Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The Inspirational Hamster-Bot Strikes

It's been a fairly wild evening. Why Young Keith thought it was a good idea, I'll never know. I reckon  he just had time on his hands when Charlii was out at the "Messy Compline". But he says he was just doing a survey of quotations from Wesley, Lewis, Herbert and the rest, and wondered about the best way to bring some inspiration into the life of the Community. So he knocked up a little API that was able to wander the back alleyways of the Internet looking for happy thoughts, mostly provided by Twitter Vicar Bots and Happy Funereal Thoughts websites and then - and this is the bit that eludes me - downloaded it into a suitable receptacle.
A Go-Go Hamster with an embedded chip, wireless-enabled and running Android.

The first I knew about it was when the furry little beggar ran up to me, squeaked "You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body". Then bit me on the ankle. A real shock, I can tell you. Not to mention totally heretical. But I was slow to react. After all, you don't expect to find a hamster quoting cod theology at you of a Wednesday evening.

It then tore half a dozen pages out of the Wee Beaker Book of Worship, ate them, excreted them in the form of The Little Book of Calm, and squealed "Yesterday is dead and gone. And tomorrow's out of sight". Then chased Grendel the Community Cat round the living room.

It then ran a couple of circles round me, and yipped out, "The quality of mercy is not strain'd. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven". Then nipped outside and killed a blackbird. I could see something was deeply wrong.

There was clearly only one thing for it. I hid behind the door, with the Slazenger V400 in my hand ready for action. How did I know it could move so fast? As it hammered back into the Great House, the bat smacked into the ground a good yard behind it. The Go-Go Hamster tore across the floor, up the bannister, then leapt from the first floor onto Burton's head, with a cry of "they will soar on wings like eagles!" As Burton scrabbled to keep it from its eyes, it bleeped out, "Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.". Which gives one pause for thought. Is it right to kill a robot that is fluent in Holy Writ? But, cute and devout as it was, we still need a treasurer. Although Burton didn't thank me for the method I used to save him - which mostly consisted of hitting him with the bat, in the hope I might connect with the hamster occasionally. The hamster ducked behind Burton, shouting "There are no such things as strangers. Only axe-murderers you haven't met yet."

The other Beaker Folk rallied round, and the next thing I knew there were twelve or so of us hunting the little polyester monster round the place. "Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident," it burped in its weird monotone, and ate Arfur's trousers. it was all going terribly badly.

It was brave of Hnaef. He attracted the hamster's attention by shouting Smiths lyrics at it - like a red rag to a bull when dealing with a platitude-wielding electronic rodent - and then rushed into the Armoury. The hamster tore in after him, but Hnaef had the 12-bore ready. Pieces of man-made fibre and silicon chip in all directions. After that immense report from the shotgun, there was a terrible pause.

And then from the Library, where evidently the voice synthesiser had been blasted, we heard, "Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away to the next room." And then silence.

I think we're safe now. But it was quite a fraught half-hour. And, in its way, quite inspiring.


  1. This sounds oh so much like the Vicar at the Village Poetry and Prose recital evening a month of so ago.

    We'd been to the Rose and Crown beforehand for some liquid fortitude and to loosen the vocal chords, which had proven imminently successful. He won the prize for the most original adaptive prose, for reciting Auden's 'The Night Mail', Betjamen's 'Diary of a Church Mouse' and Herbert's 'Artillery' verbatim, interposing successive lines from each poem accurately, in Rhyming precision.

    Nobody actually recognised what he was saying until he spluttered his explanation afterwards and repeated it. By this time we were all on our way back to the Rose and Crown for the prize giving and a game of darts.

    It was pleasing that he has solemnly (as solemnly as you can, when three shades to the wind) promised never to repeat the feat and that he will cut his sermon for the next four sundays to 5 minutes each. A win, win situation.

    After which, we repaired to the Tandori for a lovely Chicken Tikka. I had my normal Birds nest soup.

  2. Have you ever encountered a roomba?


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