After a day of singing with the crickets in the basement, Stingpeesel rested in the fish tank on the white sea anemone with purple tips, his hands behind his head, his brother, Beedoopel, nestled into the orange one next to him, the angry clownfish swimming back and forth, wanting to snuggle in. Stingpeesel was a little cross because Bedoopel didn’t let him ride the seahorse, but anemones always invigorated him.
Stingpeesel sat up. “I know! I know! I wannoo play with Peanut.”
Beedoopel grinned. He really did look like a tiny Smeagol when he smiled, but with ears almost as big as his head. Smeagol was their favorite next to Samwise.
The arrow crab nipped at them as they scrabbled up the side of the tank and pulled themselves up through the opening in the back onto the hood. Beedoopel grabbed Stingpeesel by the feet and shook the water off of him like a wet towel, then Stingpeesel did the same for him, after which they grabbed the heater cord and slid down it like a fireman’s pole, dropping next to the surge protector.
Stingpeesel couldn’t contain his excitement on the way to the girl’s room where the cage was. “So fun! So fun! I’m going to run on the wheel with him, race through the tubes, and cuddle. So fun!”
Four bulbous cages connecting to each other with tubes sat on the dresser, an exercise wheel in one, a flying saucer wheel in another, a little lookout on a tower. They climbed up the drawers to the top and edged around to the back to an unused tunnel hole. Together they twisted the plug and popped it off.
Beedoopel crawled in first, then pulled in Stingpeesel. “Plug it. Plug it. Don’t twist, just plug.”
Stingpeesel stretched out the hole, grabbed the plug and pulled it in, catching his fingers. He pulled away, stretching his fingers until they snapped out sending him tumbling through the bedding. Beedoopel was gone, so he crawled through the lateral tunnel to the next cage.
Next to the exercise wheel, Beedoopel scratched behind the curled up hamster’s ear, trilling to wake him. Peanut stirred and opened his eyes, but nosed his way into the bedding. Stingpeesel pulled it away and nudged him on the nose until the hamster rolled onto his feet and shook it’s head.
“Come on! Come on!” said Stingpeesel, pulling his fur toward the wheel.
The hamster sluggishly moved with the peemeekadoos onto the wheel, but lay down on it instead of running. Stingpeesel and Beedoopel pulled the wheel to move it around, but the hamster stepped off, sending them into a spin that turned them upside down until they fell on their backs, then tumbled inside a few times.
Peanut scurried up a ramp and into a tube going up. The peemeekadoos squeaked with delight and followed, chasing him up down and around. Beedoopel was about to grab Peanut’s tail when Stingpeesel, giggling uncontrollably, pushed him down, crawled over him, and chased after the hamster. Beedoopel grabbed his brother’s foot and yanked, provoking Stingpeesel to turn around and give him his best Gollum hiss.
They laughed and chased each other until Stingpeesel finally got him cornered in the tower. As Stingpeesel climbed, Beedoopel looked over the edge and hissed, startling Stingpeesel so he fell out of the tube.
Tired out from the chasing, the peemeekadoo brothers rested in the lookout, surveying the room. Lots of pink things, unicorn pictures, unicorn statues, unicorn plush toys—and horribly frightening hissy cat pictures.
A clunk sounded on the dresser. They rolled onto their knees and put their nose to the side just in time to see Peanut crawl out the unused tunnel hole and disappear behind the dresser.
“Oh, no!” said Beedoopel. He dove down the tunnel, twisted toward the lateral and then down to the open hole, Stingpeesel scurrying behind him. They hopped out, and looked down the gap behind the dresser. There was no sign of Peanut.
“Where’d he go? Where’d he go?” asked Stingpeesel.
“Bad, bad, bad,” said Beedoopel, and he slipped down the back, dropping to the floor on his hands.
Stingpeesel followed him. They crawled underneath, but Peanut wasn’t there.
“Bad, bad, bad,” said Beedoopel. “Go to that side, I’ll go to this one.”
Stingpeesel slinked out his side, looking carefully along the floor, not seeing the hamster or any movement. He followed the dresser around and met Beedoopel in the middle.
“Where’d he go? Where’d he go?” asked Stingpeesel. Afraid was filling him.
“We have to bring him back!” said Beedoopel. “They’ll be home soon. Soon, soon, soon.”
“Maybe they don’t notice. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe we find him later.”
“Cannit. Cannit. Hissy cat will eat him. Cannit. Have to find Peanut now.”
“We’re big! We’re big! We can do it. We’re big!” said Stingpeesel.
The back door opened and the boy came in with a friend, gabbling about a peacher and a batter cup.
“We’re small, Stingpee,” said Beedoopel. He pulled his brother under the dresser. “We’re small.”