potential with the "human continuum" Hemingway, believe me.
Artemis Hamingway and the Aquarium Penguin of Atlantis!
by Stewart Wilson
Four in the afternoon, and the small pets section was just waking up. The rabbits and chinchillas had been awake for a while, but now the rats, hamsters, and gerbils were getting in on the action. But something had changed. Something dark stood out at the far end of the cage, a new intrusion into the hamsters' world.
Hamforth was the first to see it. He scratched his head behind the thick glasses, then looked to the assembled hamsterfolk. "I don't know what it is. It could be a new home, or a new kind of food," he gushed, desperate to be the first to form any opinions. "Or it could be another of Thaddeus Q. Gerbilbix' terrible creations!"
The gathered hamsters trembled, horrible memories brought to the surface.
"I'll check it out!" A lone voice cried from the crowd. "Artemis Hamingway knows no fear."
"What's the difference between brave and stupid?" One of the girl-hamsters whispered to another.
"Brave's when he can hear us," the other replied.
"You're so brave, Artemis!"
Surrounded by a crowd of adoring girls, Hamingway basked in the attention — until Hamforth tapped him on the shoulder. "So, when are you going? Huh? Huh? Prove to us your bravery once again."
"Err, yeah," Hamingway said with a nervous grin. "Of course. I'll go now."
Throwing sawdust behind him to cover his trail, the heroic hamster approached the mountain of darkness. Up close, he could see a large white patch on the front, topped with a yellow triangle. Curiouser and curiouser. No scent... and as he crawled closer, Artemis could make out two white patches with black dots topped the triangle. Then he realised: eyes!
He screamed. Only then did he remember to drawa his Heck-pistols. Even squirting with all his cunning, the strange creature-type-thing was undaunted by the spray of water.
Only once his water reserves had all been squirted did Artemis notice that the thing had not only not reacted, it hadn't moved at all. That and it didn't smell of anything, didn't sound of anything... he crept closer, nosing around the back.
Words stuck out of the sawdust from the bottom. Mind-blasting incantations? Black spells that would transport the summoner to this creature's realm? He feared so, but said them anyway.
"Ad'lantis Products: a kwa'reeum guin!"
Nothing continued to happen.
Only when nothing had happened for a good five minutes did Artemis Hamingway dare to touch this strange kwa'reeum guin. Once more, nothing happened. Tentatively, he gnawed at it. It was good.
Returning to the den, he stood once more in front of the assembled hamsters.
"It's safe!" He proclaimed
"But what is it?" Asked one of the girl-hamsters (possibly the one who asked about bravery and stupidity, but frankly I've lost track).
"It's got lots of writing on it. It's from the strange country of Ad'lantis, and it's called a Kwareeum Guin. It's not dangerous, and it's good to gnaw on."
The other hamsters rejoiced, and the aquarium penguin lives in their cage in the pet shop to this day.