Beedoopel held his brother down underneath the dresser and shushed him as the family’s boy clunked by toward the room down the hall with his friend. Peanut the hamster darted from behind the wastebasket and went out behind them. Beedoopel squeaked and jumped, hitting his head on the bottom of the dresser.
“Git ‘em! Git ‘em!” said Beedoopel. The peemeekadoos ran to the doorway and peeked into the hall. The boys turned into the next room, Peanut right behind them. Beedoopel chased the hamster down and dove for it’s tail, hanging on, but the hamster still moved forward until Stingpeesel landed on Beedoopel’s back.
Peanut turned and nipped, but Beedoopel held on until the hamster changed directions and headed out into the living room. “Follow him. Follow him. Gonna get string,” said Beedoopel. “Don’t lose him.” He left Stingpeesel and raced into the kitchen, scrabbled up the counter by the back door, then hung his feet off the edge, hooking his toes to open the drawer.
Inside was a roll of string from which he pulled a strand longer than the entire counter. He bit into it and chewed it loose, then pulled another and did the same, then hopped off the counter, strings dragging behind.
In the living room, Stingpeesel darted back and forth to block Peanut from going under the TV stand and behind the bookshelves.
“Good, good, good, Stingpeesel. You’re big. You’re big.” Beedoopel hopped onto the hamster making it dart quickly toward the couch, but Stingpeesel headed him off while Beedoopel encircled the string around the hamsters middle and tied it off. By the time he had the second one done, the hamster twisted around and bit him. He tumbled off, still holding one of the strings.
“The other one. The other one,” he said. “Grab the other one.”
Stingpeesel grabbed it and they headed toward the dining room, pulling the strings taut. The hamster resisted a little but followed, then suddenly scampered ahead. The strings snapped their arms and he dragged them under the table and around a table leg, pulling the strings together until the peemeekadoos collided, then slingshotted around smashing into the wall and losing their holds. The hamster skittered across the kitchen floor, strings flapping.
The peemeekadoos held their heads and wobbled after him. Peanut went to the far corner next to the cat food dish and nibbled at a few scattered morsels, but as the peemeekadoos followed, the boy and his friend popped out into the hall and headed toward them. Beedoopel grabbed Stingpeesel and ducked under a shoe rack.
They held their breaths and shivered as the boys came through, then out the back door. They started breathing again after the door shut, then popped out to get Peanut, but there by the cat dish, his paw pinning Peanut to the floor and making a growly noise, was the hissy cat.
“Nooo! Bad, bad, bad!” said Beedoopel. He lunged toward the cat, but Stingpeesel tackled him, both of them spilling out from under the rack.
“Don’, don’, don’,” said Stingpeesel. “Hissy cat will eat you both.”
The cat looked sharply at them, then to the squirming hamster.
“Cat nipper. Cat nipper,” said Stingpeesel.
“Good. Good. Go.” Beedoopel followed Stingpeesel out for a few floor tiles, then jumped and waved at the hissy cat. The cat came after him, so he dashed away toward the dishwasher where he’d be able to slip under if it came too close. He saw Stingpeesel slip under the pantry door. When Peanut started to move, the cat pounced back and pinned him with its paws, nipping at his fur.
Beedoopel jumped and waved again, and hissy cat watched, but stayed with its hamster prey. Beedoopel scrabbled up the cupboard looking for anything to help and found an aluminum pie pan. Hissy cat still watched him, but when it nosed Peanut, Beedoopel banged on the pie pan to bring its attention back.
Stingpeesel squeezed back out of the pantry dragging a mouse made out of a cloth sack, little brown eyes, nose, ears and tail sown on. He pulled it by the tail to a few tiles away from the hissy cat, jiggled it, then bolted into a run toward the dining room. It was more than the cat could take and it tore after him. “Fast, Stingpee, fast!” said Beedoopel.
Stingpeesel rounded the doorway toward the living room, tumbled, threw the mouse ahead, and rolled behind the hutch. The cat sped by.
Beedoopel pushed the pie pan off the counter upside down, and road it down right on top of Peanut, trapping him inside. Stingpeesel scampered back.
“What do we do now?” asked Stingpeesel. “How do we get him in the cage?”
Beedoopel thought hard, one eye warily toward the living room from where he could hear the sounds of hissy cat bouncing around. His eyes grew wide. “Sock. Get me a sock. Sock. Sock. Sock.” Stingpeesel took off down the hall, and Beedoopel pushed the pan to the refrigerator. He jumped up and grabbed the door handle, then swung his feet around to the edge to push it open.
He rummaged through the food until he found a package of carrots, grabbed one, and hopped out to the floor. Stingpeesel waited with a white crew sock. “Good, good, good,” he said. He took it and lay it flat next to the pan. “Here. Here. Hold it open.” Stingpeesel obeyed, and Beedoopel overturned the pie pan, holding the carrot stick to Peanut’s nose. The hamster nibbled at it, then took a bite. “Hee-hee!” said Beedoopel.
He backed into the sock, pulling the carrot with him and the hamster followed. When the carrot was all the way to the toe, he left it and squeezed by the hamster, then untied the strings from his middle. He crawled out, wrapped the strings around the calf of the sock, and tied them off. He handed Stingpeesel one of the strings.
“Now we take him,” he said.
“You’re big,” said Stingpeesel. “Good thinking. You’re big.”
They dragged the hamster all the way back behind the dresser in the girls room, scrabbled up the back with the strings in their mouths, then, panting and puffing, pulled up the hamster until the sock reached the top, where they grabbed it and pulled it over.
They embraced the sock and rested, Peanut squirming gently inside. When they stopped gasping, Beedoopel untied the strings and tucked the sock opening into the cage. With a little coaxing Peanut crawled out into the cage, and they plugged the hole back up.
Stingpeesel and Beedoopel leaned against the cage and looked at each other, then they took each other’s hands and danced in a circle between cages. “We’re big! We’re big! We are so big!”
“What the hell’s going on in here?”
The peemeekadoos dove behind the cages and flattened to the dresser surface. The father of the house’s booming voice echoed in their ears.
“Be small, Stingpeesel. Be small.”