by Kevin J. Doyle -
Harriet Hot Dog turned to one side. She twisted back the other way. She faced up and she faced down, but nothing helped. Harold still pressed into her from the right. Hank kept hogging her left side. Hattie was always directly under her. And Harmony Hot Dog continued to smush down on her from above.
Miserable Harriet couldn’t keep from moaning out loud. “They have us packed in here like sardines! It’s rather uncivilized.”
Someone joked loudly, “I wonder if sardines whine about being ‘crammed in like hot dogs’?”
“Probably not! Fish can’t talk!” said another.
Muffled laughter came from parts of the package. A few of the others thought themselves to be real comedians.
Harriet wasn’t in the mood for jokes. She only wanted to go back to sleep but simply couldn’t get settled. She so wished to be one of the corner hot dogs. Imagine - two free sides without someone right in your face. And if she were on a corner, she’d be able to see out of the package. What a delight that must be! However, there she remained, unluckily stuffed right in the middle of a triple stacked hot dog package.
Harriet huddled with the others and shivered. This is pretty much all they ever did. Until...
Without warning, Harriet and the others were pulled off their frosty cold shelf and abruptly flipped upside down - WHOOSH! Next, for the first time in all their lives, they felt something new and entirely strange. Warmth!
“WHOA! WOW! AHHHHHHH!” The hot dogs were amazed by what was happening.
They all stopped quivering and basked in the deliciously toasty air. Bright lights bathed them all over.
“WHEE!” Some of them squealed when they were stood up on end and then flipped head over heels.
“Is this OK... this ’warmth’? Is it safe? Does anyone know?” Harriet bit her lip as she frantically glanced all around. “It’s kind of nice, I guess. But... but whatever is happening to us? I don’t care one bit for all this flopping around nonsense!”
Suddenly, they were plopped onto a hard surface which did not feel like their cold, dark, familiar shelf. The blinding lights still shined all around them and the cozy warmth remained.
“Alright... this is marvelous!” someone said. “I wonder though, will we cook in this warm weather?”
“Anyone got any sunscreen?” another asked.
“Probably not! No one’s got pockets!” joked a third.
More chuckling from a few of the surrounding hot dogs. Nervous Harriet was still not amused. Especially when they abruptly started moving.
RATTLE, RATTLE, RATTLE, they went along, their whole package shaking constantly. Every once in awhile - BUMP - something dropped in next to them. RATTLE, RATTLE, RATTLE, BUMP...RATTLE, RATTLE, BUMP! Harriet heard one of the corner hot dogs whisper that their package was in a cage on wheels. She thought, A cage? Not cool!
“Can anyone see anything?” Harriet asked. “I mean, where are we going? Exactly what is this place?”
As those words left her mouth, their package stopped moving. A few moments of silence soothed them. Then a new annoying noise arose - BEEP!...BEEP!...BEEP! BEEP! Over and over and over. BEEP! BEEP! Just when it seemed the awful noise would never stop, their package rose up and swung through the air. And the horribly loud sound rang out right next to them!
“EEEEK! YIKES! OH MY ACHING HEAD! JEEPERS!!” All the hot dogs cried out, scared stiff by the shocking sound.
Thankfully, after that loud surprise, a quiet darkness enveloped them when their package came to rest inside something soft. Soon, they were moving again. Without the rattle, rattle, rattle noise this time. Now, their package - and whatever thing they were inside of - smoothly floated along with a lovely rocking motion.
The corner hot dogs tried to comfort everyone by saying all seemed safe and sound, based on what they could see. Harriet hoped with all her heart they were right.
Unfortunately, they weren’t.
Without warning, a dazzling light burst upon them, much brighter than before. And immediately, they were no longer comfortably warm. They were now truly HOT hot dogs! After being chilled and rigid throughout their whole existence, this exhilarating heat felt frightening...yet fantastic!
“All right! Warmth is wonderful!” someone shouted.
The corner hot dogs kept saying, "We see blue...wow...beautiful blue..."
Harriet scrunched her eyes closed. “Oh, I don’t like it one bit. It can’t be any good being this warm! No good at all.”
Deep down though, she couldn’t deny it. The heat did feel pretty amazing. Unable to resist the urge, Harriet stretched out like the others in the package and thoroughly warmed her cold, aching hot dog body. The soft rocking motion nearly lulled her to sleep. She barely even noticed when they stopped moving.
But she did notice the loud slamming noise - THUD! She and the others nearly jumped out of their skins. Then finally, darkness. Exhausted from their wild adventure, and still nice and toasty, Harriet and the other hot dogs quickly fell sound asleep. As she dozed off, Harriet again wished with all her might this would be the end of their troubles.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t...