I might retire from the news industry after today delivering the immortal line: "Drop the dead hamster!"
My Monday morning arranged itself into a pear-shaped configuration at 9.05am when I got a call from Harry the hamster's people.
Harry was no ordinary hamster; he was a devil-may-care, daring, dashing rodent who should rightly have borne the moniker "Houdini the hamster".
"Why", you ask?
Well my dears, because Harry escaped his happy cage, romped down two flights of stairs, dodged oncoming traffic to cross a main road, and shimmied into No.47 Sea View Drive, to terrify the life out its slumbering owner, Mrs Smith.
Much screaming ensued from Mrs Smith, but fortunately Mr Smith was made of sterner stuff and, with a cool head, was able to catch Harry and later reunite him with his family, the Peters.
Miraculous!! Hold the front page! Or page 12.
Dutifully I spoke to the family, and they agreed to an exclusive photoshoot at 9.15am on Monday morning.
"And how is Harry now?" I enquired on Friday.
"He's very tired, in fact I think he might not be well," said Mrs Peter.
"Dear me, will he make it to Monday - or should we get round sharpish?" I asked, ever sensitive to the family's feelings.
"Oh, I'm sure it's nothing, Monday will be fine," was Mrs Peter's reply.
Come Monday morning and with the photographer dispatched in pursuit of a Pulitzer Prize winning piece of photojournalism, my mobile rang.
"What's that Mrs Peter - Harry's dead?!"
[In the background I hear the doorbell ring, and realise that this signifies the arrival of my man in the field. I begin plotting ways to escape the office before his return.]
I dedicate this post to Harry, R.I.P.