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Many of you have been asking what the dog master will do in his next dastardly move. Did he manage to take over the Earth, the Galaxy or the Universe? But we also had this intriguing comment from one of our listeners:

“Hi Bertie!
I loved the story. I thought it was very fun and interesting! Could you do more stories like this? I love them! Also, can you do a story about sausages or hot dogs? I love sausages and hot dogs, but I can’t find a story about them on Storynory!
Please reply,
From June
P.S. Sausages are yummy.”

Story by Bertie.
Read by Richard.
Produced by Jana Elizabeth.
Image by Shutterstock

WELL June, you’re in luck. It so happens that Astropup has a story about hotdogs. Astropup, can I just ask you - is this a true story? No fibbing now.

Well, hello Richard, you should know by now that all my stories are true. This is my life. I lived it.

And yes, I ate it - the greatest, most yummy hotdog in the universe. I can tell you, wrapping my chops around that hotdog was the very high point of my space-wanderings. It gave meaning to my life. For, as my mother would say, what is the point of our puny existence? Why suffer the loneliness, boredom, and discomfort of space travel, if it were not for this - to taste, if only once, the ultimate yummyness? Yes, tell me that Richard! Without the experience of that hotdog, what would be the point of all my space-suffering? AHOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

I don’t know Astropup. Please do explain.

Most gladly. Now where shall i begin? Oh yes. We were zillions of miles from nowhere, drifting through the midst of space, when the parrot piped up:

“So, do you want the good news or the bad news?”

“Oh, oh, the good news please,” said I. “Only the good news. Don’t bother with the bad stuff.”

“Well,” said the parrot. “The good news is that we have enough bird seed on board to last a healthy parrot another 12 years of eating.”

“Fantastic,” I said.

“And the bad news?” asked Marlow.

“I thought you didn’t want to hear the bad news,” replied the parrot.

“I always want to know the worst,” said Marlow, “then things can only get better.”

“The bad news is - that we have less than a week’s worth of dog biscuits and three days’ rations of frozen pizza.”

“And what else is there to eat?”

“Bird seed.”


“More bird seed.”


“Only bird seed.”

“Well Astropup, how do you like bird seed for breakfast?” asked my human friend.

“Not very much,” I replied. “I really wish he hadn’t told us the bad news. Now I’m going to have to howl: Awoo Awoo Awooooooo! We are going to die the worst of all deaths. Sta-a-a-rvation!!!!!!!!”

Marlow patted my head but there was no consoling me. He begged our commanding officer,
“Mr. Ambassador Parrot sir, please say something to stop Astropup howling. Never mind hunger - he’s going to drive me CRAZZZZY!”

“Ok,” said the parrot. “Who wants a hotdog? Not just any hotdog but the best hotdog in the universe?”

And that was proof, once again, of his feathered genius. How did he know the exact and only words that would have cheered me up? My spirits soared:

“The best hotdog in the universe? Yes please,” I yapped.

And Marlow joined in:

“Ooo, me too! Don’t forget me. I love hotdogs too!”

But the parrot seemed lost for words, which is highly unusual, as he is normally a most talkative bird. At length Marlow stopped dancing in weightlessness and said: “Oh I see, there’s a catch, isn’t there?”

“Sort of,” said the parrot. “To reach the best hotdog stand in the universe by the shortcut, we have to pass through an unchartered wormhole - that is no doubt filled with terrors.”

“Better the terrors of the wormhole than the rumbling of my tummy,” I said.

And Marlow was with me on that one.

“What’s the delay? Let’s get going,” I urged, adding, “If I should die, let my puppies know that it was in a noble cause.”

As our puny ship headed into the ginormousness of the wormhole I pressed my nose against the port hole, ready to bark at the terrors, whatever they might be. Postmen, cats, people with crazy hats and funny walks, I was ready for them all.

But the terrors did not come. Instead, there was music and a smooth voice:

“Congratulations, you are on the fast track to heaven!”

“Gee, are we dead?” asked Marlow. But we weren’t, not yet anyway. The voice went on.

“Lick your lips. Rumble your tummies. Sit up and beg. You will shortly be arriving in the Gastric Galaxy, the greatest foody space-park in the whole wide universe Mmmmmmmmm.”

As he spoke, our spaceship filled up with sizzling sounds and the most delicious aroma.

“Revel in your foodie fantasy, we are your taste buds’ best buddy.”

While he was going on like this, the big window of the spaceship filled up with cinematic images of sausages dangling from trees, fields full of popcorn, and skyscrapers built from pizzas. Pink candyfloss puffed across the skies, and streams flowed with lime soda water. Chocolate bunny rabbits hopped across verdant lawns.

“But what about the best hotdogs in the universe? I want to hear more about them?” I barked.

“So,” said the voice. “You want to know more about the best hotdogs in the universe? Did you know that our hotdogs are handmade - or should I say trotter made - by pigs! That’s why they are simply the best hotdogs in the universe.”

“What!” exclaimed Marlow. “Hot dogs made by pigs. That’s barbaric. It’s cannibalism. Are these the terrors we feared?”

“I don’t see the harm,” I said. “Some hotdogs are made of beef or turkey anyway.”

“Still,” said Marlow, “it’s enough to make you turn vegetarian.”

Marlow looked decidedly pale as we exited the wormhole and entered the Gastric Galaxy Theme Park. The pillars of the gates were topped by statues of giant pigs. I think I had seen a palace guarded by stone lions once, and it was in that same style. Animals of every species in space, were queuing up to buy tickets at the machines. Soon we joined them. The parrot was ready with a voucher he had picked up on our travels. It allowed three of us to enter for the price of two.

Wowee, Gastric Galaxy! What a Grrr-eat Day Out for all the family pets! Not only did it offer the best food stalls in the universe, but the most fantastic rides and games. Marlow shot a tin duck with a laser gun and won a giant teddy bear. The parrot defeated a deep thinking computer in a chess challenge, and I rode a ghost train and barked my head off at all the monsters, ghouls and wobbly mirrors.

And as for the hotdogs - no kidding - I have never, ever, smelt or wolfed down anything so delicious in my life. So what if it was served up by pigs? If they wanted to be cannibals, well that was up to them. After all, some people say that a dog eating a hotdog is dodgy - but come on, it’s just a word. Marlow didn’t like the whole idea, and ate pizza instead. Boy, he missed out!

The parrot pecked on peanuts out of a bag. Eventually, he looked at the watch on his claw and said: “If you will excuse me, I have an appointment.”

“Who with?” asked Marlow.

“With the Prime Minister of this planet.”

“Gee, what’s his name?” asked Marlow.

“His name,” replied the parrot, “is Porky.”

“Well, I’d like to come too, if that’s okay, and ask him why pigs sell sausages. It’s been bugging me ever since we got here,” said Marlow.

“And I’d like to come because I like the smell of pigs,” I said.

As we headed up the hill to the Parliament building, and the Prime Minister’s nearby sty, Marlow said:

“By the way, what’s the name of this planet?”

The parrot replied: “Didn’t you know? It’s Ulan 40.”

“Wow,” said Marlow. “I was so distracted by the wormhole and the hotdogs that I hadn’t realised that we’re here.”

You see, Ulan 40 was the objective of our mission. The President of the World had sent the parrot as Ambassador to this far-away planet to see if its inhabitants would help us in the struggle against the cat people. No wonder the parrot had been so keen to come here.

The hill was steep, but rewarding. The nearer we got to the top, the more wonderful the aroma. Our nostrils were filled with the most savoury smell of pig manure. De-li-ic-ious.

“Can we, err, take some back with us?” I asked.

“No way!” protested Marlow. “If you bring any of that pig poo on board the ship, I’m not coming with you.”

The Prime Minister’s sty was guarded by a police pig. He was a friendly fellow, who offered us wellies. They had every size, including tiny for the parrot, small for my paws, and size 12 extra wide for Marlow. The bobby opened the gate, and we waded into the pen. After a few steps, the parrot fluttered up to Marlow’s shoulder, leaving his wellies stuck in the pig poo. If he had gone any further, he might have disappeared under the manure entirely. I fought off a powerful urge to roll in it, because I knew that Marlow would give me a frightful telling-off if I did. Oh, but boy, was I tempted! It was the richest, most aromatic pig poo I’ve ever had the pleasure of sniffing in my life. I can only describe it as thick and musty with a slightly smoky after-smell. As something of a connoisseur in these matters, I would say it was the Lapsang Souchong of pig poos.

The Right Honorable Sir Porky, Prime Minister, and First Lord of The Planet Ulan 40, sat enthroned on a pile of hay. He was huge and hairy, black and white, with a prominent upturned snout. He had a cheery smile on his face, but had he been in a different mood, I could imagine him to be one formidable hog.

“Welcome to Ulan 40,” he said, “ I trust that you have had a good eating.”

“Oh yes, we positively pigged out,” I said.

“Glad to hear it,” replied Porky.

“Is business good?” asked the parrot.

“Excellent,” replied the Prime Minister. “Ever since we built the wormhole, we’ve had customers from all over the universe.

“If you don’t mind me asking,” said Marlow, “Isn’t it a little odd that pigs should be serving sausages?”

“Not at all,” replied Sir Porky. “You see we have a special motivation for providing the universe with the most delicious bacon sandwiches and hotdogs grown on trees. All our produce is entirely vegetarian. For us, the Galactic Galaxy Theme Park is more than just a business. Our mission is to convert all and sundry to vegetarianism.”

“You don’t mean to say we’ve been eating veggies?” I exclaimed, feeling quite disgusted.

“And weren’t they delicious enough for you?” asked the pig. I had to admit that they were. That’s why, as I said at the beginning of the story, the hotdogs of Ulan 40 were a life changing experience. They convinced me that veggies can indeed be fantastic, provided they have been genetically modified to taste just like sausages.

“So what is your message to the President of the Planet Earth?” asked the parrot.

“Don’t eat pork.”

“Well that’s simple enough, said the parrot.

“I have a complete proposal,” said Porky. “We will build the longest wormhole in space, a direct connection between the Planet Earth and the Gastric Galaxy here on the Planet Ulan 40. Earth people will be able to order bacon sandwiches and hotdogs and we will deliver them directly the very next morning - vegetarian ones of course. In addition, any pigs on Earth who wish to join us, will be able to travel for free through the wormhole. How does that sound?”

“To me,” said the parrot, “that sounds like a milestone in interplanetary co-operation. But I am no longer the one who decides on such things. I shall report back to our president.”

“By the way,” said Marlow, “we have a problem we are hoping you can help us with. We’ve run out of food on our spacecraft.”

Porky waved a trotter and said: “Fortunately, I have the solution to your problem. I was planning to give you this parting gift anyway. It’s a sausage plant. Every morning its fruit will provide you with breakfast for as long as you travel. All you have to do is water it.”

“Oh, oh, and can I have a bag of manure? I asked. But before the Prime Minister could reply, Marlow said firmly, “There’s no capacity in our ship for poo. We need to take on board all the water and food we can for our journey.”

For me, this was a minor disappointment, in what I must say was otherwise one of the most satisfactory episodes of my entire career in space. The whole time we were on Planet Ulan 40, we did not suffer from any terrors. Not so much as a single meow spoilt our enjoyment. We returned to our spaceship with bellies full of contentment.

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