My, are we jittery today here at Annagram Towers…

It began at 7.30am. As I descended the stairs, I saw that the door of the hamster cage had been left open. By me. Late last night after I slightly drunkenly fed grapes to Fangs.

Slightly drunkenly because I had earlier performed my new stand-up routine for Gwyneth which was the second most self-conscious ten minutes I have ever spent with him in that front room. The first was the time he invited me back to what was then just his house and we were having a lovely time on the sofa until I gradually became aware that he was, in fact, spark-out asleep…on our first date. Oh how we (still don’t) laugh about it now…

There on the stairs at 7.30am, mildly hung-over and exhausted after a night of repetitively dreaming that at tonight’s gig I realise with sinking heart that I had failed to settle on the right outfit and am performing in my swimsuit and not even the expensive flattering one. At 7.30am on the stairs, I began to question the wisdom of choosing to overcome a bout of anxiety by standing on a stage in a beard.

I practically collapse onto the hamster cage, ripping open the little bed house, upending tunnels. Fangs is not there. Ice-cold dread begins to course through my wine-pickled veins. In my mind, I race ahead to the next few minutes where youngest learns that his beloved rodent is AWOL in the house somewhere, a house which has a cat, a house which has a mother who left the cage open because she was drunk because she was nervous about being able to make people giggle, to make strangers giggle, not her own son who is now grieving and may NEVER giggle again.

To my shame, even in that moment where I was imagining finding a beheaded Fangs on the kitchen floor and preparing the words I would use/lies-I-would-tell-to-conceal-my-guilt as I broke the news to my darling boy, even in that moment I was mostly thinking about whether my final pay-off joke for tonight was really funny enough…

By this point, I was emitting a low ‘no-no-no-no’. Only seconds had passed since I discovered the security breach, but seconds can feel very long when you are simultaneously trying to prepare for a live performance AND a hamster funeral.

Frantically searching the hallway, my petrified eyes settled on a bag with fur sticking out of it. FUR! Fur which in fact belonged to youngest’s Halloween wig which was all packed up and ready to go for the school disco this afternoon which I must take him to instead of having a relaxing bath and WHY does the school disco have to be TODAY and WHY have I agreed to do the entertainment again because one episode of dicking about on a microphone isn’t enough for one day?

My ‘no-no-no-no’ had risen in volume. Tears were gathering in my tired eyes. If Fangs is dead or lost, I cannot go out tonight. Youngest will need cuddles and treats, reassurance and to sleep in my bed.

Munch. Scrabble. Crunch….

I turned towards the distinctly hamsterish noises and there, plonked fatly in the cat’s food bowl, was Fangs.

I let out a scream of THANKFUCKINGOD and scooped him up. His cheeks were bursting with cat food. The cat was sitting nearby, watching, maybe for all of the night as this creature, instead of bolting to freedom, casually worked his way though several grams of GoCat Elderly Feline Tuna Biscuits.

Youngest arrived at the top of the stairs, roused by the THANKFUCKINGOD.

Boy: What’s happening Mummy?

Me: Absolutely nothing at all my darling. Not a thing. Nada. Ziltch.

Boy: Why are you holding Fangs?

Me: Oooh I just fancied a cuddle! Lovely dearest darling Fangs ooooh he is just so ADORABLE isn’t he?

Boy: Well put him back please Mummy. He might escape.

Please excuse me now, while I go to massive hall filled with screaming kids which from experience, are a much tougher crowd than the one I will be facing tonight.

I’ve just got time to pop on my beard and my swimming cozzie. Well it IS a scary Halloween disco…

Wish me luck!