Big Cheese stretched his brown furry body full length on the black leather sofa in his flat. He had phoned and asked me to come over. Cheese’s flat was at the top of a luxury apartment building in docklands. It would have been fun dodging the paparazzi outside the building if I‘d been in the mood. Sometimes it helps to be small but it never helps to have a hangover. I hoped Cheese didn’t want one of his big talks. I just wanted to crash. Too many junglefrenzies the night before. What a party. Everybody had been there. Anybody who is anybody. I’d left at about 4.00am with two hunnie bunnies. Feeling pretty knackered this morning.
Cheese was in a quiet mood. Great. Just let me chill. I settled into a cushion on the chair opposite Cheese. Cheese had only said hi when I came in. He was watching TV. A huge plasma screen took up much of the wall in front of him. Seven thousand newros worth of screen there. Behind him were two computers, both switched on. On one of them Cheese seemed to be getting about one email per minute. On the other was an open game of online poker on piggypoker.com.
CNN was on telly and Cheese was watching it really carefully. I knew from experience that Cheese had about 500 stations. Some of the mousecrap he watched was unbelievable. Like now. He changed to channel 376 or something and started watching a foreign guy reading the news. Crazy. This went on for about 5 minutes and then Cheese switched off the TV. He padded over to the piggypoker game. He watched the screen for a couple of minutes and then came back to the sofa.
Just sitting this hand out he said.
“Feeling a bit rough Harry?”
“Yeah – big night. Fantastic party though. Everybody was there.”
“Get through the paparazzi ok”
“No probs. Harry is a top pap dodger.”
“Looks like you’re a popular guy.”
“Yeah, you could say.”
“Looks like everyone loves you.”
“Yeah, looks like they do.” I started on a list of celebs – A list celebs – who had been at the party. Cheese didn’t look that impressed, though he should have been.
“One slight fly in the ointment though, Harry.”
“Oh yeah, what’s that?”
“Yes. You know him. Alex Pendrivel. Britain Today.”
I started to laugh. Pendrivel was a clown.
“You keep making him look stupid,” said Cheese.
Sure – no- he made himself look stupid. I could hardly remember the guy, though I remember the laughs I got at his expense.
Cheese grabbed a newspaper in his mouth and brought it over to me. He shoved it in front of me.
“Have a look. This might cause us problems.”
You must be joking I thought. I had a look at the paper.
The X-Pet Phenomenon: Time for a Rational Debate
“Few people can be unaware of the remarkable press conference that took place last year at the Hilton Hotel in London. We are intrigued, enthralled, we are amused. Can we really believe it when we see a small hamster talking like a human being? Of course we had heard the rumours of pets who were half-human, half-animal. But all reasonable people dismissed the rumours as nonsense. Now the nation appears to have taken to its heart the hamster (if I may still call him that) known as Harry. If cuteness and cuddliness are the criteria for national popularity then this “animal” deserves to be the popular figure that he seems to be turning into. Just look at his cheeky grin, or at least expression, if hamsters have expressions, and his perky “personality”. Harry is always ready with a witty comment and this has endeared him to the public. And surely there can be no harm in admiring this remarkable and engaging little creature.
Far be it from me to be a spoilsport, but surely it is time for a rational debate on the implications of this strange and new phenomenon. I make no apology for raising the issue of the dangers of this “X-Pet” phenomenon. It would not be the first time that Britain Today has taken an unpopular line in the national interest. There are serious questions that the British people deserve answers to.
What are the exact origins of the X-Pets? It is obvious that someone’s genetic experiment has gone badly wrong. The public needs to know who is responsible for the creation of these freaks. And the movements of these creatures obviously need to be restricted. If they are X-Pets shouldn’t they have owners? What guarantee do we have that these mutants aren’t carriers of some new mutant virus, like bird flu or some other virus that can wipe out millions. Who knows what other dangers in addition these little creatures pose?
I suggest we put emotion to one side and begin a rational debate about the implications of what we saw last night. Britain Today will always put the interests of the British people first. We are not afraid to be unpopular. Britain Today demands answers to the questions the people need to ask.”
That last line was like a Pendrivel catchphrase. Sounds like Pendrivel was miffed about something. I wasn’t bothered.
“So what, the guy’s a clown. I said,” shoving the paper away. It was giving me a headache.
“Nothing we can’t cope with, I hope,” said Cheese.
That was good enough for me. I now knew that Cheese could sort out most things. Cheese was smart. I had better things to think about. If Cheese said he could get rid of this clown that was good enough for me. I still had the two hunnie bunnies waiting for me at home and a party tomorrow night at Club Magik. GUYnacology was going to do an article on me for the May edition. I’d be on every news stand in the country, as if I wasn’t already.